Tibetans in Gothangaon dream of seeing Tibet liberated from Chinese occupation

(Left to right) Tenzin Pasang, chairman of the local Tibetan Assembly; Karma Gelek, member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile; and Tsering Wangmo keep their fellow Tibetans hopeful of one day returning to a free Tibet. (Photo by Kartik Lokhande)

By Kartik Lokhande:

63rd anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day today

She was only seven years old when Communist China finally invaded Tibet in 1959. Now 70, sitting in the office of the Sambhota Tibetan School at Gothangaon Camp in Gondia District, Tsering Wangmo represents Tibetan refugees living in India and other countries when she says with watery eyes and a lump in her throat, “Tibet should be liberated from Chinese occupation. I feel that my end should come to free Tibet…” Although Communist China under Mao Tse Tung began a succession of territorial aggressions against Tibet since 1949, it dealt a final blow of invasion in 1959 to Tibet. On March 10, 1959, the Tibetan people revolted against the brutal occupation of their homeland by Chinese communist forces. For Tibetans in exile, March 10 each year marks the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising.

This year they are celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. The 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, and dozens of his followers had to flee Tibet in 1959. Since then, taking refuge in India at Dharamshala and elsewhere, the Dalai Lama has kept the flame of independence alive. Tibet and a Tibetan Parliament in exile is working in this direction. There are several Tibetan colonies/camps in India where Tibetans in exile live, keeping their dream alive and preserving their culture and traditions. Gothangaon Tibetan Settlement is the only such camp in Maharashtra. The Tibetans of Gothangaon share Tsering Wangmo’s hope that one day their homeland, Tibet, the spiritual realm, will be liberated from the occupation of Communist China.

When “The Hitavada” visited Gothangaon and spoke to people about Tibetan National Uprising Day, they shared their stories and dreams. Regarding Tsering Wangmo’s story, she says her father was among several Tibetan men who were “taken away” by the Chinese. Like many other children, she left Tibet with her parents and elders. The journey was arduous as the fleeing Tibetans had to avoid detection by Chinese forces, survive harsh weather and rugged terrain without enough food and water, and carry the torch of hope lit by tears. pain while navigating the darkness of fear and uncertainty. . “We had to live like nomads. We traveled at night. My uncle died on the way, along with my beloved Yak. We all fled to Nepal, and little by little we arrived in India,” she recalls. Since then, a lot has happened in the collective life of the planet. China’s grip on Tibet has tightened, but not enough to extinguish the flame of Tibetan freedom. Communist China is determined to appoint the new spiritual leader of Tibet, of course, of its choice. China pushed the narrative of how Tibet changed and became part of China. However, Tsering Wangmo and other Tibetans in exile do not buy Chinese propaganda. “Tibet right now looks good but the Chinese occupation is not good. Our temples have been demolished, converted into toilets and facilities for the Chinese forces.

Our culture is under threat,” she says with pain in her voice. Karma Gelek, a member of the Tibetan parliament in exile, tells ‘The Hitavada’ that her father had also died in Tibet. Like the Tibetans he leads, he is keen to see Lhasa in Tibet before his death. “The Chinese have created such conditions there right now that we can’t go and visit our homeland, Tibet,” he said. Regarding the March 10 Tibetan National Uprising Day, he says that China under Mao sent forces posing as Tibet sympathizers in 1949. But, gradually, Communist China unmasked it and had resorted to aggression and plunder and occupied Tibet, in the process forcing Tibetans to flee and live in exile in India and other countries around the world. Like every year, he adds, the declaration of the Tibetan Parliament in exile will come on the day of the Tibetan national uprising. Karma Namga, headmaster of the Sambhota Tibetan school in Gothangaon camp, says the human rights of Tibetans are being violated in Communist China-occupied Tibet. “It happened then, and it still happens today. The Tibetans who fled Tibet in 1959 with His Holiness the Dalai Lama are grateful that India supported them well.

Through our school, we try to keep our culture alive. Until Std IV, we teach Tibetan language to our younger generation. English is introduced from Std V,” he says. Dawa, another member of the Gothangaon camp, was only four years old when his family fled Tibet. He lived most of his life in India. In fact, he served in the Indian army and was posted to Tuting during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. But he shares every Tibetan’s dream. While the older and middle generations are still steeped in Tibetan cultural practices, the younger generations born and raised in India speak Hindi very well and even sing songs. Young people like Dtenzin Noryang can even sing popular Marathi songs well. He and three other youngsters sang the song “Teri Mitti Mein Mar Jaawan” from a Hindi movie beautifully. Although their aspirations correspond to their generation, they have not forgotten the dream and the hope of the elders. One can find the reflection of this dream of “free Tibet” in the prayer room of the Tibetan school of Sambhota, on the wall of one of the buildings of the establishment, during the celebrations of Losar (the Tibetan new year). , Parent’s Day (Dalai Lama’s mother’s birthday), Dalai Lama’s birthday, etc. Interestingly, the Dalai Lama’s visits to the Gothangaon camp, the last in 2014, inspired them to keep the dream alive. As Tibetans in exile celebrate the 63rd anniversary of Tibetan National Uprising Day this year, they hope to find more support for their cause from the local to the international level. They believe hope is the brightest star and compassion is the greatest virtue.

Tibet

Tibetan parliament in exile denounces China’s persecution in Tibet The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, headquartered in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, issued a statement on Wednesday, on the eve of the 63rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. In the statement, he slammed the Chinese Communist government for the rampant persecution and oppression in Tibet. In addition, he reiterated the call for China to start “substantive dialogue”. The statement slammed the Chinese government for its relentless pursuit “of a design to erase the very ethnic identity of the Tibetan people, as well as their religion, culture, language and everything else”. “In this way, the Chinese government deprived the Tibetan people, the rightful owners of their national territory, of everything they possessed, including the most basic of their human freedoms, while subjecting them to degrees of persecution and of torture as if he were standing. condemned to live in hell on this very land of the living. There is no mistake that the ultimate goal of the Chinese government is to transform Tibet into Chinese in both its outward form and its internal substance. he added. According to the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, a total of 156 Tibetans have staged protests accompanied by self-immolation since 2009. It accused the Chinese communist government of persisting in “distorting the real situation in Tibet with nothing but lies shameless stories and distorted narratives” and concealing the reality from the Chinese people and the international community by “employing all kinds of propaganda subterfuge”. In an effort to “sinicize” Tibetans, he added, China was closing private Tibetan schools with Tibetan students forced to study the policies of the Chinese communist government and the speeches of its leaders. “Various types of campaign actions aimed at sinicizing the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism are being actively carried out,” the statement read. He also alleged that China had carried out destruction in Drakgo County in the Tibetan province of Kham, including that of a 99-foot Buddha statue, prayer wheels containing one hundred million turns of Buddhist mantra text six-syllable Tibetan, the demolition at Chanang Monastery etc. Also, he accused China of arresting and beating Tibetan scholars, monks. Finally, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile reiterated its call for China to start “substantial dialogue” on the basis of a “mutually beneficial middle path policy”, in accordance with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s desire. In the statement, he also expressed his solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Michael A. Bynum