By Fernanda Pirie

This anthropological learn of Ladakh analyses the capacity through which small groups create areas of order amidst the heterogeneous forces of modernity. In doing so it additionally filling a conspicuous hole within the secondary literature on Tibetan legislation.

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Additional resources for Peace and Conflict in Ladakh (Brill's Tibetan Studies Library)

Sample text

Rather, the kings patronised the monasteries in order to secure their support. 9 Whilst, therefore, the Dalai Lama in Tibet was, first and foremost, a religious leader, uniting ritual with secular authority, the power of the Ladakhi kings remained distinct from that of the monasteries. 10 The Ladakhi chronicles also attribute meritorious, as well as ritual, qualities to the early kings: After a council had been held by them all they said: ‘Now we must elect from among us a “lord of the fields”, a man who is able to distinguish between good and bad, a man of great diligence and courage, a man king towards all men, and great in merit generally, who is wise in all works as well as in speech, who is clever in administering judgment (literally, measuring)’.

This was then developed into a corpus of regulation, or ‘customary law’, which was recognised in the courts and integrated into the colonisers’ systems of government and administration of justice (see, for example, Bloch 1971: 31-2 and Chanock 1985). The exercise carried out by Singh appears to have been a preliminary step towards such an exercise for Ladakh. However, it did not result in a code of ‘customary law’ that was applied in any systematic way. Rather, the pattern of light and unsystematised judicial control by the centralised administration continued.

The Public Works Department maintains the roads that branch off the main highways when they are damaged by floods and land-slips, but it does a poor job of maintaining the paths and bridges in the remoter areas. Nevertheless, the government provides a basic level of services which is beneficial to the villages, in theory if less so in practice. 17 van Beek (2001: 537) and Aggarwal (2004: 73-74) discuss some of the social effects of these changes, including the sense of dissatisfaction experienced by many of the newly educated youth, unable to find suitable employment.

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