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Tales for a Home: Tibet marches from exile to extinction? (Part 2)

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By Sagar Sethi

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.

                                                                                              -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Fleeing from those clutches and surviving the snow-filled Himalayan passes, around ninety four thousand Tibetan refugees, as per a CTA survey, 2009, have made it safely to India. Have they managed to carry their culture along with themselves? If so, will the Tibetans be able to preserve it? Let’s peer into the lives of these people to find some answers.

Passang
Passang

Passang journeyed through high mountains and clear lakes to reach Nepal. She travelled through forests and hid in bunkers only so that she could escape the Chinese snipers. When she completed this seven month nightmarish journey to India she was only eleven; frantic but eager to meet the leader of her people. This sixty seven year old Tibetan refugee still misses her home as she says ‘kamse kam tees log hain humare parivar mein, hum ab tak nahi dekha’ (I have at least thirty members of my family in Tibet that I have not seen yet).

She relates the life of her family in Tibet as, ‘Majboori hai, khush toh nahi hai par dikhawa karna padta hai’ (It’s a compulsion, they are not happy but have to pretend so). She vehemently blames the Chinese red brigade for Tibet’s misery – ‘…muh se mitha baat karta hai, piche se chhuri maarta hai’ (China uses sweet words, only to back stab later).

Passang knows she will never see her family in Tibet but hopes for light at the end of the tunnel. Not for her own sake, but rather for the future generations of Tibetan refugees in India.

Chonga
Chonga

At sixteen years of age Chonga felt the need to meet his guru, the Dalai Lama. So he escaped Tibet in search for a home, the feeling not the place. He says, ‘jab tak guruji ka saath hai, tab tak koi phikr nahi hai’ (As long as Dalai Lama is present, there is no reason to worry). This thirty nine year old Tibetan refugee left his motherland, twenty three years ago. ‘Do mahine, din mein chupna tha aur raat mein chalte the,’ (For two months, he hid during the day and walked during nights) is how he describes his journey.

Photo credit: www.asianews.it
Photo credit: www.asianews.it

As per Chonga’s account, life in Tibet is being run solely by the Chinese government. Anything even close to Buddhism, prayer or practice, has been outlawed in Tibet. Even more, all his phone calls to family are under the Chinese government’s surveillance who are waiting for him to make one wrong move.

The irony of his life is that he is a refugee in India, while Tibet no longer feels like home. This man misses his home as he says, ‘ab tak akela hoon kyunki azaadi ke baad hum ghar jayega, phir hi shaadi karega’ (I am still single because after Tibet attains freedom, I will go home and then only will I marry).

Lhamtso
Lhamtso

Three year old Lhamtso came to India with her maa and baba. She has no memory of Tibet and yet her stay in India feels like home, out of compulsion. She spent fifty years of her life in Manali before settling down in Majnu ka Tila, Delhi. She lives in a nice house and her kids are both working. Lhamtso has spent her entire life as a Tibetan refugee. So she doesn’t know if she wants to go back home.

‘Dekha nahi hai toh kaise pata hoga?’ (Haven’t seen my home, so how will I know if I want to go back?), is what she asked. Does this mean that the Tibetan culture is fading with every passing generation? In the next section then, we are going to unravel the stories of those Tibetans born in India, and haven’t ever been to Tibet.

  • Manoj Sethi

    Every beginning has an end. The time will surely come for the Tibetans as well. The sun will rise for them once again in their homeland.

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Tibetan Communities, Like All Faith Communities, Should Be Able to Select, Educate and Venerate Their Religious Leaders Without Government Interference

Earlier this month at the 3rd Special General meeting in Dharamshala, Tibetans from far and wide underscored the right of the Dalai Lama

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Tibetan Communities
Tibetan Communities, Buddhists and all other faith communities should be able to select, educate and venerate their religious leader without government interference. Pixabay

By Vijyender Sharma

Dharamshala—- Hitting back at China for its “meritless” claim that the Dalai Lama’s succession must comply with Chinese laws and regulations, the United States  reiterated that Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference.

Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, said in a tweeted “The Chinese Communist Party claim that Dalai Lama’s succession “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations” is meritless. Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference. AGW”.

She also said Ambassador Sam Brownbacks’ meeting with  Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasised the enduring US support for the Tibetan people, and also appr

Tibetan
Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, said in a tweeted “The Chinese Communist Party claim that Dalai Lama’s succession “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations” is meritless. Tibetan communities, like all faith communities, should be able to select, educate, & venerate their religious leaders without government interference. AGW”.

Ambassador’s meeting with Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasizes enduring U.S. support for the Tibetan people. India has greatly supported Tibetan religious freedom, and the U.S. stands in deep admiration of India’s extraordinary generosity,” she tweeted.

The US Ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, His Excellency Samuel D. Brownback was in Dharamshala last week at the special invitation of Central Tibetan Administration  President Dr Lobsang Sangay. The Ambassador’s presence here at the seat of Central Tibetan Administration gestured the strongest political support for the Tibetan people, particularly for Tibetan religious freedom. 

After more than hour-long meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay, he said the US stance on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is in accord with the resolutions passed at the third Special General meeting of Tibetan people.

Tibetan
Ambassador Sam Brownbacks’ meeting with  Dalai Lama in Dharamsala emphasised the enduring US support for the Tibetan Communities.

“Earlier this month at the 3rd Special General meeting in Dharamshala, Tibetans from far and wide underscored the right of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders to identify and recognise a successor to His Holiness and rejected Chinese authorities to interfere in this process. Let me be clear! The United States shares that view,” said Ambassador Brownback while officiating the inauguration of the First International Conference on Tibetan Performing Arts at Dharamshala.

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“Tibetan Buddhists and all other faith communities should be able to select, educate and venerate their religious leader without government interference. the selection effects not just Tibetans but for the global Buddhist community. Decision regarding the selection of Tibetan Buddhist leaders rests with the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leaders and people of Tibet. Period!”