Tag Archives: Ladakh

The Goba of Ladakh – Current Relevance of a Traditional Governance System: Shrishtee Bajpai and Ashish Kothari


Abstract: Indigenous and other local communities across India have had traditional systems of local governance as unwritten or sometimes written codes of conduct and decision making. Many such systems are still being followed in parallel with the panchayat systems, or getting re-invented by combining the modern forms of governance with the traditional ones, especially in the case of communities still practising traditional occupations and ways of life (forest-based, pastoral, fishing, and/or farming). There are, however, very few studies of these systems interacting with modern state institutions, their current or continuing relevance, and their role in achieving goals of justice, well-being, and ecological sustainability.

Goba meeting to discuss study results, Leh Aug 2022.

This study focuses on documenting the present status and relevance of the traditional governance system of Ladakhi villages, with a focus on the goba (or lambardar/nambardar). For this, the study also looked at the interface between the local/traditional and new/modern governance systems, viz. the goba with the panchayat, Ladakh Hill Council and UT Administration.

Keywords: traditional governance, goba, democracy, natural resources, indigenous knowledge, environment

Continue reading The Goba of Ladakh – Current Relevance of a Traditional Governance System: Shrishtee Bajpai and Ashish Kothari

Letter from Ladakh

13th August 2011

Dear Chintan,

Some days ago, I was at Pangong Tso. Pangong is a lake, a large saltwater lake. I heard some days ago that the lake is not very deep. The waters were blue, green and clear at different spots, reminding me of my first visit to Robben Islands in Cape Town in 1999 where I was awed at the different colours that the sea assumed in the course of its course. There is no fish in Pangong lake, as I was also told some days later. We only saw a mother duck swimming with her babies and a few insect-like fish. Also, there is no boating permitted on the lake. This is because Pangong Tso is a border area where India border with China and for security reasons, no activity is permitted on the lake.  Continue reading Letter from Ladakh