Ladakh-based reformist Sonam Wangchuk ends nine-day fast, calls for protection of ecologytext_fields
Ladakh: Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer turned educational reformist known for inspiring the character Phunsukh Wangdu in the film '3 Idiots', has concluded his nine-day hunger strike in Leh.
The fast, which started on June 18, was aimed at raising awareness about the crucial need to safeguard Ladakh's fragile mountain ecology and indigenous communities. Initially planned for seven days, Wangchuk extended the fast by two additional days before concluding it on Monday.
Hundreds of people gathered at NDS Stadium in Leh to show their support for Wangchuk's cause during his hunger strike. Earlier this year in February, he led a five-day hunger strike in sub-zero temperatures, demanding the inclusion of Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. During that strike, thousands of individuals from across Ladakh joined him in his quest.
Sonam Wangchuk, born in 1966, is a mechanical engineer and the director of the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL). His relentless efforts to address environmental challenges in the Union Territory have drawn global attention.
As the founder of the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), Wangchuk established an innovative school where the campus operates solely on solar energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels for cooking, lighting, and heating. Since its inception in 1988, SECMOL has been dedicated to supporting and training Ladakhi children and youth who were labeled as failures by the traditional education system. In 1994, Wangchuk initiated Operation New Hope, a reform movement aimed at bringing positive changes to the government school system in Ladakh.