Innovator Sonam Wangchuk's 'test run' before fasting for Ladakh at -40 C. Watch
Sonam Wangchuk is known for his innovations linked to sustainability.
Education reformist Sonam Wangchuk - who has announced a five-day long fast for Ladakh, which kicks off on Republic Day, shared an update on the "test run" of his protest that he held at his roof top amid sub-zero temperature in Ladakh. The 56-year-old innovator - who turned out to be an inspiration for the lead character played by Aamir Khan in Bollywood blockbuster '3 idiots' - over the weekend had sent an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the "eco-fragile" union territory. "All is not well in Ladakh", he said in a video message where he described woes of locals. To highlight the issues, he said he would hold a fast at Khardung La, famous for the world's highest motorable road, at -40 degrees Celsius.
"A test run for my Climate Fast at Khardungla 18,000 ft minus 40 °C starting 26th January... But the test is on my rooftop at #HIAL Phyang at 11,500 ft. Will update about the -20 experience in the morning," he wrote in a post he shared on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday night. In another post, he shared: "A test run successful! All's well at minus 20°C. Inching closer to my #ClimateFast at #Khardungla 18,000 ft minus 40 °C starting 26th January... This test was on my rooftop at #HIAL Phyang at 11,500 ft. (sic)." Wangchuk also shared a video in which he is heard saying: "Good morning... it's been minus 16.7 degrees. And with wind chill factor, around -20. Thank you for all your support. I was not too uncomfortable... just a little cold in feet and knees."
In his video message, Wangchuk hailed the BJP's move to separate Ladakh as a union territory from Jammu and Kashmir with the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019. This, he said, was a seven-decades old demand. He, however, pointed out that locals have been seeking inclusion of Ladakh under the 6th Schedule to grant it more autonomy for several years now. Several discussions have been held in this regard but without any conclusion. He urged PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to join the talks on the matter.
Wangchuk, who is known for innovations linked to sustainability, has pointed out that Ladakh has nearly 95 per cent tribal population. He also said that the UT has limited resources and it might suffer if businesses from outside expand.