Stone Pastures of Ladakh

Stone Pastures

This is a film made in the Changthang region of Ladakh and featuring a family of Changpa nomads, their life with their herds of goats, sheep and yaks, and their hope to get their children educated. The film is based on the lives of the main characters in the film, who appear as themselves, and is quasi-documentary in style, being clearly based on their actual lives, even if some of it is reconstructed.

Set against stunning scenery, the film documents their hard lives amongst the stony pastures of southeastern Ladakh. They only trade once a year and the film traces them through the seasons and culminates with the trade of their pashima wool, which is what goes into Kashmiri shawls, to an Indian trader.

In between times we see the harsh conditions the family has to live under, sometimes in the bitter cold. They are also attempting to get their young children, Padma (14) and Kunsang (7) an education, so they will not have to face the same future their parents are living out, but that takes money, and Padma doesn’t like school and keeps running back to his family.

Although it is not touched upon in this film, education has been seen to be a mixed blessing for traditional societies, and I recommend watching some of the other films from Ladakh I have posted on this site to better understand some of the issues involved: Ancient Futures, Learning from Ladakh and Schooling the World.


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