\ SAMVAD श्री विश्व निकेतन SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN
Phalgun Krishna 10, Vik. Samvat 2075 Yugabda 5120: 1 March 2019
1. FESTIVALS: Chaitra Navaratri starts on first day of the Bharatiya New Year i.e., Varsha Pratipada, corresponding to April 6 this year. The day fills the human spirit with optimism and hope about one’s future and injects into him courage and confidence in facing the trials and tribulations of life — both individual and national. Navaratri, the celebration of nine nights is committed to Goddess Durga and her nine structures. The nine days have incredible religious hugeness as Goddess Durga, the awesome mother, had devastated the insidious power as the devil Mahisashura amid this period. Ram Navami, the birthday of Bhagwan Ram falls on the last day of Navaratris. Ram Navami is one of the festivals that is celebrated by the Bharatiya diaspora with roots in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Andhra pradesh and Tamilnadu. -GoTop
2. Pushing boundaries: on Balakot air strikes: The air strikes have delivered a clear, robust message; the follow-up must be restrained.
The Indian Air Force’s strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot delivers a robust but calibrated message. The latter is manifest in New Delhi’s diplomatic utterances. While the strikes followed the Pulwama attack by a couple of weeks, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale referred to the action as a “non-military pre-emptive strike”. The phrase indicates the action was based on an assessment of an imminent threat, and had ensured that Pakistan’s military personnel and infrastructure were not targeted, and civilian casualties were actively avoided. In effect, New Delhi’s line is that the operation was an intelligence-driven counter-terror strike rather than escalatory military aggression. The government said all other options had been exhausted in making Islamabad keep its commitments since 2004 on curbing the activities of groups like the JeM. There is no denying that the decision to send Mirage jets across the Line of Control (LoC) to fire missiles 70 km inside Pakistan represents a major shift. During the Kargil war in 1999, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had drawn a red line over the IAF crossing the LoC, to avoid international recrimination. This strike was carried out in Pakistani territory, not in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, the theatre for retaliatory action in the past. It is still to be determined how far the JeM has been set back, but the strikes mark a new chapter with New Delhi’s willingness to push the war against terror into Pakistan territory. The government has judged, perhaps correctly, that global opinion has shifted and there is little tolerance today for terror groups that continue to find shelter on Pakistan soil. Significantly, with the exception of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, there has been no global criticism of Bharat’s statement on the strikes, and most have just counselled restraint to both countries.
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for a joint session of Parliament and for its diplomats to raise the matter at international fora. He has convened a meeting of the National Command Authority that oversees Pakistan’s nuclear policy. However, Pakistan’s options are limited. It could continue to deny that the Indian strike caused any damage on the ground, and obviate the need for retaliatory strikes; or it could escalate the situation with a military response. It could also make a break from its past, and begin to shut down the terror camps on its soil, which would win friends internationally and ensure peace in the region. The Modi government would do well to continue the restrained approach it has adopted after the latest operation, and avoid the triumphalism that clouded the ‘surgical strikes’ of September 2016.
With a response to Pulwama duly executed, it must reach out to residents of J&K who have borne the brunt of the jingoism unleashed after Pulwama. In the long term, building strong counter-terror defences, partnering with its own citizens to gather intelligence, and creating deterrents will be key. (Editorial, The Hindu, February 27, 2019) -GoTop
3. RSS hails power-packed Airstrikes: "The entire nation was agitated and angry in the wake of the terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama. Today Bharatiya Vayu Sena demolished JeM's Pakistan-based base camps by precision air strikes. We congratulate Bharat Sarkar and Bharatiya Vayu Sena for exactly translating the feelings and anger of millions of Bharatiyas," said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarakaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi on February 26 in an official statement on Twitter. In a major operation, 12 Miraj-2000 fighter jets of Bharatiya Vayu Sena destroyed several base camps of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, who was responsible for the horrifying Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans had lost their life. -GoTop
4. Support the families of martyrs: More than 45 security personnel were martyred in a suicide attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Kashmir on Feb 14. Sharing the immense grief of the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the nation, RSS Sarakaryavah Shri Bhaiyaji Joshi called upon Sangh swayamsevaks and all patriots to consider it their duty to extend all possible help and also demonstrate unity, forbearance and courage under these challenging circumstances.Donations can be made directly to the Bharat ke Veer app managed by Kendriya Griha Mantralaya or on the website of Indian Bravehearts.More details can be found at https://bharatkeveer.gov.in -GoTop
5. Bharatiya values, modern science can together benefit humanity: Rashtrapati ji: Bharatiya values together with modern science and technology can benefit humanity, Rashtrapati Ram Nath Kovind said on February 25. Rashtrapatiji was addressing students of DAV College, Kanpur after inaugurating the institution’s centenary celebrations. Kovind paid tributes to slain CRPF jawan Shyam Babu from Kanpur Dehat along with other personnel who died in the Pulwama terror attack. “Today is an era of technology and the future will be of Artificial Intelligence. You have to face new challenges. We have to utilise new instruments of technology for development and move ahead,” Kovind said. -GoTop
6. Social awakening happens only with cultural values – V. Bhagaiyya: Social awakening is the life force which would reinvigorate the country, when it is embedded with cultural values that we have inherited from our ancestors. When we work in this manner, we can realize the future Bharat, and our nation then will become the guiding force and vishwa guru for the universe and will result in heralding peace in our current times, said RSS Sahasarakaryavah V. Bhagaiyya.He was speaking at Bhagyanagar during the book launch `bhavishyabharatam’ in telugu and ‘The Sangh and Swaraj’ in English, in an event jointly organised by Samachara Bharati and WISDOM-JNTU on 23rd February. Bhavishyabharatam is a compilation of the lecture series of Dr. Mohan ji Bhagawat, organized in September 2018 in Delhi. It is a compendium of ideas, thoughts and values of sangh and which are articulated and also implemented by Sangh.Ratan Sharda, author and TV panelist; said The Sangh & Swaraj is a compilation of events during our freedom struggle, and especially on the role of sangh. Sirivennalla Seetharama Shastry, famous poet & lyricist and Padma Shree awardee, said we should strengthen our family system which is our core strength that is undergoing a period of conflict and difficulties in today’s times. Gopal Reddy, President Samachara Bharati presided the event. RSS Prant Sanghchalak Dakshinamoorty, several other dignitaries and civil society organizations from various walks of life participated in the event. -GoTop
7. Kumbh-Vishwa Sahabhagita, PM Modi whole heartedly interacts with the representatives of 190 countries: “Today everyone is fed up by the ‘impressive world’ created by the materialistic facilities, today everyone is in search of ‘inspiring world’, Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi expressed his feelings about the Kumbh, while addressing Pravasi Bhartiya representatives from 190 countries at Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi. Guided by the ancient Bharatiya philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means "the world is one family”, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has taken the initiative of inviting one foreign representative from each country of the world to witness the world’s largest gathering of humanity, the Kumbh Mela 2019 in Prayagraj. The delegates, from all walks of life, have been nominated by Bharatiya Missions abroad and include senior politicians, social reformers, Yoga practitioners, academicians, artists, senior bureaucrats, medical professionals.
This initiative is aimed not only to apprise the foreign representatives about Bharat’s rich cultural traditions but also to convey India’s message of universal brotherhood, peaceful co-existence and global unity to the world.
The programme comprised a day’s visit for the foreign representatives on 22nd February to various sites of Kumbh Mela. After the visit to Kumbh Mela 2019, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bharat, Shri Narendra Modi and the External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj interacted with the representatives in Delhi on 23rd February.
On this occasion, PM Modi said, “There is a belief in the Hindu tradition, when a pilgrimage comes and you welcomed him, greet him with Namaskar, with this Namaskar, you will also receive some part of his virtue. I am so much fortunate that, I greeted you and receive part of your virtue”.
This is the third visit of foreign delegates in this Kumbh. On December 15 last year, diplomats from 72 foreign missions had arrived Prayagraj while during Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas in last week of January, a large number of NRIs were also visited Kumbh. -GoTop
8. PM inaugurates the largest Bhagavad Gita in the world: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi inaugurated the world's largest and heaviest Bhagavad Gita at the Delhi ISKCON temple on 26th February. The holy book measuring 2.8 meters by 2 meters has 670 pages and weights at 800 kg. It is also the world's largest sacred book. "With an artistic touch of 18 exquisite paintings and an innovative elegant layout, the book has been printed in Milan, Italy, on YUPO synthetic paper so as to make it untearable and waterproof," the ISKCON said. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement, is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 temples and runs 100 vegetarian restaurants and a wide variety of community-serving projects. -GoTop
9. Conferred with Seoul Peace Prize-2018; PM Modi says it's time to unite to eradicate terror: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi on February 22 received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize - 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth. The award was presented to him by the Seoul Peace Prize Foundation at a grand ceremony in Seoul. A short film on his life and achievements was also screened at the event.
While conferring the award on PM Modi, the award committee recognized his contribution to the growth of Bharatiya and global economies, crediting 'Modinomics' for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. Modi is the 14th recipient of the award and the past laureates included former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and renowned international relief organizations like Doctors without Borders and Oxfam.
Prime Minister Modi said while humbly accepting the award, “….And, this award is for the people who have always put societal good above individual ambitions. And, I am honored that this award is being conferred on me in the year that we celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. I would like to contribute the Monetary award of Two Hundred Thousand dollars that one crore thirty lakh rupees to the नमामिगंगे fund, our effort to clean a river that is not only held sacred by all the people of Bharat, but is also an economic lifeline to millions of my countrymen and women. -GoTop
10. Over 80,000 donate for Pulwama martyrs through 'Bharat Ke Veer': More than 80,000 people have came forward since February 14 to contribute over Rs 20 crore to the 'Bharat Ke Veer' corpus for the CRPF personnel martyred in the Pulwama terror attack, government said on February 18. As many as 40 jawans were killed and several injured when a terrorist rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on February 14. -GoTop
11. PERIOD DOCUMENTARY SHOT IN BHARAT BAGS OSCAR: 'Period. End of Sentence', a documentary film set in Bharat on the taboos around menstruation and featuring the real ‘Pad Man’, bagged the Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category. Directed by Iranian-American film-maker Rayka Zehtabchi, the film was co-produced by Bharatiya producer Guneet Monga. The film is about women in Bharat fighting the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation and delving into the work of ‘Pad Man’ Arunachalam Muruganantham. The 26-minute film follows girls and women in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh and their experience with the installation a pad machine in their village. “I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything, I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar,” Zehtabchi said in her acceptance speech. -GoTop
12. PM MODI WASHES FEET OF SANITATION WORKERS, TAKES HOLY DIP AT KUMBH: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi on February 24 took a holy dip at the ‘Sangam’ and offered prayers at the ongoing Kumbh, after which he washed feet of sanitation workers and lauded their efforts to ensure a Swacch Bharat. “Had the good fortune of taking a holy dip at the #Kumbh. Prayed for the well being of 130 crore Indians,” the Pradhan Mantri tweeted after stepping into the river waist deep in water and offered prayers with folded hands.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Modi lauded the efforts of the sanitation workers. “There are many kinds of saints here, and among those, there are my brothers and sisters who have worked tirelessly to make this Kumbh a success, they are my hard-working ‘Karmyogis,'” he said. Talking about washing the feet of the workers, Pradhan Mantri said he would cherish the moment for his entire life. “There is an unforgettable moment in every person’s life, today I experienced that moment in my life while washing the feet of sanitation workers,” Modi said. -GoTop
13. NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL NEAR INDIA GATE INAUGURATED: Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi on February 25 dedicated a new National War Memorial, situated in the India Gate complex in New Delhi, to the nation. He lit the flame positioned at the bottom of the stone obelisk to pay homage to the soldiers who died in the line of duty. "Our armed forces are among the strongest in the world. They have always risen to every challenge in front of the nation and responded with their full strength," PM Modi said, honouring the soldiers who have given up their lives to defend the country. The National War Memorial complex, spread across 40 acres, includes a central obelisk, an eternal flame, and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. -GoTop
14. Concord’s Shiva Murugan Temple Breaks Ground in Elaborate Ceremony: In a day-long celebration replete with religious rituals, Concord’s Shiva Murugan Temple in California, US (www.shivamurugantemple.org) broke ground on January 26 for a new Shaivite Hindu temple at Concord Boulevard and Second Street. An estimated 2,000 people attended the Vastu Puja as the temple priest, the local architect and the general contractor placed six bricks comprising the foundation stone in the ground at the northeast corder of the future 7,000 sq.ft. building. “It is there for posterity,” explained Meena Annamalai, director of temple construction. “One of the many things that I love about Concord is its cultural diversity,” said Concord Mayor Carlyn Obringer, who was joined at the ceremony by Vice Mayor Tim McGalliam. “I am glad to have this faith community in Concord and look forward to the building dedication.”
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and His Son, Lord Murugan, who, according to Hindu belief, were known for destroying the sins of ego and arrogance. -GoTop
15. bharatiya American Congressman Raja Krishna-moorthi Named Assistant Whip for 116th Congress: Second-term U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., was named an assistant whip for the 116th Congress by Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “I am honoredto be selected for the assistant whip position,” the Bharatiya-American congressman said in a statement. “This position is integral in rallying my colleagues together to pass important legislation. I look forward to bringing our diverse caucus together so that we can continue to pass legislation that will deliver meaningful results for working families across America.” -GoTop
16. bharat-built houses in Sri Lanka handed over to beneficiaries: Over 150 houses, built by Bharat under the Indian Housing Project in Sri Lanka, were handed over to the residents of the country's plantation area on February 24.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Bharatiya High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Sri Lanka's Minister for Hill country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Palani Digambaram, jointly handed over around 155 houses to the beneficiaries in a special ceremony at Bridwell Estate in Bogawantalawa, Hatton. Wickremesinghe thanked Pradhan Mantri Narendra Modi for the development support extended by Bharat. Several Members of Parliament and Central Provincial Council, senior officials from Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Implementing Agency - Sri Lanka Red Cross, Bogawantalawa Regional Plantation Company and a large number of people from the region attended the function.Sandhu also congratulated the owners of the newly-built independent houses.With a grant of over USD 350 million, the largest Indian grant assistance project in any country abroad, about 47,000 out of 63,000 houses have been built under this Project. -GoTop
17. BHARATIYA passport jumps 10 ranks on global index in five years: Bharatiya passport continues to strengthen on the global index as more and more countries are offering visa-free entry and visa on arrival to Bharatiyas. The 2019 Passport Index, which ranks passports of 199 countries based on their Visa-Free Scores and their ranking on the UNDP human development index, shows theBharatiya passport has steadily strengthened over the past five years from 77 in 2015 to 67 in 2019. Last year, it was at 68.Worth mentioning here is that 25 countries now allow visa-free entry to Bharatiya passport holders while 39 more nations offer visa on arrival. -GoTop
18. After shock retirement at 23, Missy Franklin finds peace in Hinduism: Learning Hinduism and reading the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata have taken a chunk of Missy Franklin's time ever since the five-time Olympic gold-medallist swimmer announced a shock retirement in December last year.Chronic shoulder pain forced the 23-year-old to call time on her career but on the bright side, it allowed her to do things that she couldn't do as an active athlete.Earlier, she did Yoga for fun but after exploring Hinduism, it became a spiritual experience for the bubbly American, who is majoring in religion at the University of Georgia.
"I have been studying religion for a year now and it is so fascinating and eye opening. I love learning different cultures, people and their faith," Franklinsaid."I think the most beautiful aspect of Hinduism is the idea of Karma and of being good to one another, doing good deeds and how that all comes back to you, how the universe works," said the winner of four gold medals at the London Olympics. -GoTop
19. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Saumitra ji Gokhale, Vishwa Vibhag samyojak will leave Bharat for pravas to Malaysia, Singapore and Myanmar Visitors: Tapash and Sumitra Pal - Canada
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Asceticism doesn't lie in ascetic robes or in walking staff nor in the ashes. Asceticism doesn't lie in the earring nor in the shaven head nor blowing a conch. Asceticism lies in remaining pure amidst impurities. - Guru Nanak Dev. -GoTop
JAI SHREE RAM
FORGOTTEN MINSAR – AN INDIAN HAMLET IN TIBET
From Siachin and Aksai Chin to parts of Arunachal Pradesh, from Nehru’s ‘generous’ gift to the Chinese, of our right to be among the UNSC to now Minsar, which once belonged to India, the Nehruvian era is riddled with too many diplomatic gaffe. Minsar cannot be allowed to become a forgotten footnote in the history of India, as India can leverage Minsar as wedge against the Chinese in our diplomacy
Most Indians would be startled to know that there exists a small hamlet in Tibet West of Mount Kailash, which was administered by Ladakh and then by Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) for over 300 years. The hamlet comprising of village of Minsar (Mansar) was part of Kingdom of Ladakh from early Seventeenth Century. The revenue from this region was used for the maintenance of Kailash and Mansarovar Yatra. The first official reference to Minsar is found in the Treaty of Tingmosgang signed between Tibet and Ladakh in 1684, wherein Ladakh was allowed to retain Minsar. When Ladakh became part of J&K, Minsar became part of the State of J&K and consequently, became a part of India when Maharaja Hari Singh acceded to India. The state of J&K regularly collected revenue from Minsar, and its officials periodically visited the village and kept doing so till the 1950s, even after J&K acceded to India. This article is an attempt to enlighten the readers about this forgotten Indian hamlet in Tibetan Plateau, which has gone out of Indian consciousness.
Historically, Minsar was an enclave of the princely state of J&K situated in Tibet. For centuries Minsar was the centre for pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar and revenues of Minsar were used for maintaining the holy sites at Kailash Mansarovar.
The old route to Kailash Mansarovar was from Demchok Village on the border of Ladakh via Minsar, which was closed after the occupation of Tibet by China. The Indian rights to this small town were inherited from the Peace Treaty between Ladakh and Tibet signed in Tingmosgang in 1684. Besides the confirmation of the delimitation of the border between Western Tibet and Ladakh, the Treaty affirmed, “The king of Ladakh reserves to himself the village of Minsar in Ngari-Khor-sum (Western Tibet)”. For centuries, Minsar has been a home for Ladakhi and Kashmiri traders and pilgrims visiting the holy mountain.
A report of ThrinleyShingta, the 7th Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, who spent three months in the area in 1748; makes interesting reading. It states “Administratively, it is established that the next village of Minsar and its surrounding areas are ancient Ladakhi territory. After Lhasa invaded West Tibet in 1684, it was agreed and formally inscribed in the Peace Treaty between Tibet and Ladakh, signed in 1684, that the King of Ladakh retained the territory of Minsar and its neighbourhood as a territorial enclave, in order to meet the religious offering expenses of the sacred sites by Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash.”
For centuries, the inhabitants of Minsar, although surrounded by Tibetan territories, paid their taxes to the kingdom of Ladakh. In the 19th century, when Ladakh was incorporated into Maharaja Gulab Singh’s State, Minsar became de jure and de facto part of the Dogra Empire, which regularly collected taxes from Minsar. The process continued even after Indian independence. The last official to visit the region was RigzenGhagilKalon, a special officer of the Government of J&K. He visited the village in 1950, and his report was subsequently forwarded by the Government of J&K to the Ministry of States New Delhi, informing it about the circumstances under which the Special Officer visited Tibet.
RigzenGhagilKalon’s report titled ‘Village Minsar in Western Tibet’ and dated September 13, 1950, stated that Demchok was the last Village on Indian Border.
The report also mentioned that it took ten days to reach Minsar from Demchok “The village Minsar is situated to the east of Gartok and about 32 miles west of Mount Kailash. It is a broad valley with vast plains in it. There are 68 families with 271 souls of which 120 are males and the rest females and are all adherents of Buddhism.” The report further mentions “I found there a few Garhwal tradesmen who did a lot of propaganda in my favour among the people telling them that I belonged to the National Government of J&K which is a part of India. It proved a great help to me. I asked for the recovery of revenue and the people told me that they had not the least hesitation in paying the amount to the State Government.”
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) report of 1960 during the Indo China Boundary talks also establishes India’s right over Minsar, “The Indian side had similar records to show that the village of Minsar was from 1684 under the effective administration of the Kashmir Government:
(a) An extract from an original document prepared in about 1862 showing that during the time of Mehta Basti Ram, that is about 1853, a sum of Rs 56 was collected from this village as revenue.
(b) An extract from the tour report of Faqir Chand, Wazir Wazarat of Ladakh in 1905, stating that the village of Minsar belonged to Ladakh and that a sum of Rs 297 was being collected annually as revenue from this village.
(c) The Indian side had shown earlier that the Assessment Report of 1905, the Final Assessment Report of 1908 and the Settlement Officer’s report regarding the amount of revenue payable had all mentioned Minsar also as one of the villages.”
On May 23, 2014, Scoop News reported that the Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), RigzinSpalbar wrote to J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed demanding re-opening of Demchok route wherein he stated that till the 17th century, the Manasarovar Lake and Mount Kailash were part of the Kingdom of Ladakh and the village of Minsar, near the Kailash continued to pay revenues to the J&K State up to 1960. He cited Ven. KushokBakula Rinpoche, then a Minister in J&K Government who in 1954, along with Sonam Khangsar, a judicial clerk of the Leh District Commissioner's Office, visited Kailash/Manasarovar via Demchok; at that time, they collected taxes from the Minsar villagers.
So, how did India give up its rights on Minsar? Claude Apri, who has written extensively about Minsar, Ladakh and Tibet says that in his quest to make Panchsheel successful, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru decided to forego all rights on Principality of Minsar during Indo China Border talks in 1953. Claude Apri states, “Nehru was aware that Minsar had been providing revenue for maintaining the temples around the sacred mountain and the holy Manasarovarlake, but believed that India should unilaterally renounce her rights as a gesture of goodwill towards Communist China.”
He instructed the diplomats negotiating the Panchsheel accord in Beijing, “Regarding the village of Minsar in Western Tibet, which has belonged to the Kashmir State, it is clear that we shall have to give it up if this question is raised. We need not to raise it. If it is raised, we should say that we recognise the strength of the Chinese contention and we are prepared to consider it and recommend it.”
Eventually, Minsar was not discussed at all during the 1954 talks, and therefore, it continues to be legally and constitutionally a part of J&K State of India. No change of boundary was ever ratified in the Parliament via amending Article 1 of the constitution, as was done for the Indian and Bangladeshi Enclaves.
John Bray, President of the International Association of Ladakh Studies, wrote, “the Sino-Indian boundary dispute remains unresolved. Since the 1960s, the attention of the two governments has focused on the demarcation of the frontier and, more recently, on the prospects for mutual trade. The status of Minsar is no more than a minor footnote to these concerns, but one that has still to be cleared up.”
Minsar, besides having a historical and spiritual context for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains in India, raises many unanswered questions. The Legal status of Minsar has never been addressed. The treaty of 1684 has never been formally revoked by ratification in the Parliament, neither the boundary been changed by amending Article 1 of the constitution. Till 1961, MEA was proving its rights over Minsar by providing revenue records, maps and administrative documents to Chinese, but never formally staked a claim. Neither was any compensation demanded giving up Minsar from the Government of China. The issue was never highlighted in public domain inspite of repeated clarifications sought on Minsar by the Member of Parliament from Ladakh constituency since 1982 in the Lok Sabha. Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage holds a very important place in the hearts of Indians. The Yatra at present is either via Nathu La or via Niti pass in Uttarakhand, both being very rigorous and prone to Suspensions due to unfavourable weather conditions.
The reopening of Demchok route has been a constant demand from the people of Ladakh. In the eventuality of the route becoming a reality, the significance of having an Indian enclave in the vicinity of Kailash Mansarovar cannot be overemphasised.
At present, Minsar is situated at southern end of Gar (Gartok) County on national highway 219 in Ngari Prefecture. Its Chinese name is Men-shi which is pronounced something like “Men-sher.” Minsar is separated from India by the width of Zhada (Tsamda) County, also in Ngari Prefecture. The nearest point in India would be the Malari and Niti Passes in Uttarakhand State. India must take up with China the unresolved issue of Minsar. Given its historical and spiritual context, Minsar cannot and should not be allowed to become a forgotten footnote in History of India. (The writer is social media activist associated with Jammu Kashmir study centre, Organiser Weekly 20th February 2019) -GoTop