Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World by Helena Norberg-Hodge PDF

By Helena Norberg-Hodge

A gripping portrait of the western Himalayan land occasionally referred to as “Little Tibet,” Ancient Futures opens with writer Helena Norberg-Hodge’s first stopover at in 1975 to idyllic, preindustrial Ladakh. She then tracks the profound adjustments that happened because the zone was once opened to overseas travelers and Western items and applied sciences, and provides a firsthand account of the way relentless strain for fiscal development triggered generational and non secular clash, unemployment, inflation, and environmental harm, threatening to solve Ladakh’s conventional approach of life.

Energized by way of the destiny of a those that had captured her middle, Norberg-Hodge helped identify the Ladakh undertaking (later renamed the foreign Society for Ecology and tradition) to hunt sustainable options that safeguard cultural integrity and environmental future health whereas addressing the starvation for modernization. due to the fact then, different Ladakh-based tasks have proliferated, aiding renewable strength structures, neighborhood agricultural equipment, and the religious foundations of Ladakhi culture.

The author’s new afterword brings readers up to date at the paintings of those initiatives and on her personal profession over numerous many years as she traveled broadly, looking at comparable affects on different cultures. She demanding situations us to reconsider our options of “development” and “progress,” stressing peculiarly the necessity to hold historical knowledge into our future.

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Another unusual and shocking remedy is the practice of placing a hot iron directly on the skin, leaving a small scar. Ladakhis who have undergone this treatment assure me that it is effective and painless. Surgery is not practiced. I have been told that it was outlawed centuries ago when the thirty-eighth queen of Ladakh was accidentally killed by the surgeon’s knife. Stitches are not used either, even for big wounds. Instead the site is cleaned with an herbal powder, and blood coagulant tablets are administered.

Then Uncle Dawa sat down beside the stove. He spun his prayer wheel of shining copper and brass while gently murmuring a sacred mantra, as if it were an accompaniment to the movement around him. Old people participate in all spheres of life. For the elderly in Ladakh, there are no years of staring into space, unwanted and alone; they are important members of the community until the day they die. Old age implies years of valuable experience and wisdom. Grandparents are not so strong, but they have other qualities to contribute; there is no hurry to life, so if they work more slowly it does not matter.

The group consists of between four and twelve households, sometimes from different villages. Generally they share the same household god, who is believed to protect the families from harm and disease. At New Year, offerings are made to the god at a small shrine on the roof of each house. The paspun is most active at the time of a funeral. After death, the body is kept in the family house until the day of cremation (usually a week or so later), but the family does not need to touch it. The paspun members have the responsibility to wash and prepare the body; from the moment of death until the body has been totally consumed by fire, it is they who arrange most of the work so that the relatives are spared unnecessary distress.

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Ancient Futures: Lessons from Ladakh for a Globalizing World by Helena Norberg-Hodge

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