It is generally seen that Indian border states, especially those neighboring China, are often those which house the most patriotic and proud Indians that one can possibly come across. Whether it be Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh, the sense of unity among the people, and their collective sense of vigorous nationalism can serve as an example for all Indians. Now, bearing true faith to the sentiments across Ladakh, Sonam Wangchuk has made a clarion call to all Indians.
In case you aren’t aware, Sonam Wangchuk is the same man whose role was played by Amir Khan in the super hit film ‘3 Idiots’. A resident of Ladakh, Sonam is an engineer who has heralded a transformation in Ladakh, reforming education in a way that has won him international praise. As such, he is considered a spokesperson of the sentiments of Ladakh, and if his current views are anything to go by, the people of Ladakh have had just about enough of China’s aggression in their territory.
In a 9-minute long video, Sonam Wangchuk calls for an absolute boycott of all Made in China products, including their apps, softwares and hardware. The video is titles, “China Ko Jawaab: Sena Degi Bullet Se, Nagrik Dengey Wallet Se,” or “An answer to China: Army will answer with the bullet, Citizens will answer wth the wallet.’ He called upon people to give up Chinese software within a week, and all of their hardware within a year. Besides, he also pointed out that China was indulging in aggressive posturing not just with India, but all other neighbouring nations as a result of fear in the CCP that there is a brewing sentiment among the Chinese public to dislodge the current regime.
Sonam Wangchuk said, “I think wallet power will work more than bullet power this time. The money people spend buying Chinese goods. Just think, you and I, we buy things from idols to clothes worth Rs 5 lakh crore from China. And, this money is used to buy ammunition to kill our soldiers on the border.
For decades India's tolerance with Chinese intrusions in Ladakh was like…
Woh bedardi se sar kaate mera or mai kahun unse
Huzoor aahista aahista, janaab ahista ahista…
Sena degi bullet se jawaab,
Hum dengey wallet se
— Sonam Wangchuk (@Wangchuk66) May 29, 2020
Sonam Wangchuk speaks for the public of Ladakh. Hence, such strong words coming from him go on to show how the citizens of the union territory have nothing but absolute hostility towards the Chinese state and its continued misadventures along the LAC. In August last year, as Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the bifurcation of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, Ladakh was declared a Union Territory. Almost instantly, the region burst into celebrations with song and dance, as a long-standing demand of the people of Ladakh was finally fulfilled.
Ladakh is as much an integrated and unified part of India as is Delhi, for example. Therefore, for China to flex its muscles along the region which houses the most patriotic of Indians, in an attempt to perhaps threaten India’s sovereignty, is a gross miscalculation on the part of the CCP.
As China moves its forces along the currently hot areas in Ladakh, despite diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions, no let-up has been seen along the LAC from the Indian Army, and India has counter-deployed in equal strength every time the CCP has increased its force in the area.
The people of Ladakh feel a sense of camaraderie with their Tibetan counterparts, who are being made to live forcefully under a CCP regime. The people of Ladakh are well aware of China’s illegal annexation of Tibet. In fact Ladakh and Tibet share deep cultural ties, and the people of both regions largely follow Buddhism. But while Ladakh has democracy, Tibet survives under an oppressive regime, its rights have been plundered, and it is cut off from the whole world.
As such, the thought that the expansionist China might be looking to indulge in similar theatrics in Ladakh has not been given a miss by the people. Consequently, there is palpable nervousness, naturally so, prevalent among the people of Ladakh. The recent military escalations are making many in the region jittery nonetheless.
It must be mentioned that India, under the Modi government, has steadily been signalling at retrieving Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and amalgamating it rightfully within India. In this context, it is worthy to be mentioned that a large portion of Ladakh, which China calls “Aksai Chin”, is currently under occupation by China. While there is a growing sentiment that PoK is about to be retrieved very soon, China feels particularly threatened by the prospect of losing Aksai Chin. Further, the BRI runs through Aksai Chin and PoK, and tremendous investments have been made by China for the same. Therefore, China is all the more wary, and wants to put India on the backfoot.
The people of Ladakh, under no circumstances, would be welcoming China at their doorsteps. Instead, being the proud Indians that they are, China can expect a massive blowback for any misadventures it attempts in the region.