The increase of Shamans in contemporary Ladakh: some preliminary observations

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Author: Frank Kressing
Date: Oct. 2003
From: Asian Folklore Studies(Vol. 62, Issue 1)
Publisher: Nanzan University
Document Type: Article
Length: 9,280 words

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Abstract :

Using narrative interviews as primary data, this investigation considers the recent remarkable increase in traditional folk healers (lha-mo, lha-pa, "oracle") who perform shamanic curing and divination in Ladakh, northwest India. It relates this phenomenon to the severe alienation faced by the people of this Trans-Himalayan region in the last decades. Foreign pressures, such as a heavy Indian military presence, the impact of the Muslim-dominated state of Kashmir (of which Ladakh is a part), and Western influences that stem from Ladakh's popularity as a tourist destination, have lead to severe stress within the region. The author argues that in this situation, the "proliferation of shamanism" offers one of a number of possible coping strategies. Keywords: shamanism--Ladakh--alienation--coping strategies--folk religion

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A110960821