All India Radio Leh has entered in Golden Jubilee year. From the date it was established in 1971 on 25 June to the true spirit of its motto, Bhujana Sukhaya Bhujana Hitaya , Radio has been playing an important role in communication for people and socio economic development.
During the winter months in Ladakh, stocking of batteries along with the essential supplies had been an important feature. This tells the importance of Radio in the lives of people living in snowbound remote areas of Ladakh.
When Ladakh was facing cultural extinction, it was All India Radio in Leh that provided a platform for the artists to perform their talents. The past three decades has become an era of All India Radio in reviving the dying Ladakhi arts and awareness on culture.
Former Editor of AIR Ladakhi News Abdul Gani Sheikh remembers the role AIR Leh in preservation and promotion of culture.
Radio has always been too close to common people. While preserving and strengthening the culture, Radio played a pivotal role in popularizing Ladakhi language with introduction of appropriate and lucid words to reach communication to more people. Radio Language has become the common man’s language in the region.
Ladakh used to have very limited opportunities with minimal media for entertainment in Ladakhi language till recent times. All India Radio Leh has been a platform for providing many youngsters an opportunity to up-skill their talents and showcase to the world.
Like Lobzang, there are several other youngsters associated with All India Radio Leh who have expressed and toned up their talents, educated people, entertained listeners and even grew in stature to become policy makers.
Along with AIR Leh, there is another Golden Jubilee in celebration in Leh, Ladakh. In the 1971 war, Turtuk region was liberated from Pakistan. A huge over 800 square kilometers of Baltistan region joined as the youngest in the country.
As they are close to the heart in the heartland of Leh, Radio programmes are equally close to the people of last villages on LoC. One of the avid listeners from border villages, Goba Ali of Takshi Thang, recollects his vivid memories of early days in India and his association with All India Radio Leh in promoting Balti language, culture and folklore.
Just prior to liberation of Turtuk, in the early sixties, the Tibetans took refuge in India. With similar religion and near matching food and cultural practices, Ladakh is second home for a sizable population of Tibetan refugees. All India Radio was a companion for a large number of Tibetans residing in this part of the country. Old timers say, initially AIR Leh was like a school for them to learn the Ladakhi language to mingle with the local people.
While in refuge, Tibetan community is giving back to the Ladakhi society as well. Leading successful lives for themselves, they are also contributing in the field of education and economic development of the region.
Even though they are totally involved in religious education, Buddhism gurus allow the Monks and Nuns to keep d with happenings around the world. Till their graduation in their studies, only listening to All India Radio News is allowed for them in nunneries and monasteries. For local s and news, they tune to AIR Leh News.
On the other hand, Ladakh has mountainous terrain that poses challenges to any Communication technologies. Introduction of Radio broadcast on DTH has solved the problem of quality loss in broadcast in many remote areas. In eastern Ladakh, people prefer to listen to radio for news and other infotainment through DTH channel.
Radio News in Ladakhi gives Ladakhis not just information, but education as well. This made Ladakhi people’s environment cautious. The Trans Himalayas have a fragile environment. Slightest change in environment spells disaster in simple living Himalayan villages.
Ladakhi people are aware of Climate change in the region. Like many other regions, people in the cold desert area of Eastern Ladakh, people are very much concerned about preserving its fragile environment.
Local communities under the banner of Go Green Go Organic Movement, mass plantation has been held every year for the past seven years. So far, seven lakhs saplings of different plants have been planted under this movement at community lands.
Eversince, Ladakh became a Union Territory the administration is working on the Prime Minister’s call to make the region a Carbon Neutral. Plans and policies are formulated to make Ladakh country’s first carbon neutral region. Power department is exploring all the possibilities of power generation for clean energies and bringing the carbon footprint to zero.
The unique culture, heritage and living styles attract tourists to Ladakh. The Culture and heritage of Ladakh are mostly based on Buddhism. This religion in Ladakh gave a rich architectural and cultural heritage in monasteries and Buddhist stupas.
Buddhism in Ladakh was introduced by Samrat Ashoka. A Stupa in Tiri village in Changthang region of Leh District, said to be installed by Ashoka is seen as evidence by the historians.
Ladakh is in the bucket list of many tourists from all over the world. With beautiful landscapes, serene water bodies and pristine blue skies, thousands of tourists visit Ladakh every year. Among all these beautiful places, there is one exclusive living legend that connects Leh with the ancient Silk Route. That is double hump camels in Nubra. The living remnant species of Bactrian Camel attracts tourists to Nubra.
All India Radio and Ladakh Scouts are part of each Ladakhi. Since independence, Ladakhis are plain cloth soldiers in defending the sovereignty of the country. Civilian and Army symbiosis is often visible here. Especially, when in need, each supports the other in Ladakh.
Every household has some connection with the Ladakh Scout Regiment. Although it is the youngest regiment yet it is the highest decorated in the Indian Army. Ladakh Scouts Regiment fought all the wars from 1941 to 1999 Kargil War. Ladakhi youngsters are proud to be part of this decorated unit.
With these glimpses of Ladakh , the team of AIR , Leh news would like to sign off from this report presenting in honour of 50 years of All India Radio Leh services in Ladak