Spotlight on Ladakh

Name of the book : Ladakh in the Twentieth
Author: Dr Sudhir S Bloeria
Publisher : Vij Books India Pvt Ltd,
Road, Delhi
Year: 2021
Pages : 448
Price : Rs 1650

O.P Sharma
This latest 6th book entitled ” Ladakh in the Twentieth Century” authored by renowned writer, Dr Sudhir S. Bloeria is a voluminous 448-page book. Mr Bloeria, a soldier-scholar and eminent administrator has given a detailed account of the Ladakh, a sensitive and strategic part of India. The authentic book on this vast area, in the northern-most Himalayas of the country, has been given with historical sense and personal experience and study of matters: socio-cultural life and also of military importance. The Dogra rule during the last century strengthened and secured our northern borders. Presently,however, the Ladakh region has shot into limelight with menace from across the border from both the neighbours, Pakistan and China.
Ladakh, which is also now a Union Territory of India, has aroused deep interest and this book has certainly assumed great importance not only in the country but even across the globe. Dr Bloeria, in fact, started his administrative career after induction in IAS cadre as SDM ( July,1974 to Feb 1976) in Kargil and later served as Development Commissioner (Oct 1978 to Feb 1981) in Ladakh region and gained deep interest and insight in the social, cultural, history as also prospects and potential for development in this once ” ignored” part of the country but now where full attention is on improving basic infrastructure and concerted efforts are on for growth and development. The author with first-hand experience of Ladakh, has put in very hard research work and compiled this authentic book depicting the glimpses of historical, social, cultural as well as significant developments in all spheres of life during the 20th century. From 1900 to 1999, the hundred years have been a century of change in this sleepy region but during these years the lifestyle of the people is changing fast. The people in Ladakh are struggling hard for bettering their lot.
Authentic Work
It is also worth mentioning that the author had done his Doctor of Philosophy ( Ph.D) on military account of highland battle during 1948, detailing graphic descriptions of Pakistan’s evil designed aggressions, overt and covert, in his book entitled “Battles of Zojila-1948” cleared the aggression by the bold action by the Indian forces coupled with the active co-operation of the local population though areas like Gilgit, Skardu and other parts of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State still remain under illegal occupation of Pakistan.
Rich Experience
Dr Bloeria has so far authored six books like: “Pakistan’s Insurgency and India’s Security”, “The Dying Terrorism”, ” The Men Who Served J&K” and also ” Peace Process in Jammu and Kashmir”. His latest book entitled “Ladakh in the Twentieth Century” is a master-piece on the land known for its rich historical background with unique culture and traditions. Ladakh is also known as ” Land of Lamas”, “Moon Land”, “Land of High Winds”, “Cold Desert” and the like and as per the author it is “Nature’s workshop, studio and art gallery all rolled in one”.
While giving details, Dr Bloeria has made mention of many important personalities and also referred to various crucial events and account of battles as also the development potential and projects in this once splendid isolated region which witnessed great trials and tribulations, crisis and opportunities. Detailed references have been made in the book of iconic personalities like Rigzin Namgyal Kalon; Lt. Col. Hari Chand, MVC; Lt Col Chewamg Rinchin, MVC; Sonam Narboo and many others for their contribution in safeguarding and development of Ladakh region. All this is an interesting tale well-told by Dr Bloeria in this book.
Graphic Accounts
The book under review contains nine chapters with first one devoted to a detailed study of historical background of Ladakh region up to the year1900. This is really a rewarding reading on Ladakh depicting its unique cultural, geographical and historical features. The other chapters are: “Ladakh upto Independence”; ” Barely Saved (Pak ingression in 1947-48)”; ” Forsaken (Dark) Period”; ” The Awakening (1947-48)”; “Development Trajectory and Tourism Boom” and also “the LAHDC”.
New Light, New Facts
The assessment of Ladakh in the 20th century has been given objectively and factually. The special chapter ” Postscript”, comprising 30 pages is very interesting and informative giving description of future scenario of growth and development. Another merit of this historical-value book are the “Annexures” and “Index” which” have been included by Dr Bloeria in the book for the convenience of the readership and further stimulation for further research work
The book “Ladakh in the Twentieth Century” by Dr Sudhir S. Bloeria is an authentic work on the strategically important part of the country and will be useful reading for accurate and detailed information. The author has his own unique style and simple way of writing with historical sense and command over the language and region. This book will be of much importance for the scholars, academicians, students, politicians, prominent persons and also all the citizens. I have gone through this finely printed book, on a quality paper, with deep interest and highly benefitted by the new light thrown on Ladakh, now a Union Territory of India. It is certainly a must-read book for all the people and our libraries must be stocked with this valuable book for the benefit of the policy planners and the general public.
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