Tibet’s new warriors

April 18, 2008

A new generation of Tibetan leaders is overturning every stereotpye, writes Shoma Chaudhury in Tehelka:

Jantar Mantar in Delhi – unique site of struggle, open air podium for the distressed, a kind of safety valve for India’s myriad pressure cookers – is awash with colour. Five thousand Tibetans from across the country are camping on the street. Every few minutes, a new procession is launched, renting the air with slogans in Hindi and English and Tibetan. Occasionally, the mood is deepened by sonorous chants. The fervour is unmistakable; it seeks release. Beneath the surface, deeper currents are gathering.

For five decades — ever since his historic flight from his homeland in 1959 — only one face has symbolised the Tibetan community for the world: the kindly, almost childlike face of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, resolutely speaking of non-violence and absolute compassion. It is a face that has evoked global warmth and admiration, a face that has kept the Tibetan issue kindling on the international stage, a face that has commanded absolute reverence from its own people. For five decades, His Holiness has been the unchallenged star of his people: he has won the Nobel Prize for Peace, he has enlisted glamorous ambassadors, he has kept his scattered tribe together with a wise sense of tradition. But curiously, at the same time, he has leached the Tibetan predicament from hope of any resolution. Unlike the canny apostle of non-violence he is commonly compared to, he has failed to convert his ideal of nonviolence into effective political action.

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For an interview with Tenzin Tsundue click here


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