Education reformer Sonam Wangchuk’s five-day ‘climate fast’ in subzero Ladakh was fed by Buddhist spiritual leader Thupstan Chewang at the Himalayan Alternative Ladakh Institute (HIAL). After that ended on Monday.
Known for his green innovations, Wangchuck, 56, has requested protection measures in Ladakh under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule.
Sonam Wangchuck continued his fasting on Republic Day, which culminated on Monday, despite the ‘twisting arms’ tactic by the Ladakh UT regime.
The fifth and final day of the fast Wangchuk survived on the water, repeating the demands of the sixth schedule to protect the fragile environment of Ladakh, its mountains, glaciers, land, people and culture.
“People from all religions and regions of Ladakh joined me on the last day of climate fasting. and our land and people,” he said. Wangchuk said 200 million people depend on glaciers, half of which are on the Indian subcontinent.
“The entire population of northern India is directly or indirectly dependent on the Himalayan glaciers and if they are not preserved and continue to melt in the name of industrialization, we will all face serious water crises. So we have to save them,” he said.
He said he regretted that in democracies, leaders saw things through the prism of five-year terms and nature fell victim to them.
He also slammed the Ladakh UT administration for preventing him from going to Khardungla to observe the fasting.
“The government over the past three years has failed to provide jobs. Authority is also diluted. ¥6,000 kroner budget for the region, 70% of which has expired and only 8% is given to the hill council, mostly to LG, who do not understand the pain and suffering of the local people.” he said.
He argued that without elected representatives, democracy would be dead long ago and that only one man (LG), an outsider, would understand the region and its people.
“Now the people of Ladakh are demanding full statehood,” he said, reminding him that Ladakh must be a UT with a legislative body, which remained elusive.
“Ladakh is now permanently under the rule of the governor, but people are now demanding that it become a full state,” he said.
Discouraged by the BJP government’s “lazy” tactics to provide safety nets under the sixth schedule, Wangchuk decided to fast for five days.
On Monday, several religious leaders from Chewang, Leh and Kargil participated in a climate fast in Wangchuk.
In the evening, Chewang offered Wangchuk food to end his five-day fast.
While fasting at HIAL, Wangchuk used an innovative gadget to weather freezing temperatures.
To attract the attention of people in India and around the world to live a carbon neutral life, he organized a solar exhibition including solar concentrator dishes, solar power systems and solar beds.
A solar concentrator dish provided him with hot water by concentrating the sun’s rays onto a black metal pot with water in the center.
Since the solar power generation system freezes at -20 or -40 degrees Celsius, the solar scaffolding type panels generated by sunlight were supplied to the solar box containing the batteries.
During the day, the solar bed can be folded and used as a bed. Absorbed the sun’s rays during the day. Inside it was a black water mattress with heat storage capacity.
At night, we pitched a small tent over the bed using four panels to protect us from the icy winds and keep the bed warm under a black water mattress.