Naropa Fellowship Initiates Cleanliness Drive in Leh

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Naropa Cleanliness Drive Leh

Naropa Fellows step up to preserve the ecological balance of the Himalayan Region

Leh, November 30, 2018: With an aim to create a sustainable environment in the Himalayan region, Naropa Fellows have initiated a clean-up drive in Leh to minimize the increasing plastic waste in the region.  Aimed at creating awareness around environmental sustainability, the first cohort of Naropa Fellows recently de-clogged a brook littered with plastic and collected non bio-degradable waste from the Photang area in Hemis.

The Naropa Fellowship is a one-year, fully residential, post-graduate, academic programme focused on creating and nurturing agents of change who will work towards building a sustainable socio-economic environment in Ladakh and the greater Himalayas. It seeks to foster entrepreneurship, retain local talent while preserving the cultural heritage of the region. The fellowship is designed to address the rising challenges of unemployment, lack of training and professional skills, and gradual cultural erosion in Ladakhi and the Himalayan societies. The Naropa campus is located at Hemis, a beautiful village in Leh.

Mudra Kumar, one of the Fellows who was part of the clean-up drive said “We get motivated by the work of our leaders who are constantly inspiring us to take positive steps for the Himalayan region. When we saw this brook blocked by plastic waste, we decided to de-clog and clean up the area. We aim to take these clean up drives to a big scale to make an impact in the entire region starting with Leh”.

The local tourism body has indicated that over 277,000 tourists visited Leh last year which is twice the number of residents in the region. As tourism grows, so does trash in Ladakh. “All of a sudden we started generating more than 20 tonnes of waste and a lot of sewage per day,” said Rigzin Spalgon, who heads Leh’s Municipal Committee.

Another source added that a staggering 30,000 plastic water bottles are dumped in Leh every day. The rising piles of garbage, scarcity of water, and traffic pollution are becoming a serious concern for the locals. The Naropa Fellows have realised the urgent need to take actions to save the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.

With adverse effects of climate change and growing consumerism in the Himalayan region, especially Leh, these clean up drives are necessary to foster the traditional eco-friendly lifestyle, keep the surroundings clean, and tackle the menace of plastic pollution.

His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, Co-founder of Naropa Fellowship who has been leading several Eco pad-yatras all around India to save the environment boosted the morale of the students and said “It is heartening to see that these students are really working hard to save the environment. For a society to be prosperous in every aspect, the people must cooperate and work together to achieve larger goals. The Himalayas are already facing a water crisis, so water sources must be preserved, respected and judiciously used. Plastic is also a big concern, so we need to minimise the use of plastic and work for proper disposal.” 

About Drukpa Lineage:

The Drukpa Lineage (the “Dragon Lineage”) is an integral part of Himalayan and Central Asian legacy and culture. Dating back to the Indian scholar-saint Naropa, the Drukpa Lineage is woven throughout the history of Buddhism, India, the Himalayas and Central Asia.

The Drukpa Lineage follows the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in philosophy, i.e. the philosophy of “enlightenment for the benefit of others” and the methods are based on the Tantrayana teachings passed down from the great Indian saint Naropa, who was born a prince in 1016. It acquired the name “Drukpa” in the twelfth century when the reincarnation of Naropa, TsangpaGyare, saw nine dragons fly up into the sky from the ground of Namdruk. The present Gyalwang Drukpa is the twelfth incarnation of the founder of the Drukpa Lineage.

The Drukpas are best known for taking its meditation practice off the mat and into the world – converting compassion into action to tackle the world’s challenges.

Because the Lineage makes its home along the most important historic trading routes, its core tenet of Ultimate Truth fostered and nurtured great civilizations throughout the region including modern day Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Today, the Drukpa Lineage sprawls over major parts of the Himalayas, especially in Ladakh, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti in India, as well as Bhutan and Nepal. Bhutan, also known as “Druk Yul” or “Land of Thunder Dragons”, honours the Drukpa Lineage as its state religion. The lineage is also widely practiced in many countries throughout the world, especially Vietnam, another nation deeply influenced by the legends of “Dragons”.