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Surviving the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Himalayan Borderlands

Sandesha Rayapa, PhD Banner image (above): A panoramic view of Budi, one of the many Rung villages in the higher regions situated above Dharchula (Source: Adesh S. Rayapa). Dharchula and its twin town, Darchula, are separated by the Mahakali river, which also divides India from Nepal. At 915m above sea level, Dharchula is located on […]

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The Wrong Hertz: In Northeast Pakistan’s Mountains, Disaster Communication Encounters Static

By Zainab Khalid (Lanzhou University and COMSATS University) The first thing that strikes travelers to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Northern Pakistan, where the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalaya mountain ranges meet, is its dramatic landscapes. Tall, bare almost ugly, somewhat scary mountains are broken by deeply cut valleys, whose meandering rivers and tributaries surround you […]

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Keeping Connected while Staying Apart: Social Media and Lockdown in Thimphu

Dolma Choden Roder (Royal Thimphu College) Like many in Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital city, I heard about both the first positive case on March 6th (an American tourist who was initially quarantined in the capital but flown home a little after 10 days ) and the announcement of the nationwide lockdown on August 11th on social […]

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Speaking the Virus: The Importance of Reaching Rural Tibetan Communities in Their Vernaculars

Yulha Lhawa Banner image (above). The COVID-19 pandemic was suppressed quickly and early in Khroskyabs-speaking communities, and so villagers were able to successfully undertake the year’s farm work. Here, Aunt Xiang Sijie and her three nieces pose in front of a rack full of harvested barley. Tibet is commonly perceived as a monolingual region. However, […]

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A State of Mistrust: The COVID-19 Pandemic and Nepal’s Tharu Communities

Abha Lal (@AbhaLal2) Banner image (above). The hospital in Gulariya town, Bardiya, where COVID-19 patients are being treated (source). Tharus are an Indigenous community of southern Nepal. According to the most recent national census (2011), they make up 6.6% of Nepal’s population. Although linguists recognize several distinct Tharu languages, most of the Tharu community, as […]

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The Languages and Imaginations of Monsoon Rains below the Eastern Himalaya

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, PhD (Visiting Research Associate, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, India) Banner image (above). Three young girls walking to school during light rain (slap-boi-ksi), in Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya, one using an umbrella to protect against the rain, one deciding if she should use it or close it, and one walking without an […]

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Communication During Disasters in Indigenous Communities in Swat

Mujahid Torwali (@Mujahidtorwali) July 2010 saw some of the most devastating floods in Pakistan’s history. These were followed by serious flooding again ten years later. This post examines communication during these floods among the Torwali-speaking communities of Swat, in northern Pakistan. The Torwali Communities of Swat Swat is a district in Malakand Division of Khyber […]

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Communicating Public Health Information in one of Bhutan’s Larger Small Languages: Mangdepikha

Tenzin Dorji (College of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan) Mangdepikha (also known as Nyenkha) is one of the 19 or more languages spoken in Bhutan. It is currently spoken by around 10,000 people living in central Bhutan. This post focuses on the communication of COVID-19 public health information in the Mangdepikha-speaking village […]

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A Lifesaving Language in Crisis

Kunbzang Tsering དཀུན་བཟང་ཚེ་རིང (PhD Candidate, La Trobe University) During August 2020, several landslides occurred on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, as a result of heavy rain. This disaster destroyed many homes and resulted in approximately 2,000 villagers being relocated to the county town. In this post, I will look at how local Tibetans used the Baima […]

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