Ancient Futures of Ladakh

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What is development? It can be defined as a specific state of growth or advancement. Helen Norberg-Hodge would view it as a western way of life, which brings forth destruction of family values and a change in the traditional way of life as seen in her documentary Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh.

Ladakh was an isolated Himalayan country which followed the Tibetan way of life. They had a sustainable traditional way of life, and didn’t depend on the western view that money was what made you happy. They knew not of poverty, diseases, pollution or of being a society that didn’t work as a family or well knit community. They depended on the earth to sustain life; they worked together in their communities to harvest the crop; they were virtually able to sustain themselves, live peacefully and were happy people. But in 1974, this tight knit family oriented society, was met by the Western Culture. The pressure was there to modernize. Before when she visited the villages the people only knew of cultivating the land, to provide food. They took care of their native animals; they lived as big families, whereby it wasn’t just the parents and the children but also the grandparents. They build their own houses by using what the earth provided. As stated in the video, in traditional culture children learn from experience, how to grow food, build houses, how to make clothes and most importantly they learn about the values which supported their way of life over the centuries. On the contrary when the western way of development arrived, the children now went to school, and weren’t home to help their mother cultivate the land and carry out traditional practices. They were sent to school to get an education about how to get specialized jobs that are needed in urban centers (in the video, you see a child learning how to fix the engine of a car). Now, this became problematic because these types of jobs weren’t readily available, so in reality the children were basically...
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