The Himalaya is a cornucopia and convergence of sovereign states, civilisational interaction and indigenous cultures across a stretch of two thousand miles. Its primary cultural influences have been that of Tibetan and Indic civilisations, respectively from the north and the south. Much too often this swath of mountainous and jungle frontier is seen as a territory for division between established states, without much thought to the major influences that impact the frontiers’ peoples and their aspirations.
The book affords a ‘mountain-top-view’ of the Himalaya from the perspectives of its peoples rather than exclusively those who have, over the years, come to possess its territories. All the contributors to this volume point out, directly or indirectly, that the Himalaya suffers from a discourse that originates and ends in the capitals of states in possession of Himalayan territory. It fervently advocates for a change from this habituated approach so that the everyday citizenry of the Himalaya are consulted. It recommends that their participation in the dialogue of the civilisations that are the present-day fabric of their lives, no matter from which direction, is critical for a harmonious region and, indeed, world.
Siddiq Wahid is at present a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He was formerly Vice Chancellor of Islamic University, Kashmir; Gulab Singh Chair Professor of History, Jammu University and Director, Institute of Kashmir Studies, Kashmir University. He has taught in the US in his field of study, which are Central Asian and Tibetan History. Prof Wahid has published widely and the latest (2015) is a forthcoming chapter on historical Gilgit, Baltistan, Ladakh and Kashmir for an anthology of the Himalaya.
Ananta Swarup B. De Gurung
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray
Tshering Doma Kaleon