Every single day a tradition, a song, a tale disappears from the cultural memory of the world. The Indo-Aryan tribe Brokpa is no exception to this inevitable process. Comprising today fewer than 2,000 people, they inhabit three secluded lush villages nestled along the Indus river 3,000 m high in the mountain desert of Ladakh – right on the edge of the disputed border of India with Pakistan.
Nowadays under the impact of modernization, tourism and the sensitive political climate in the region the Brokpa are becoming a mere tourist attraction. Their fresh flowers are becoming plastic, their traditional woolen dress is replaced by a polyester punjabi. The younger generations have been embracing the imported western culture and the enigma of Bollywood heroes. Sustained only by the older generation, the carefully preserved songs and tales of the past are rapidly disappearing along with the charismatic voices and personalities of their keepers.
We are Aleksandar Bogdanov, indologist at Sofia University, Bulgaria, ethnomusicologist, photographer and filmmaker, and Proletina Robova, psychologist and indologist with main interests in shamanic practices and altered states of consciousness.