Despite an official notification to become a wildlife sanctuary, Changthang plains located on the India-China border in the south-east Ladakh, continues to persist as a site of intense securitisation and local marginalisation. This essay traces a political history of Changthang plains from being a Tibetan pashm entrepot’ in precolonial times to its present-day incarnation as a wildlife sanctuary to specify how the relationship of the local Changpa pastoralists with the outsiders prefigures the frontier politics in Changthang. Through a critical examination of the new ecological policies, the essay examines how Changthang is reproduced as an internal frontier, largely characterised by the influence of the governing elite and a valorisation of the Changpa’s livelihoods and lifestyle. Being made and unmade in keeping with the expansion and contraction of the state as well as changing demands for its commodities, the essay demonstrates how Changthang acts more as a cyclical frontier characterised by the frontier dimensions of control, settlement, extraction and conservation.
|Title of host publication||Routledge Handbook of Critical Kashmir Studies|
|Editors||Mona Bhan, Haley Duschinski, Deepti Misri|
|Place of Publication||United States|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2021|