Most important of all, I have been able to witness first-hand the evolution of tensions between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority in Ladakh, or `Little Tibet', in the western Himalayas. For more than 600 years these two groups lived side by side with no recorded instance of conflict. They helped each other at harvest time, attended one another's religious festivals, even intermarried. But within a decade of the imposition of western-style `development', Buddhists and Muslims were engaged in pitched battles — including the bombing of each other's homes — that took many lives. Even mild-mannered grandmothers — who a decade earlier would have been drinking chang, eating tsampa and laughing with their Muslim neighbours — told me, “we have to kill all the Muslims or they will finish us off.”Hat tip Jenny B.
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