Thursday, September 10, 2020


AND NOW, A NEW FACE OF DEMOCRACY April 1993 In his 10 March statement, the Dalai Lama has stressed on the need to focus on four fronts: continuing to seek a fruitful dialogue with the Chinese government, seeking more support for our cause in the outside world, studying Peking’s new economic policy in Tibet, and further democratization of the Tibetan administration in exile. The success on the first three of these fronts largely depends on attitudes of other people but the last one is entirely up to us. By now many features of a modern democracy are in place in our exile society, even if some of them only in name. So in this respect we can claim to have made successful transition to modern, civilized way of doing things collectively. This is fine for taking visitors on guided tours. However, we can’t, in the privacy our own rooms, seriously think of our society as a practicing democracy without bursting into hysterical fits of laughter. Strangely enough, though, this does not seem to be the result of some sort of conspiracy at the top. The problem appears to lie with the still unreconstructed attitude of the ordinary Tibetan people. A fine example of this problem was provided in the recent election in Dharamshala of the new council of ministers. The new election rules provided an excellent opportunity for a thorough overhauling of our administration which would have, if nothing else, taught the future holders of high positions that they cannot take them for granted. It was a great idea to let members of the Central Tibetan Administration recommend names for the ministerial posts, for no one else would be in a better position to know who is capable and who is not. Once the nominations based on these recommendations came down from the Dalai Lama, it was left to the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies to elect the seven ministers. The stage was truly set for a new era in Tibetan democracy. But the outcome was the biggest anticlimax we have ever seen. First, every single member of the old cabinet was returned. Not enough people, whether in the Central Tibetan Administration or in the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies, seem to have thought that if the purpose of the whole exercise was to find two new ministers, there would have been no need for the old cabinet to resign or indeed to change the election procedure in the first place. Secondly, once the smoke cleared out, the only new face we had up there was that of Rinchen Khando Choegyal. And her qualification for the august post: she is the wife of the Dalai Lama’s younger brother. Of course you will be told that the real reason why she got there is because she was president of the Tibetan Women’s Association. You will then need to be told that she was elected president of TWA for the same reason that she is now elected a member of the cabinet—her marital ties. Mind you neither she, nor her husband, nor anyone else told the TWA members or government officials or our parliament that she be elected on that account. Our people do not need to be told such things. They’ve got eyes, haven’t they? The Tibetan cabinet, which is not large even by its own standards, already has a brother and a sister of the Dalai Lama in it. However, unlike Choegyal, they were both closely associated with the Tibetan administration even before they joined it. Before her election in the TWA, Choegyal’s sole claim to fame rested on being a respectable housewife and a good hostess. True, after the election, she travelled abroad and made some speeches. But anyone put in that position could have done that. After all, she is not known to have said anything which would not have occurred to anyone else. Her election, therefore, leads to some interesting questions: Are we having so much trouble getting a full-sized cabinet because the Dalai Lama does not have enough brothers and sisters? Now that in-laws have begun to be roped in, will the process go on till all the in-laws have begun to be roped in, will the process go on till all the in-laws, some of whom are not even Tibetans, are in place? And finally, do people in Dharamshala really believe this is what the Dalai Lama meant when he said that “the implementation of democracy at the grass-roots level must be encouraged?”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gender Bender (September, 1995)

If someone hasn’t already said it, let me: We live in a confused age. Last month we were informed – and we in turn informed others – that Tibetan women are definitely barred from attending the UN women’s conference in Peking, both the official governmental one and parallel NGO forum. Now, only days before the conference is to start, we were told that a whole lot of them from all over the world are going to descend on the Chinese capital for the big event.

The only thing certain about the 80 or so determined Tibetan women holding passports of various nationalities is that they haven’t yet got their visas. As I write this, the start of the NGO forum is only a week away, on 28 August. And I am willing to bet anything that the Chinese will never allow them in – unless, of course, they disguise themselves as something other than Tibetan. For, you see, the Chinese do not object to Tibetan women specifically but to Tibetans. If they let Tibetans – few or many, women or men – into an international gathering hosted by themselves, wouldn’t it be tantamount to their accepting Tibet as being an independent state?

But this article is not about the Peking conference. I’m just using it as an excuse to say something which so far I have not been able to muster enough courage to spell out. I could never understand why the small but organization-ridden and bureaucracy-infested Tibetan society needs a separate organization for women. Now, before Tibetan women of various shapes and sizes decide to descend on me – instead of on Peking – with an assortment of kitchen tools, let me explain myself further. I have full respect for women, some of whom – believe it or not – are my friends. When I say I see no need for a Tibetan women’s organization, I am not implying that they are inferior in intellect or other respects to what is believed to be their worse halves. The interests of Tibetan women are represented as much as of any other sections of the society by the Tibetan government and other organizations. It is not as if cases of atrocities against women in Tibet were unknown before their sisters in exile decided to band together. In fact, it was non-women-specific groups, notably Tibet supporters in the west which brought to international light cases of Tibetan women undergoing rape, torture, forced sterilization and coercive abortions in the hands of the Chinese.

Tibetan women were hardly inactive before the organization came into existence. They were always visible in the forefront of demonstrations and other political activities. They held and still hold elected positions in other organizations. It is true that there was a women’s organization in Lhasa that held demonstrations against the Chinese in 1959. However, those were different circumstances. At that time most of the resistance took the form of physical violence and when events reached a climax there was a definite need to show that it was not just the Tibetan men who wanted to get rid of the Chinese. Today, in exile, as I pointed out, there is no such need. It has always been apparent to all that Tibetan men as well as women opposed the Chinese rule of their country. The Tibetn cause is the cause of all Tibetans, not exclusively of Tibetan men or of Tibetan women.

There were women’s organization in almost all countries of the world. But their purpose is to fight perceived discrimination against women by their own menfolk, not alien invaders. I’m sure any foreigner unfamiliar with our story will automatically assume when hearing about something called Tibetan Women’s Association that Tibetan women must be down trodden lot in their own society, most probably kept chained, indoors, barred from political and all other activities except cooking and producing children. This being far from the case, an organization like TWA actually gives a wrong image of the Tibetan society. There, I’ve said it now, knowing fully well that this action has brought my already dwindling chances of ever getting married to a conclusive nil.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Son of Kunsang Paljor??

Despite the introduction in 1963 of some of it’s external paraphernalia, Tibetan democracy is yet to come of age. The Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies, the most consciously democratic institution in the exiled Tibetan community has at it’s last public appearance failed to alter its image of being an impotent body-subservent, for all practical purposes to the dictates of the government. The expectations raised a few years agao when, for the first time, some young people with “modern education” were also elected in the Commission, have now been all but forgotten. The experience so far has shown that old world values and ideas continue to dominate the postitions of power in the Tibetan community even if some of the occupants of these positions happen to differ in age and educational background from their traditional counterparts.

Thus it was that we saw no improvement – not even a change of any kind – in the functioning of the Commission with the inclusion in its ranks of the Peking educated ex Communist cadre Kunsang Paljpr. The people also noted – some with concern some with glee and other disinterestedly – that Genyen Choedon and Deki Dolker, in spite of their much publicised “England returned” status, which at the time was automatically assume to make them different, blended into the mainstream establishment thinking without any visible effort. If these people – with their untraditional backgrounds – have made any significant contribution towards bringing the concept of Tibetan democracy any nearer to reality we are yet to be told about it. Ironically the only member of the Commission who can to date be credited with any efforts of going to the masses as something more than a government’s messenger boy was Thupten Jungney, a middle aged monk, outwards a classic symbol of theocratic power.

As of this month, a brand new Commission has come into office, and expectations have risen again among those Tibetans who have some notion of democratic ideas that we may really be in for some “action” this time. The reason for this restoration of faith is preponderantly new faces that have been elected to represent the people for the next three years. Even among it’s elder members there are some who are known to have disapproved of certain steps taken by the administration in the past. Moreover, there are no less than two young university graduates – Chodak Gyatso, Ngodup Tsering, the latter already having established a precedence of a sort by discarding the traditional Tibetan “modesty” and openly campaigning for his election even issuing a manifesto. To top it all, elected on the chair is Lodi Gyari, a former high ranking official in the administration, who had resigned due to disagreements in policy matters and has even since been looking critically to both the administration and the commission.

Judging from the recent public meetings inDelhi, the masses have also to a small (but significant in the Tibetan setting) degree started wondering whether it was wise on their part leaving the business of democracy entirely in the hands of the government and the Commission.

Despite all these happy augures, however, it is difficult to envisage any real change if three protagonist of the Tibetan democracy – the government, the Commission and the people – continue to uphold the tradition of hiding any kind of folly or incompetence behind the Dalai lama’s name. It should be obvious by now that the masses who are overawed into silence by the very mention of the name of their religious and tempral head have more respect for him than those individuals who drage him along indiscriminately and without the compunction everytime they have difficulty explaining something. IT is true that every imporatnt office bearer in Dharamsala has to be approved by the Dalai Lama before formally taking his office. But there is no logic in presuming that his makes him invincible from public criticism. The effect of this approval on the candidate should be infusion of a determination to prove himself worthy of this trust, not of a sense of price and arrogance, ready to be displayed whenever someone dares to question his integrity or competence. If the Dalai Lama’s approval guarantees his honesty and capability then it makes the institution of the Commision redudant, and nor would there then be any point in holding the annual general meetings, of the administration, where the Commission, acting on behalf of the people, is supposed to scrutinized the performance of the government.

As said above, the composition of the new Commission has raised the expectation of the people. If the Commission attempts to fulfill this expectation by taking resonsible members of the government to task whenever they appear to be acting contrary to the people’s wishes, and if the masses in turn show their approval of such proceedings then there is yet hope for a true Tibetan democracy. If however, they follow on the steps of their predecessors and continue to play a safe, symbolic role, and if there is no public outcry over it, then it can safely be concluded that we have not moved an inch since 1963. In that event, it would be best for the Tibetan people to stop all these hypocritical talks about democracy. The least they can do is have the courage to go up to their and say, “it was most kind of Your Holiness to give us this wonderful idea. But we don’t seem to be ready for it yet. So sorry.”
For the People, Bye the People - Sept-1988

Although the Strasbourge statement still remains the most important event in recent Tibetan history, we’ll have to let it simmer for a while, pending adefinitive response from Peking. Meanwhile back at the ranch, we had our first real election in six years. The election of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies may not be an earth shattering event at the moment. However, if the Stragbourge statement, or a variation of it, ever becomes a practical reality, then the Tibetan parliament will have a major role to play in shaping the destiny of the country.

Whatever course our foreign relations may take, the Dalai Lama has reaffirmed his faith in democracy as the system of running our internal affairs. Unfortunately, the majority of Tibetans still do not have a clue as to exactly what democracy means and what their MPs are supposed to do. Most those who have so far been elected—one way or another—to this august post are no exceptions. In general, they tend to view their elevation as a stepping stone to higher reaches. After five years in this cushy job, with free accommodation and reasonably good salaries and other perquisites, they can be certain of being reelected for at least one more term. Their visibility—notwithstanding their inactivity—makes the ordinary people think they are important and thus gives them a distinct advantage over obscure newcomers. Once out of office, if they wish, tey can be certain of a government post of at least the deputy secretary level. Regular government officials have to slog for years without approaching anywhere near that rank—unless they get a helping hand from someone above.

To secure their position, the deputies had decided right from the beginning that their election be subject to sealed approval from the Dalai Lama. This makes them invulnerable to any serious criticism because, as they lose no time pointing out, this would be tantamount to doubting the Dalai Lama’s trust.

That is why most Tibetan MPs, when dealing with the people they are supposed to represent, are officious, pompous and high-handed. Instead of challenging the government on important national issues, they spend their time discussing trivial matters such as discrepancies of a few rupees in this account or the stylistic shortcomings of that report. In their meetings, the length and volume of speeches count for more than substance.

If the new Assembly does nothing more than come to a proper understanding of its role in society and educates the people accordingly, it will have done more than all it’s predecessors put together.
In Celebration of the Ego

One cannot help wondering what China hoped to gain from the recent celebrations in Lhasa making the 20th anniversary of the founding of ‘Tibetan Autonomous Region’. The original idea undoubtedly was to reap publicity harvest from showing the world how happy and prosperous the Tibetans are and how grateful they are to the almighty Party. That motivation, however, disappeared as soon as the Chinese realized that Tibetans cannot be trusted to act ‘happy and prosperous’ when foreign newsman are wheeled in amongs them. The group of Peking-based correspondents who were treated to a preview of the coming festivities earlier failed to turn out reports favourable to China. Rather than risk a repeat performance of this after the number of journalists covering the event to a trusted few. As a result, the international media, even while reporting the Radio Peking and New China News Agency'’ description of the celebration, laid more stress on the fact that independent journalists were not permitted to attend this happy occasion.

So if favourably publicity outside was not the object of the whole exercise, could it have been aimed at appeasing the country’s population? There does not appear to have been much hope of that either judging from earlier reports of fressh rounds of arrests, deployment of additional troops and installation of machine guns on roof-tops.

The delegation from Peking is said to have brought a few hundred kilograms of tea, 90,000 digital clocks and 10,000 metres of silk for distribution among the people. If that is all it takes to placate even the 1.78 million, which the Chinese claim to be the Tibetan population, for 30 years of suppression, it is small wonder that totalitarianism, despite widespread opprobrium, continues to thrive in various parts of the world. Despots everywhere seem to need pompous, self-congratulatory celebrations to reassure themselves of the hold they have over the people. Only this can explain the festivities in Lhasa.
And Then There Were None

The next lot to represent us in the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies will be chosen without an election. While this procedure may satisfy the various groups who created it, one must not forget that the whole point of having a parliamentary institution is lost in the process. Neither can those who were afraid of receiving an unfair deal now afford to lay back in the safe knowledge that it is all in the capable hands of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama does not have a personal knowledge of the good and bad points of all 100,000 Tibetans in exile. He must at least to some extent depend on suggestions and recommendations from his close advisors. So, in effect, the representatives of the people will be chosen not by their consitituents but by some of those already in positions of power. If the Dalai Lama’s approval of the chosen candidates were sufficient to satisfy them, there was no need for any change to begin with: such approval was also given to candidates chosen in the previously tried forms of selection.

Thus all that the new procedure has achieved is sacrifice of the process of democratic election itself. When the Dalai Lama instructed us to try out this system, he must have thought it to be a more desirable system than the one that previously existed in our country. Now, on one hand, we are still saying he knows what is best for us; while, on the other, we are effectively—albiet humbly—suggesting he could be wrong there.

I, for one, still fail to see what significant gains or losses any section of us stand to experience by virtue of a particular person’s being elected or not elected to the Assembly. It is all a practice runs for the day when we once again have something we can call our own. So, instead of letting petty differences encumber us, why not try to practise this system properly? The more important thing, in my mind, that the Tibetan parliamentarians can do is to learn what exactly is a parliament all about. Tibetans have may friends among Indian members of parliament, both former and active. As soon as a new Assembly is sworn in such persons can be invited to give an informal talk to them (with the help of competent interpreters). Experts from Western democracies can also be invited to give them added food for though. We can carry on learning through the process of trial and error—but we should do so within the institutional framework, and not by, for all practical purposes, abolishing it.
Facts and Fiction

Despite glaring examples of native opposition to the Chinese rule in Tibet, some journalists insists on continuing to give Peking the benefit of the doubt. Most of the foreign correspondents who were on a week-long visit to Lhasa last month encountered people who told them that all Tibetans desire independence. However, this was not considered enough. The only acceptable proof would be seeing the entire population rise up in arms. Those who spoke against the Chinese were termed “dissidents” implying that the rest of the population does not share this feeling. On the other hand, statements coming from Chinese officials are considered facts. Thus they knew for a fact that 20,000 Chinese cadres in Tibet have recently been sent back to China. But they don’t know that an even higher number of soldiers have arrived to replace them, because this fact hasn’t been revealed to them by their hosts. Similarly they solemnly report that Tibet has received several hundred thousand dollars in state subsidy. It is immaterial that Tibetans themselves are curiously unaware of this act of generosity. No attempt has been made to find out if the subsidy actually did exist and, if it did, might it not have been in the form of payment to Chinese soldiers or something equally unproductive as far as the natives were concerned. It would seem quite possible that a certain amount of Chinese money has found it’s way into Tibet, but there is no evidence that Tibetans benefited from them. On the other hand, the journalists are never presented an account of how much Tibetan wealth, in various forms, have been taken to Peking. Some of the journalists, to their credit, have reported that to every boastful contradictory claim made by the Tibetans. But shouldn’t such style of reporting be the rule rather than the exception? Why is it that the Chinese claim of having given subsidy to Tibet is reported as fact while the Tibet claim of not having received any is deemed information not fit enough for print?
Chinese Checkers

We have our own Seoul in progress now. At last Peking has officially made its move after the Dalai Lama’s opening gamit in Stragbourg. And a clever move it is too. IT gives the impression of the Chinese are as concerned about the problem of Tibetans as the Dalai Lama is. However, studies carefully, their dark intentions become clearly visible.

Peking says the talks need not be held in the Chinese capital : the venue can be any of the Chinese embassies. It is well known that any accredited embassy is a sovereign territory of the country it represents. So there is no practical difference between this ‘concession’ and the earlier invitations to hold the talks in Peking.

The Strasbourg proposal as the basis for talks is not acceptable to China as it demands ‘a disguised form of independence.’ When the Dalai Lama announced the proposal in June, he fully anticipated strong opposition from many sections of the Tibetan community,; and he was proved right. However, he has assured his people that Stragbourge was the bottom line; no further compromise can be made from the Tibetan side. In other words, he has climbed down so much that there is nowhere else to go except up. So this has become another stumbling block to any further dialogue.

Most important of all, the Chinese does not talk to any delegation sent by the ‘Kashag government’, meaning the Tibetan government-in-exile. And they do not want to have any foreigner included to any delegation, probably referring to the Dutch lawyer who specialises in the status of Tibet in international law, whom the Tibetan government has named as the legal adviser to a delegation it has already formed. However, the Chinese still do not want to recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile. Throughout their offer, they specifically invite the Dalai Lama himself to talk to someone they designate. Thus they continue to try and project the question of Tibet as a personal quarrel between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese leadership. All they are interested in is asking the Dalai Lama privately, behind the closed doors of a Chinese embassy somewhere, what they can offer to lure the prodigal son back home.

This is against everything the Dalai Lama has stood for al along. To insist on this and to offer such undignified terms for ‘a dialogue’ is a vile and insufferable insult. No further Tibetan move should be made until Peking withdraws these undiplomatic conditions and is prepared to deal with the Dalai Lama only as the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile. It will be absolutely fatal for the Tibetans to view this move as something conciliatory. Because it is anything but that.
Branching out

Periodical demonstrations, press releases and memoranda are the stuff which have sustained Tibetan political life for the last 25 years. These say still keep us in the inside and back pages of newspapers for may more years. But, after a while, it can also become a bit of a drag for all concerned. True, we are in no position to be able to do much more ‘politically’. However, this need not deter us from exploring other—non-political—avenues where Tibetans can make their presence felt.

It is in this light that the recent collaboration between Tibetan and Thai Buddhists in a project for conservation of wildlife and natural resources should be seen as a laudable effort. Everybody agrees that conservation is an important work, ever it. Various campaigns for conservation are at work in many countries. If because of the Tibetan contribution this work can be speeded up and more people made aware of it, then surely this will also have the effect of bringing Tibetans into increased prominence. Demonstrating that you are a capable, decent people is much more effective than simply claiming to be so.

We cannot wage war against China; nor can we seriously ask another country to become actively involved in our struggle. What we can do is try to make a name for ourselves by emerging out of our shell and taking part in endeavours designed to help the entire world, not just ourselves. Thus Tibetans can make forays into the fields of the arts, sciences, literature, entertainment, and even sports of business. Of course we cannot immediately hope to be accepted as equals by other similarly engaged. However, it is not too early to attempt a beginning towards this end. Once our people have established themselves—like, for example, the Jews—as valuable members of the world communities, no amount of force can prevent us from being recognised as a separate race and rightful owners of our own homeland. And that is something we cannot see being achieved by demonstration and other political activities alone.
Politics of Religion (October, 1984)

A couple of years ago, shortly after the People’s Republic of China started sending delegates to International Seminars of Tibetologists, a convenor of one such meeting in New York prevented Tibetan observers from attending it. The explanation given was that potential rabble-rousers had no business to be mixing with dispassionate scholars.

Since then the same attitude seems to have permeated to organisers of religious conferences in general and Buddhist ones in particular. Interestingly enough, the emergence of this phenomenon is also accompanised by Chinese presence in these meetings. The recent Buddhist conferences in Colombo witnessed a scene of protest demonstration by the Chinese delegates when they found Tibetans also on the panel. Short afterwards, the World Conference of Religion for Peace in Nairobi faced disruption when the Chinese delegation sought to ban a speech containing references to the Dalai Lama’s contributions towards world peace and Chinese’s suppression of religious activities in the People’s Republic. The crisis was averted by deleting the offensive references from the speech.

While preparing for the First International Conference on Budhdism held this moth, the Indian hosts seem to have taken the necessary precautions to see that no ‘incident’ marred their efforts. Since it was not possible to ignore Tibetans completely, some of them were invited to attend as ‘individual’ scholars and were also quietly advised not to make their Tibetanness too conspicuous. The Dalai Lama, who has always been happy to attend any gathering of this kind was not invited. The proferred excuse that it was a religious and not a political meeting is far from adequate in view of the fact that he has so far never attended, nor expressed a desire to attend, any political meetings anywhere. On the other hand, many non political gatherings are known to have risen in prestige simply because of his celebrated presence.

All this because China has graciously decided to send their own experts in these fields. However, judg ing from the comments of some, of the participants, the contributions from these experts have of exactly broken new grounds. This fact leaves one with no choice but to view the fastididiousness surrounding the Chinese delegates itself as nothing but a political move. One wants to see how long it will be before it achieves the desired purpose of the organizers—whatever it may be.
Death Roll

We do not yet—and we may never—know the actual number of people arrested and executed by the Chinese authorities in Tibet during the last one month or so. The official announcement says two “criminals” have been executed while Tibetans sources claim 20 are known to have died so far for being ‘political activists.’

Two points should be kept in mind while reviewing the Chinese admission. First, they had to make some sort of admission since the news of the execution was confirmed by no less an authority than a foreign diplomat stationed in Lhasa and widely publicised by the international media. Still, it took them two weeks to do so. Secondly, the designation of the six executed—two Tibetans, three Chinese and a Manchu—as ‘convicted criminals’ should not rule out the possibility of their being something else. Anybody who opposes the Chinese rule, for instance, of course, always gets convicted as a criminal. As to the inclusion of non-Tibetans among the victims, we only have Peking’s word for that. Tibetan reports claim that all those executed were their compatriots. Even the Nepalese diplomat’s version has two more Tibetans than does the official announcement. By calling four of them non-Tibetans, Peking might have hoped to show that those executed were really criminals and not political activists as charged by the Tibetans. On the other hand, it is possible that there were really only two Tibetans lined up for execution, and four Chinese were added simply to make it look like a mixed bunch of criminals. Countless past instances exist to prove the Chinese communist ability of staging such ‘real-life drama.’

All right then, let us drop this bickering attitude and take the Chinese statements as the gospel truth: only two Tibetans were executed. The charges against them-gun running, robbery and resisting arrest. Several questions immediately arise: whose guns were they in the first place that were being clandestinely carted around? Who were robbed by the alleged criminals? And of what possessions? Why did not they surrender upon discovery if they were common criminals and assured of a fair trial instead of resorting to a course of action that would have signed their own death warrants even in a free society? It will be interesting to see how long the Chinese authorities will take to dust off their files and provide answers to these questions.
Norms of Civilized Behaviour

The convenor of a recent New York seminar on Tibetan studies decided that Tibetan observers had no business to be there, the idea being to keep the conference “non-political.” This probably means she feared Tibetans would start shouting slogans and throwing rotten tomatoes as soon as the Chinese delegates appeared on the stage. It was the Chinese gentleman’s second conference of this nature and I believe on both occasions the Tibetans who were present behaved themselves very properly. However, it is possible the convenor’s anthropoligical work has revealed that Tibetans who have not formed the habit of delivering papers at scholarly gatherings are still at the primitive stage of their evolution and hence given to unprovoked barbarian acts without advance notice.

Although our special correspondent did not manage to send much details about the episode, many participants to the seminar in the meantime have filled us in. For instance, we know that the local Tibetans threw a party for all the delegates on the last night of the conference. Everyone turned up including the Chinese delegate and his lady companion who, incidentally, could only be described as an “observer” since she did not deliver any papers. (She could, however, have been the official photographer as she was seen busily clicking away with her camera at everyone who spoke.) The convenor, possibly to keep away from a violent fracas, did not care to attend the party. She must have been rather disappointed to learn afterwards that the two unprotected Chinese were not molested or abducted or gang-raped or sacrificed before a photograph of the Dalai Lama or anything of the kind.

Anyway, one fails to see the logic behind the need to keep away any “serious” discussion on Tibet “non-political.” If an endless argument was feared, those present could have been warned beforehand that the question time must not be abused with matters not directly pertaining to the papers read; in which event any observer who persisted in doing so could, with approval from all, be show the exit.

If political question did turn up in connection with the papers presented, what was the harm in answering them? Why was it assumed that other participants would not be interested? After all, the purpose of forming the International Association for Tibetan Studies must have been attempt a deeper understanding of all aspects of Tibet—not just its arts, culture religion and non-political part of history.

One cannot help getting the impression that the real reason for the exclusion of Tibetan observers from the seminar was political. If bending over backwards to please Peking—which was what she appeared to be doing as far as many other participants were concerned—is not politics, what is it then? Think about it along with other facts, such as that the Chinese delegate stayed at her residence in New York before and after the conference. Also, earlier in the year she was able to get a trip to China (where she may have been given a few pointers on how to run a good seminar). What is she aiming at now? Does a trip to Tibet sound too uninspired a guess? Or perhaps, having spent so many years studying barbarians Tibetans, she finds her increasing contact with the civilized Chinese a refreshing change. If that is the case, all we can say is good luck to her.
A Piece of Irresponsible Journalism? (October, 1981)

Every now and then materials appearing in this journal seem to give unintended offence to various readers. The lattest to do so is the news report entitled “Refugee Schools May Come Under Tibetan Administration” from our May 1981 issue. Some of the Indian heads of the Central Schools for Tibetan have tended to see the piece as a malicious personal attack on them. The editor, who also happens to be the publisher of this journal and the author of that particular item, has received more than one threat of libel suit.

The sentence cited as defamatory appears around the middle of the report and reads as follows: “Some of the school heads are notorious for raping girl students, corruption and administrative ineptitudenss.” Now that the legal counsels of the offended parties have pointed out to me, the sentence taken by itself does appear a bit strong. However, I believe that if the entire report is studied properly it will become clear that no attempt at defamation has been made. It has reported a fact—that Tibetans wish to run these schools themselves. The rest of the item deals with the reasons why they feel the need for this change. In other words, this section is made up of what they feel or what they say they feel, not of concrete verifiable facts. And it has prefexed with the following sentence: “Although Rikha (Secretary of the Tibetan Education Council, the only person quoted in the report) was reluctant to admit to this reporter, it is generally believed among Tibetans—students, teachers, as well as rest of refugee community—that administrative mismanagement is almost entirely to be blamed for the poor performance of the Tibetan schools.”

In restrospect, I think if there was any breach of journalistic practice committed, it was in my failure to begin each and every sentence with “Tibetans say” or some similar phrase. The matter of rape cases, corruption and administrative ineptitudeness were mentioned not as facts known to the reporter but as rumours heard in the Tibetan community. I believe the reporting of these facts (what the Tibetans say) was necessary as reasons for the Tibetan wish to run the CTSA schools, a piece of news that would be of interest of sufficient number of our readers. I have no means of ascertaining the veracity of these allegations unless I resort to the practically impossible course of spending an extended period of time in each of the schools. I don’t think a short visit to one or two of the schools will be sufficient for this purpose. If I were taken round a school during such a visit, I shall most certainly not witness scenes of rape or misuse of offices; and this will not prove or disprove anything.

I might add here that Tibetans also talk of shortcomings (real or imagined) of some of their own people involved with the running of these schools; and also that they have nothing but praise for some of the Indian teachers. But that particular item of news was not the place to talk about these. It was not a general feature on Tibetan schools, but a topical report on the Tibetan attempt to takeover these schools and, naturally, the reason for this.

I am sorry if some people have misunderstood the intention of that report and hope that this clarification has helped set their at ease.
Mythical leniency

Barring intervention of miracle, the deportation to Chinese- occupied Tibet of 4000 Tibetan refugees in Bhutan seems imminent. Repeated please to make Thimpu restore the pre-1974 situation when the Tibetans in the kingdom were considered peace loving and law abiding members of the society have bounced off stonewalls. Nor is there yet any sign that India will allow them to enter this country. According to available reports. Bhutan is determined to “expel” the refugees from their present settlements. Even if they are not directnly sent back to Tibet, the best that can happen to them is being scattered in the bleak remote areas near the Bhutan Tibet border and left, without any facilities for starting anew, to their own devices Bhutan obviously knows that refugees cannot last long in a region which offers little opportunity for earning a decent living – and, that too under an openly hostile government. It is only a question of time before the refugees decide it may be wise to take a chance across the border.

Even if that happens many people of the world may feel this is not an overly disconcerning incident. In fact, somw will definitely try to propagate that the Tibetan problem is aproaching a solution now. After all, words have been out for sometime that the new leaders of China are moderate, pragmatic, liberal and what not. We will be reminded that they have not only admitted that past policy on Tibet was wrong, but was magnanimous enough to apologise to us on behalf of the actual culprits – the Gang of Four.

4000 is a sizable proportion of the Tib population, and their deportation will obviously mean a major setback in our struggle for freedom. Lest some of our compatriots also begin to feel that a “benevolent” Chinese rule is better than perpetual exile and uncertainty, it is necessary to see briefly exactly how free the Tibetan in Tibet have become because of the ‘moderate’ and ‘lenient’ policies of China.

Release of some of the Tibetan arrested in 1959 have been announced with much fanfare. However, as one of these former prisoners told reporters in New Delhi, all it means is those who were in small prisons have been transferred into the larger prison where the rest of the Tibetan population is incarcerated. Visiting Tibetan have indicated that the actions and speeches of the released prisoners are still entirely controlled by the rulers.

Putting up a few more Tibetan in the administrative organs means little in an administration where all decisions are made in Peking and the functions of the so-called local government is restricted to implementing those decisions.

Some cases of Tibetan visiting relatives in Nepal and India have been reported, but other members of those families have always been held back in Tibet. There has not been a single case where an entire family was allowed to leave the country.

Some of the visitors have brought back address of relatives of their friends in exile and recent months many letters have been exchanged between relative in Tibet and outside. However, one can be sure that censors in Peking take care of anything ‘anti-peole’ or ‘counter revolutionary’ in their contents before passing them on to the addresses.

To be quite fair, let us admit there is about 1 per cent chance that Chinese leaders are genuinely beginning to be concerned with the welfare of their subjects. But the Tibetan outside cannot afford to be too optimistic about it. It is our duty to look for traps and loopholes in any gesture of friendship that comes from China. God knows there are enough so-called ‘objective’ observers around ever ready to give Peking the benefit of the doubt. They look at Tibet from business angles and political considerations. We have to continue to look at it with wellbeing of six million people and the survival of a weak nation, race and civilization in mind.

With this perspective we can’t yet offer our hands to be shaken by the Peking leaders. Even if Chinese are allowing a little bit of real freedom to the Tibetan, it is not good enough reason for us to feel gratitude towards them. Off course, there is always the possibility that Peking has begun to regard Tibet as a liability and are gradually working out a face-saving device before pulling out. For this reason we must try to reach them—but only with a telegraph pole, and taking care never to surrender on advantages.
Eye of the Beholder

On the surface at least things are now moving quite fast. Last month the Chinese announced that they are willing to hold talks with the Dalai Lama anywhere he chooses. This month the Tibetan side proposed not only the venue—Geneva, but also the date—January next. At press time there has been no official response from Peking. However, there is no reason to suspect that the Chinese will find either the venue or the date objectionable.

Anything else is far from certain. The Chinese have said that they do not recognise the Tibetan government-in-exile and that the Stragbourg proposal cannot become the basis for talks. However, the Tibetan negotiating team is composed of high ranking members of the government. And it is prepared to talk only on the basis of the Strasbourg proposal.

Not only that. The Dalai Lama has promised his people that there will be no further concessions from our side. At the moment the Tibetans are divided on the Dalai Lama’s proposal : some think he should not have given up the demand for independence so easily: others agree with their leader that this is the only realistic approach. However, if this “realism” is further extended in Geneva, more Tibetans are bound to feel let down. What more can the Tibetans be expected to give up? Allowing large parts of Kham and Amdo to remain under Chinese control, for instance, will never be acceptable to the inhabitants of those regions.

One should always keep in mind two important details in the Strasbourg document. First, the final decision on whether or not to accept any proposal will be made by a referendum among the Tibetans. Secondly, the Tibetan side will hold talks only to work out details on how this proposal might be implemented. There is no question of devising some new formula.

On the other hand, Peking has not made any concessions at all from her side. The willingness to talk with the Dalai Lama and letting him choose the venue—despite the ecstatic reaction of the Tibetan government—are not concessions on the issue at hand. And there is no sign that they will make any concessions as far as Tibet as a nation is concerned. They are still thinking in terms of “negotiations on the Dalai Lama’s return,” not the future status of Tibet. It is clear that Peking and Dharamsala see the Tibetan issue as two very different things. It is anybody’s guest what they will find to talk about in Geneva.
Musical Chairs (November, 1984)

Although the pay is nothing to write home about, the employees the Tibetan Government-in-exile lead an exciting, adventurous and suspenseful life. You may at the moment be a nine-to-five clerical staff, but after the next juggling of positions, you are quite likely to find yourself at the head of an agricultural settlement, or managing a hotel, or selling carpets, or holding the position of a peon, or anything. No use complaining that you feel qualified for and find satisfaction in a certain type of work. Either you bow to the decision made by the Personnel Department in Dharamsala and face the new challenge, or else would you please shut the door as you leave.

The Personnel Department, besides the regular staff, consists of a representative from each of the main offices of the Central Tibetan Secretariat. They meet at regular intervals behind closed doors, spread out a list of people who are due for promotion, demotion or transfer, and—apparently—throw a dice. The regulation book says that all employee of the Tibetan administration are subject to be transferred or promoted once very three years. But even this basic rule, in practice does not seem to be strickly adhered to be transferred or promoted once every Tuesday and Friday. A few cases exist of such practices resulting in commendable changes, but surely these are accidental. Two recent cases affecting people personally known to me are more typical. Both are in Delhi and both noted for efficiency in their present positions. One has been acting as a sort of general public relations officers, constantly dashing around the city meeting mediamen and VIPs. The other has been managing a carpet exporting firm with considerable expertise. A recent decision has transferred both of them—the former to the Department of Health in Dharamsala, and the latter to a vague desk job in another office in Delhi. Both are understandably dejected since they have been enjoying their current positions, something you can’t say about all employees of a bureaucracy.

And the new positions they have been assigned to in no way constitute recognition of their current performances. The former is famous for not having the slightest interest in his own health, let alone those of other members of the human race. The later, after years of running around, had come to believe that at last he has found his vacation, or destiny, or whatever you want to call it. Once can’t blame him for being slightly bewildered when, all of a sudden, he has been asked to do pretty much what he first did when he left school about a dozen years ago. The ladies and gentlemen in the Personnel Department should not be too surprised if these two employees, instead of rushing off to report to duty at their new posts, send them politely worded letters requesting ‘an extended leave of absence.’ Such things have happened in the past and will continue to happen in future unless the Tibetan administration rolls out a new set of policies concerning its employees.
The justness of a cause

Sometimes the pity and sympathy directed towards Tibetan exiles seem to be misplaced. They are the lucky ones. They live in freedom, with reasonable amount of choice as to how they spend the rest of their lives. True, many of them had to leave their valuables behind, but in a large number of such cases, it probably served them right. Moreover, with what they could bring out, they were still better off than the masses. The only difference they experienced over the years is that an increasing proportion of the latter have begun to compete with them in terms of wealth and social status. Aided by various governmental and voluntary organisations, the Tibetan refugees, on the whole have done remarkably well for themselves.

Outsiders also realize this fact, but they tend to view it with the wrong perspective. When Tibetans in exile demand freedom for Tibet, they are often asked whether they will return home if freedom is granted. Seeing their apparent affluence and adaptibility it is felt that they are doing better here than they probably would back in Tibet. It is quite certain that most of the Tibetans exiles would want to go to a free Tibet, if only see how they get on there before deciding whether to set up permanent residence. But this is not the important point.

Even if none of the Tibetans desire to return home it does not make any difference. The struggle for the freedom of Tibet will remain a just cause since it is waged for the sake of the majority of Tibetans who are trapped in their own former homes. Rescuing them from this misery is what the Tibetan struggle for independence is all about. Tibetan exils continue to spearhead this movement because they are more familiar with the actual situation in Tibet than anyone else. They have their friends and relatives among that unfortunate lot and for whom they naturally feel more than a little concern.

It should be kept in mind that the Tibetan cause will remain just even if the exiles don’t feel particular concern for their compatriots. The Chinese have no right to be in Tibet—let alone as rulers. Tibetan both in and out of Tibet have every right to resent this unlawful intrusion. There is no way they should be allowed to get away with this. And since the Tibetans in Tibet helpless prisoners, it is the inescapable duty of those in exile to keep on fighting for this cause and attracting world sympathy—not for themselves, but for the ones who are left behind, and for what was once a free nation.
Clearing the Mist (November, 1982)

Some people, particularly a number of high ranking officials in Dharamsala, are reportedly speculating on the motive behind our decision to publish the article “Suggestions from Controversial Tibetan” in our last issue. Although no formal letter to the editor has been received on this point specifically, the following explanations is given in the hope that it will save them from being puzzled if other materials offensive to them appear in these pages in future.

The ‘motive’ for publishing that item, quite simply, was exactly the same as the one for publishing any other item in that or any other issue of this journal, i.e. to make available to our readers all the available facts on every aspect of Tibet. The fact in this case is that there is a Tibetan exile whose views are somewhat different from those held by the rest of the community. Since these views were made available to us we felt it our duty to pas them on to our readers. We could not possibly suppress them just because most of our readers were like to disagree with them. The disappearance of freedom of expression is, after all, one of the reasons why we have chosen to leave our homeland and live in exile.

As readers are aware, we have often published even views of the Chinese government, both in their own words and via their champions in the free world. In the same spirit we gave space to rejoinders, and conterrejoingers, which we believe have helped the protagonists as well as the passive readers to arrive at a clearer understanding of the issues raised. If views that are likely to give offense to somebody are prevented from reaching a larger audience, there wold also be no opportunity for presenting the opposite viewpoints; and thus no opportunity for holders of the two views to understand each other more fully in a civilized manner—without having to resort to physical violence, a form of activity which is seldom known to have achieved much good. For this reason, despite the risk of recurrent displeasure in certain quarters, our editorial policy will remain unchanged.
The Honourable Beggars

The donations made by the Tibetans in Switzerland towards a staff medical fund for the Tibetan Government in exile is the most commendable gesture coming from any Tibetan community for some time. With my own six years experience of working in Dharamsala and continuing contact with it, I can without hesitation that the Tibetan administration staff is the most deserving section of the exiled community for such aids. It is to be hoped that other Tibetans settled in affluent societies will also think of coming forward with such practical means of showing their support to the common struggle.

Of course, there are criticism—many of them rightly deserved—against the functionin g of the government and against some of its staff. However, that should not be seen as rejection of the institution of government in exile. To my mind no Tibetan has ever said that his grievances would end if this institution is dissolved. Although there is ample room for improvement in it, the fact cannot be ignored though, but for its existence, the good work done in the last two decades in establishing settlements, schools and means of livelihood exclusively for Tibetan refugees would be difficult to visualise. Everyone knows about the existence of the Tibetan government-in-exile and knows that when it comes to dealing with the question on Tibet, this is the most authoritative institution to turn to. In effect, we have a government here, and it is recognised at least unofficially by all concerned—including Peking.

Thus the importance of the people who many organisation cannot be over-emphasised and it’s time ways are devised to attract more capable person there by making their lives slightly more decent and secure. True, nobody joins the Tibetan government to make money, but this does not mean that they are forever be expected to live the lives of ascetics. Substantial rise in salaries may not be possible at the moment. But Gangchen Kyishong, where the central offices are located, can be turned into a more attractive place to live in without involving a great deal of money and effort.

The Finance Office, for instance would do well to remember that the purpose of the staff canteen should not be to make money for the administration. Of course, the canteen will make a loss if the quality of food there is improved, but this is precisely the kind of losses the administration should be willing to accept. I suspect someone does not realize that “financing the administration” and making life better for its staff are not really two separate things.

The same logic also seems to be responsible for the practice of deducting two per cent of the staff salary as ‘voluntary’ tax. The administration agrees that its pay scale barely crosses the poverty line. What then is the point of taking a further slice from it? To the administration the amount thus collected is almost insignificant but to the individual employee it represents two per cent of his total income out of which he has to meet all his expenses.

For the young people, who every year become an increasing proportion of the staff, there is also an acute need for a place of recreation—with perhaps a library and facilities for various indoor games and social get togethers—where the young staff, after a hard day of patriotism, can relax and enjoy life in ways natural to their age. Not long ago, a large hall, said to be for such purposes, was inaugurated; it is now exclusively used for serious meetings, and any suggestion of using it for recreation is likely to be considered sacriligious.

And lastly, something should also be done about the prevailing fallacy that the nearness of the day of independence is directly proportional to the number of man-hours spent in the Dharamsala offices. Addition of Saturday afternoons to the small number of existing holidays will, instead of having adverse effect on the performance of the staff, quite possibly result in increased efficiency.
Good Morning! Here’s the headlines: the US Congress has authorized 1.5 millions dollars in humanitarian aid to Tibetans, While the senate put more pressure on the government to do something about the human rights situation in Tibet: China appears to have retaliated by denying Tibet visas to two important senators: uprising day observed in unlikely places like Warsaw and Kathmandu: support for Tibet grows in Canadian and Lithuanian parliament: a Belgian minister cancels trip to Tibet: an Italian MP stands up for China: Finns shows interests in Tibetan religion while Israelis probe its traditional healing methods.

So, crowded within a space of one month there have been quite an international lineup of events focused on what many still regard as an unimportant corner of the world. And all this in the wake of the UN debacle which some thought would result in gradual easing out of Tibet from the international scene. Even Tibetans in Tibet are reported to be highly dismayed by the failure at the UN. There were dark visitors of Tibetans being left to their own pitiable devices after all these years of hard work in winning friends and influencing people. Fortunately, continuing events seem to prove this foreboding wrong. We still have friends in high places as well as among the general public. And the numerical strength seems to be growing rather than diminishing despite the failure of the UN resolution. It is as if everyone is saying, no UN support for Tibet, so what?

So this. Although the world body appears to be a useless institution as far as our problem go, it is from there the ultimate pressure on China to end their presence in Tibet will have to come. We can go on making friends anywhere we can but abandoning the work at UN level is not necessary or even advisable. The two ends are not at cross-purposes and are in fact complementary. Developing support at the grass-roots level means aiming for support from their elected leaders since the general public can hardly be expected to march into occupied Tibet for us. What they can do is try and convince their elected leaders that supporting the Tibetan causes is right thing to do. Once those elected leaders are sufficiently convinced, it still does not mean that they will declare war on China; it means that they will add their voices to the chorus which is being rehearsed to sing the Tibetan tune.

The silver lining in the recent UN cloud is that it demonstrated how strongly the Tibet supporters believe in the CAUSE. The failure of the resolution has not disheartened them. Far from thinking that they are wasting time on a foolish errand, they have renewed their efforts. It is important for the Tibetans to see this clearly and carry on contributing their bits wherever they are. If they lose courage and seem tired of working for the ultimate goal, then the supporters are liable to be thrown into confusion. That time—if it comes to pass—will be more dangerous for us than the recent sitting of the UN commission. Our position at the moment is clear. With few individual exceptions, both the government and the people want full independence restored to our country. SO if we can keep to the straight and the narrow, the future outlook is far from gloomy.
A Grand Illusions

With all the heavy duty news coverage of Tibetan affairs which began in November and is still continuing, one would have thought all the traditional about the subject have been clearedup. But misconceptions no, that was hoping for too much. It seems. Two items in the papers last month showed how short the editorial memory is.

When the Chinese announced, via the Panchen Lama, the Dalai Lama will be permitted to live in Tibet—opposed to being restricted to Peking—provided he stops talking about independence, there was much excitement in the air. There were unsolicited advices to the Tibetan leader to grab this opportunity since independence, after all, is an ‘unrealistic’ goal. This assumption nicely led up to the second item—Dalai Lama’s statement about ‘compromise within a year,’ which stunned the Tibetan exile community into utter incredulity. As far as many newspapers are concerned, it’s all in the bag now the Dalai Lama has given up demanding independence and, within a year, the two sides will work out a formula whereby he can return to Lhasa.

All protestations by the Dalai Lama in the past, that the question is not about where he will be allowed to live but the ‘maximum happiness of the Tibetan,’ have been conveniently shelved. None of his published statements have over mentioned the word ‘independence,’ but stressed on the desire of the majority of the Tibetans. His followers, of course, find it difficult to believe that ‘maximum happiness’ will result from anything less than total independence from China. Nonetheless, it is important to note that ‘independence’ does not figure anywhere in the Dalai Lama’s five point peace proposal either, although it has been universally hailed by all Tibetans as well as their well-wishers. It is clear that when the Dalai Lama talks about ‘compromise’ he means this proposal. As for the 12-month deadlines, who knows he may have reasons to believe that the Chinese will accept the proposal within that period.

So nothing has changed. There is no need for the Tibetan community to panic, non need for anyone to think the five-point proposal has been abandoned. That still remains the bargaining chip from the Tibetan side. And there is certainly no need for anyone to be sidetracked by Chinese efforts at misrepresenting the whole issue.
Golden Child

At an informal talk in New York last November I solemnly predicted that the media attention received by Tibet in 1959 will only be matched on the day it regains independence. Recently I have been too busy eating those words to join the media celebration over Osel Torre, the two years old Spanish boy who has been recognised as the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk named Thubten Yeshi. I don’t think there has been any news paper or magazine of any size in any language, in any part of the world, which did not devote some space to this phenomenon. Why then “the foremost journal on Tibetan affairs,” as we are never tired of calling ourselves, is maintaining this inscrutable silence? Since this observation seems to be troubling some of our faithful readers, a brief explanation is in order.

When I first heard the news—forgive me—I didn’t think it was all that important (That’s what happens if you go to America to be trained as a journalist.) In the Tibetan world, discovery of a reincarnation somewhere or other is such a regular occurrence that only the nationally important ones are regarded as 6 O’clock News material. If the Tibetan Review has to report every discovery, there won’t be much space left for anything else.

The late Thupten Yeshi did an admirable job of teaching Buddhism to Westerners and he is rightly venerated by his disciples. It is also possible—although not strictly necessary—for such a person to be reborn as a son of one of these disciple. However, they should not be offended if the same kind of veneration is not forthcoming from the Tibetans. For them Thubten Yeshi was not as important as many other lamas, and indeed these lamas may not be as important as Thubten Yeshi to his disciples. Similarly, other groups of Western Buddhists have their own Tibetan masters whom they regard as of paramount importance.

It is sufficient that Yeshi’s disciples are satisfied with the choice of Osel Torre, and the matter should have been allowed to rest there. Unfortunately, the disciples chose to build up a media image of him as one of the most important lamas. And look what happened! Some Tibetans could not take it lying down and spoke their minds to inquisitive journalists.

The paper then gave the impression that there is some sort of power struggle between Tibetans and Westerners at the Nepal headquarters of the world wide Buddhist centres founded by the late teacher. There is no such thing, for the simple reason that there is no Tibetan pretender to this particular throne.

The whole exercise created sensational and inaccurate headlines, such as : “Baby boy in Spain to be worshipped in Tibet.” Or reports that the child is propelled to “one of the highest seats of Tibetan Buddhism today,” that he is “a senior Tibetan Lama,” that “the Dalai Lama was to perform the puja (at his enthronement)m” that “none from the Dalai Lama’s secretariat was present during the ceremony, which is obligatory,” and that Osel Torres is “the first Western reincarnated high Lama” for whose long life “the high priests of Mahayana Buddhism have begun sacred prayers.”

Some of the papers said the Dalai Lama himself conducted the tests to confirm the reincarnation. It would be physically impossible for the Dalai Lama to perform tests on each and every one of the multitude of reincarnations presented to him for his blessings. He only conductst tests on top-level reincarnations, such as his own two tutors, the reincarnation of one of whom has not yet been discovered despite four years of intensive search. This is not unusual. In fact one of the few accurate newspaper descriptions of the child could very well be that he is “the youngest lama in the world”.

Some of the highest ranking and best known Tibetan lamas have passed away in exile and the reincarnations discovered. Hardly any of them ever received a passing mention in the conventional press. The reason is that their parents and disciples would never think it necessar that they should also be media celebrities. It is also not true that Osel Torre is the first Western child to be recognised as the reincarnation of a Tibetan Lama. We know of the existence of at least four others who preceded him. Newspaper reporters have never heard of them and consequently, neither have their readers. Guess now?
Chuba and Dagger

The item in an Indian newspaper, about the Tibetan refugee community being infiltrated by foreign agents, is likely to be received with wide spread resentment. The reporter does not produce a shred of evidence to support his theory. And what little arguments he puts forward are transparently ill-founded. For instance, he says that some years ago many Tibetans were expelled from Bhutan on suspicion of being Chinese spied. In fact, all concerned parties were in agreement that time that the event resulted from refusal on part of the Tibetans in Bhutan to submit to forced naturalization. Not surprisingly, therefore, the story is not being grabbed eagerly by other national and international media, and there are no banner headlines proclaiming further details on The Great Tibetan Spy Scandal.

The writer could legitimately have speculated on the possibility of there being foreign agents among Tibetan refugees, instead of acting as if there are known cases but ignored by authorities. Such a possibility cannot at all be ruled out given the number of ‘escapees’ or ‘visitor’ from Tibet over the past two decades. It is also more logical to inside information on Tibetan refugee activites rather than to steal Indian defence secrets. The latter assumption rests on the totally implausible implication that Indian defence secrets are within easy reach of all Tibetan refugees. Such an access would be possible only if one is well ensconsed in the Indian Defence establishements.

One of the functions of the Security Office of Tibetan government-in-exile is supposed to be to ferret out such moles from our community. We do not—and quite rightly—know exactly how its officials go about doing this. However, to our untrained eyes, they seems to be more concerned about whether Tibetans eat beef or drink chang than whether any of them are engaged in activities harmful to other Tibetans. Let us hope they realize that such persons would hardly go around wearing T-shirts saying ‘I am a Chinese spy’, and that they are more likely to be generally accepted in the society and held to be a partiotic as the next man.

And so, let us also hope that the inept piece of journalism we have referred to at least will have the effect of making the Tibetan intelligence service—what there is of it—more alert and vigilant.
Whither Tibetan Refugees?

The statement that Tibetans who fled their homeland after Chinese occupation are not refugees is so patently absurd that it does not deserve our attention—except for one thing: it was made by no less a supposed authority on the subject than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. One cannot help but wonder what he considers them to be instead. My old and battered, although still faithful and reliable, copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a refugees as a “person escaped to foreign country from religion or political persecution.” With regard to Tibet there is no need to quote less important or less reliable pronouncement ; the United Nations itself on three separate sessions of its General Assembly has declared Tibetans to be victims of genocide. Now, how can one be a victim of genocide without suffering from religious and political persecution? And what other reason can the High Commissioner offer for Tibetans in thousand leaving their homeland at grave risk to their lives? It is clear that he holds on to the fashion popularised during Jimmy Carter’s US Presidency that violation of human rights only occur in Russian-held territories and everybody else, especially a sworn enemy of the USSR, cannot be faulted on this count.

If the High Commisioner had a slightly better grasp of the Sino Tibetan affairs, he would have put the Tibetans in a spot by qualifying his statement as applying only to the current state of things, to wit, the case of the Tibetan exiles who are visiting their relatives, but is is understood that a large number of the visits are purely for the purposes of business. The Chinese also readily oblige them with travel documents since they are required to re-register themselves as “overseas Chinese.”

Citing these as examples, the High Commissioner would have been quite justified in declining to regard the Tibetans as refugees because a they are calling themselves overseas Chinese and b) if they are able to travel in and out of their country so easily, it leaves hardly any ground for us to complain that there is persecution and oppression in Chinese held Tibet. Of course, most of use are in no doubt that Peking has started this policy as a temporary measure and to give just that impression. But how can we legally prove this until it is too late, where as legal proos are being provided by the Tibetans themselves to support the Chinese claim?

In the past, when a negligible fraction of the Tibetan population in exile accepted financial aid from Taiwan, there was a great deal of hue and cry about damage to our ‘cause’. Now, an increasing number of people are accepting financial aid—albiet indirectly—from Peking, and all we can do is look around helplessly. And indeed there is little else we can do as our government in exile has no real power. It is for the individual himself to realize the consequences of his action. Surely, if he took time off from thinking about petty gains for a moment, he should be able to see that it is not impossible for his selfishness to eventually create a situation which could compel all Tibetans to end their exile. Can he sincerely see himself continuing to enjoy the benefits derived from his business acumen once that happens?
The case of the confused ministers

It is now fairly certain that the Tibetan government-in-exile wishes to open a bureau in Peking. What is not equally clear is the intended purpose of that office. Dharamsala’s stubborn silence on this matter is highly ominous. If the office is to be of obvious benefit to the Tibetans, they would surely have trumpeted the details as loudly as possible instead of trying to play down any leakage or rumour. On the other hand, if no advantage is seen in it, there would be no negotiation of this kind in the first place. It is difficult to believe that high-ranking Tibetan officials would be gallivanting about in this fashion purely for the self-gratification of a few individuals. So, using the famous Sherlockian logic we arrive at the deduction that our honourable ministers themselves have scant ideas of what they are doing; and have chosen to hide this fact behind a veil of secrecy.

This theory also fits in nicely with the Cabinet’s method of functioning in general. It has always tried to keep away from the people—its own as well as others—anything of slightest importance that emerges in their dealings with China. People naturally get slightly apprehensive as these matters affect their future. When some people offer well-intentioned advices they are regarded with suspicion. When someone tries to throw some light on the matter on his own initiative, his moves are again blocked by the official wall. Perhaps they are concerned that their own importance may thereby be demeaned.

Even the slight hope entertained by us in recent years when some younger people began to achieve high offices has now bee dashed as this does not seem to make any difference. Many suggest the theory that only those who have no intention of changing the status quo reach that precious ladder. One cannot help but shudder at the vision of a future independent Tibet run as a continuation of the present system.
The Enemy Within

Regionalism continues to be the main disease afflicting the Tibetan society in exile. Whether or not the restoration of our independence is at sight—and more particularly if it is—unity of the entire Tibetan people is of vital importance. Mankind is famous for forgetting the lessons of history—and Tibetans are no exception. By now majority of them are educated after a fashion, and one would imagine they are aware of enormous pain and suffering caused to each other by separate groups of the same people in other societies. The unsavoury incidents which followed the independence of India and creation of Bangladesh are perhaps two example of most familiar to Tibetans. Such events should have demonstrated to them that in the absence of total unity, even if we managed to drive away the Chinese one day, we may only find outselves at each other’s throats for reasons which should not have been there in the first place. It is difficult to see what special profit or pleasure one can derive from describing oneself as a U-pa, a Khampa or a Amdo rather than as a plain Tibetan.

While we remain in exile, regionalism does not pose that much threat to our internal peace, as being guests of a foreign country, we will, mercifully, not be permitted to indulge in wanton acts of mutual destruction for whatever holy reason. Neither the feeling of regionalism all-pervasive. On the contrary, the problem exists only because of one or two small groups which form a negligible percentage of the exiled population, Tibetans from central Tibet vastly outnumber those from Kham and Amdo. This is because it was easier to escape from regions nearest to the Indian border than from the interior; and most of the Khampa and Amdos who did manage to escape in and after 1959 are those who were at that time residing in central Tibet. Considering this fact, there is quite a fair representation of Khampas and Amdos in exiled government al along its hierarchy starting from the Cabinet level.
California Dreamin’II: The judgement Day

Now that the US Tibetan Resettlement Project has finally taken off the ground, it is coming under flak from many quarters, and not only from Tibetans.

All these criticisms seem to be based on sincere concern for the future of Tibetan identity. Some seem to fear that the ‘American Tibetans’ will soon dissolve in the infamous melting pot which will have the effect of supplementing the Chinese immigration policy in Tibet. Others find it repugnant that Tibetan government employees and teachers are also among those seeking their fortune in the decadent West. They are having nightmares at the prospect of empty offices and teacherless classes.

All these adverse reactions have come in only after the project was finalised and all that was left to do was to get 1,000 Tibetan physically moved from India and Nepal to the United States. When the project was first announced Tibetans generally greeted it as a flood of Californian sunshine; everybody I know wanted to bask in it. After all, this is exactly the sort of thing most Tibetans—most people in the underdeveloped world—wanted, especially if you have not done all that well here. When people actually started to queue up—no, throng—for the application forms, the Californian sunshine suddenly turned into Dharamsala monsoon.

The portrayal of those leaving for the US as crass villains is more than slightly unjustified. Those who worried that their transference from India to the USA will put an irreparable dent on the Tibetan cultural heritage have cause to worry more in the coming years. The project envisages reunion of these pioneer settlers with their families. This, coupled with indigenous birth, will soon turn the Tibetan population in the United States into the fourth largest in the world—after those in Tibet, India and Nepal. Those veterans of the Western decadence, in Switzerland and Canada, will be trailing behind miserably. Does that signal the end of Tibetan civilization? My considered opinion is, hardly.

When the 500 or so Tibetans who are already in the US entered the country they did not say their aim was to settle down there—if they’d said that they wouldn’t have been allowed in. So they are not in a planned community but scattered all over the place, many of them married to Americans. Yet they have not lost their language or philosophy of life as a Tibetan—whatever newfangled creature comforts they may enjoy or whatever papers they may carry for reasons of employment and travel. So how can anyone say that groups of 50 or more Tibetans living in properly planned clusters will soon lose their identity? Neither the project nor the hosts, nor anyone else connected with it aims at wiping out the Tibetan identity of the new immigrants; infact they have gone out of their way to ensure that something like that does not happen. My bet is that some among the 1000 will soon find themselves taking part in Tibetan cultural and religious activities for the first time in their lives. That is the sort of thing happening with young Tibetans in Switzerland and Canada. They are brushing up their Tibetan, studying Tibetan history and religion and many come to India on extended visits, presumably to discover their ‘roots.’ (The Tibetan youths from Switzerland who had communication problems when they came to visit their parents were those who were given away for adoption to Swiss families.) In marked contrast, many Tibetan children sent to ‘English’ schools in India pretend to forget—or maybe they really do—their Tibetan within a year or so. And worse, their parents appear so proud of this achievement.

The sweeping generalization that the West is bad, degenerate and materialistic whereas the East is good, wholesome and spiritual is a load of cowdung spread around by institution of dubious merit such as the Hindi film industry. Given half a chance, most people in the East would gladly outdo Westerners in pursuits of wealth and pleasure through fair and foul means.

As for the unmanned offices and understaffed schools, isn’t there supposed to be a problem about finding employment for the increasing number of Tibetans who complete their education? The fear that they would not fill those vacancies adequately is unfunded supposition. Are they never to be given their chances? Perhaps some of them will turn in even better performance than their predecessors—even they don’t know that yet. And they—and we all—will remain ignorant of their potential if this orthodox line of thinking carries on.

It was obviously at China’s instigation that Britain has warned the Dalai Lam not to make any political statements during his forthcoming visit to the UK. On no previous occasion did London feel the need to issue him such warnings.

Once can understand Peking’s paranoia. The Dalai Lama’s annoncement of the five-point peace proposal in Washington last year led to all the events since then which has left China’s labouriously cultivated reputation in shambles. Even the riot of 5 March probably would not have occurred without the precedent set in October. China could not possibly stand idle while such things turn into an annual international event : last year Washington, this year London, next year Bonn, then Canberra, Tokyo… and so on. And each one followed by a major political demonstration in Tibet necessitating fresh evacuation of foreigners. What happens to all the efforts to earn their living ? For a while Peking may provide them extra allowances and write it off as “subsidies to Tibet.” But how long can they afford to do so?

While China’s concern is understandable. Britain’s is not quite so. Although she no longer rules the waves, she is hardly in such an object state as to let her demonstrate institutions such as freedom of speech be curtailed by the Middle Kingdom. So far Prime Minister Thatcher’s running battle with the press, including the BBC, are of her own making. Is she now going to compound the error by having a foreign government tell her what to do in such matters?

How that the warning has been issued, how should we respond to it? The Dalai Lama may not be allowed to make political statements in his own volition. However, we hope he will not be barred from giving frank answers to any political questions that member of the press may put to him. This is the least British government can do to prevent itself from appearing like a satellite of the People’s Republic.

In his statement on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising, the Dalai Lama has rightly praised the brave people of Tibet who did the seemingly impossible by staging the recent demonstrations at the risk of certain death. Those same brave people are going to be ver disappointed if their leader if prevented from voicing their aspirations to the free world. And that too because a democratic country chooses, for some perverted notion of political and economic grains, to bow to the dictates of a totalitarian power.
Passive Activity

Forty years ago in March, while India was in its transitional period to independence, a new type of gathering was convened here by the country’s leaders headed by Jawaharlal Nehru. The purpose of the Asian Relations Conference was to exchange ideas regarding the common problems which all Asian countries had to face in the post-war era. Delegates from 28 countries in the region and observers from five non-Asian countries and the United Nations discussed there various problems from 23 March to 2 April 1947. Tibet was also invited and its four-member delegation participated in the meeting on equal footing with those of other countries. China made a feeble protest at this but it went largely ignored.

Despite the boundless goodwill and permanent friendship every one spoke of at the conference, China invaded Tibet three years later, and the participating countries stood by and watched. More years rolled by. Tibet was incorporated into China and the Asian Relations Coference evolved into the much larget Non-Aligned Movement. Tibet is denied even an observer status in the Movement’s meetings.

Tibetans by now realize that this is all part of a great game euphemistically known as ‘politics.’ However, they still don’t seem to have caught on the idea of fully taking advantage of the institutions created for the practice of political craft. This half-hearted entry into modern political arena was clearly reflected at the symposium organised by the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society in Delhi this month. The organizers had sufficient funs to invite a member of out-of-town speakers. But advance publicity for theevent was virtually non-existent. The pre-conference work did not seem to have included preparation of well though-out papers for distribution among the audience and the press.

The result was a very poor turnout, especially on the part of the Indian public at whom the whole exercise was, or should have been, addressed. Some of the speeches were overlong digressed from the them, and provided little new information for those gathered there. The already sparse audience was becoming even more so by the time the proceedings becoming even more so by the time the proceedings had to be brought to a hasty conclusion at the end of four hours.

Probably the only useful thing that came out of this symposium was one more item of ‘activity’ that the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society can gloat over at it’s annual meeting. As for the audience, the consolation perhaps lies in the fact that only six of the 14 speakers invited were able to attend.
Enigma Variations

Every year 10 March Tibetans in exile have been able to give vent to their suppressed fury by publicly protesting against the foreign occupation of their homeland. The Chinese embassy in New Delhi has been a particularly favourite spot, outside which local Tibetans spent hours on that day, reminding themselves and those who cared to listen of their continuing plight, and hurling abuses at their barely capable targets. Some attempts have been made to enter the embassy compoind in order to make somebody personally accept their memorandum, but the police never had any problem desisting them. Nonetheless, the whole exercise had a curiously soothing after-effect on the demonstrators—perhaps much like that on Japanese factory workers who nip down to the basement every once in a while to pounce on papier mache models of their bosses so that they could resume their work, temporarily contented with life and grinning from ear to ear to prove it.

But this year the Delhi police made sure that the Tibetans were deprieved of even this outlet. The reason is far from clear. Some of the demonstrators were told that orders have been issued recently to prevent any foreigner from taking part in demonstrations in the city. The written order when see, however, left no doubt that it applied only to the Tibetans.

Another version has it that permission for holding the rally was sought too late so that the police was not confident of being able to cordon off the embassy compound in time. This too is rather difficult to swallow since the police presence at the two localities whence the demonstrations were to start was, if anything, stronger than usual. If they could arrange to gather at a place ten minutes’ walk from the embassy long before the first demonstrator arrived on the scene, why couldn’t they do so, with all those vehicles at their command, outside the embassy itself?

Granted that Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, prohibiting gathers, was imposed on the embassy area. But this is nothing new. It is imposed every year this time precisely in anticipation of the Tibetan demonstration. And every year the demonstrators did reach the embassy area, and all that the police did was ensure that they did not actually enter the embassy compound. Did they, for some reason, think that it will be different this year? Were the Tibetans supposed to be fully armed this time? Or did the police fear that Tibetans might have hired the estimable talents of Messrs Stallone, Eastwood, Bronson & Schwarezenegger? Will we ever learn the truth?
Over to Peking

In his statement on the occasion of the 26th Anniversary of Tibetan national uprising, the Dalai Lama lamented that the Chinese are not trying to understand the Tibetan viewpoints and aspirations. This was obviously in response to the five-point proposal concerning his return that the Chinese made public at a time when the Tibetan leader was seriously considering a brief visit to his homeland. The Chinese terms were for all practical purpose a withdrawal of their repeated call to the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan exiles to return to Tibet.

The terms, of course, were unacceptable to the Tibetans and they said so in no uncertain terms. It remains to be see whether Peking will come out with a new set of proposals or choose to stay firm. It is also tied with how the situation inTibet will develop. Will the limited relaxation that the CHinese have introduced continue? Will it be increased? Reduced? Or will the pre-1979 policy be back in force?

In the meantime, the Dalai Lama statement leaves no doubt on how he views the present situation. He has favourably compared life in exile to life under occupation, told his people to persevere “in our struggle”, and counted among their achievements the preservation of “our patriotism.” He has made it clear that freedom of thought is an essential component of what he calls “genuine happiness.” According to him, the Tibetan cause is far from hopeless. He bases this optimism on the growing interdependence of the world where no nation can remain isolated by itself. And finally, he has challenged Peking to “act according to the enlightened ideals and principles of the modern times.”

It is now for China to demonstrate—not just through wearing three-piece suits and drinking Coca-Cola, but by displaying a grasp of “the enlightened ideals and principles”—whether she is in these modern times.
Going the Whole Hog

The Tibetan demonstrationduring the 7th summit of non-aligned nations this month gave me a chance of observing at close range the organisational ability of my fellow-countrymen. I must admit that I was quite impressed: everything was handled much more efficiently than I had expected, and the participants can be justly proud of having managed to stay in the news for the entire duration of the summit. The work was directed by a specially set up committee comprised of members of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies and the Tibetan Youth Congress: which means just about every Tibetan was represented, making it a truly people’s movement.

Having got this well-deserved praise out of the way, however, I now feel the urgent need to revert to my favourite pastime of annoying everybody. So here we go.

The demonstrators were hoping to be able to awaken the hundred-odd heads of states assembled here out of their ill-founded complacency regarding the question of Tibet. Predictably that was too much to expect; so the immediate aim of the demonstration was to attract world media attention and make more people aware of their aspirations. Everybody had volunteered to court arrest and remain in prison for as long as it was necessary. Yet the leaders were sometimes enough that they were stopped by the police. There also should have been at least one prominent leader among those imprisoned, which would still have left enough people to continue the work.

The demonstration was undoubtedly successful—but with alittle extra effort it would have been even more effective. The daily groups of processionists should have had Vigyan Bhavan, the venue of the summit, as their destination. Their aim should have been either the destination or jail. The groups that were temporarily detained at police stations and then let off should have continued on its journey, inviting re-arrest, and incarceration. As a result, out of the more than 2,000 volunteers only about 800 ended in jail.

There should have been one really capable person to act as the Chief Public Relations Officer. He should, among other things, have been the spokesman at the news conferences. The conference held on the eve of the summit was very nearly a disaster. Even the simplest questions were answered in vague, often self-contradictory terms. The spokesman, presumably chosen for his appearance more than anything else, seemed not only short of hearing but was unable to express his ideas—such as they were—in clear, precise English. Most young Tibetans nowadays can manage everyday conversations in English. However, for an occasion such as this, the services of absolutely the best among them should have been secured—no matter if he belongs to an unpopular organisation, or wears a funny moustache, or keeps three wives and a mistress on the side; or for that matter if he is a she. Once that person undertakes the job, the organizers could brief him thoroughly and it would, of course, be his duty to express only the views entrusted to him and not to propagate his own political ideology or personal fads and foibles.

I have made these points not with a view to dishearten anybody, but with the hope that they will strive for perfection on similar occasions in future. Perhaps I am wrong in my estimation of things; perhaps, cloistered in my cosy office, I am less capable of seeing the reality than those who are actually out there doing something. If such is the case, I, and no doubt others similarly handicapped, would greatly appreciate being enlightened through the Letters column of this rag.
A Friend in Need

The Tibetan struggle for freedom is not well over two decades old. They have tried everything from appealing to the United Nations and other International organisations to canvassing individual nations for support. Demonstrations, writing to newspapers and other civilized forms of protest are regularly made. All with no concrete results in sight yet. Although these activities have had an effect on the Chinese government, it is not of the kind that the Tibetans had hoped for. Instead of allowing them self-determination, Peking has introduced some policy changes which, when viewed in practical terms, have turned out to be designed only to lure the exiles back home so that their voice would no more be heard in the outside world. This is the Chinese idea of solving the problem and the Tibetan are understandably unwilling to accept it. Their only hope lies in continued publicising of the Tibetan cause so that ultimately enough outrage will be generated throughout the world making feasible a formal demand to the People’s Liberation Army to vacate the Tibetan territory.

This is the context in which the Tibetan plea for Soviet support must be seen. It is not that the Soviet Union is the only country that the Tibetan approached. Rather, the only sympathetic governmental response we received have come from the Soviet Union. It is only natural that the Tibetans should feel a certain amount of gratitude to them. The enemity between Moscow and Peking is not in itself the reason why Tibetans lean towards the Russians. Otherwise Taiwan would also have fallen in this category. The difference between the Soviet Union’s and Taiwan’s standpoint is that while the former speaks for the Tibetan right to self-government, the latter specifically rejects it.

Of course, the Tibetans are well aware of the Soviet brutalities, as recorded diligently in the Western press. They do read about the Russian acts of aggression and oppression and are duly shocked by them. However, they remain unconvinced that these are comparable in scale and magnitude to the Chinese acts in Tibet. To them, therefore, the prospect of a Soviet-Tibetan frienship is not all that abhorrent.

Well-meaning friends of Tibet have expressed genuine concern at this seeming Tibetan proclivity towards jumping from the Chinese frying pan into Russian fire. This is a danger the Tibetans are not oblivious to and is, in fact, the reason why their approach to the Soviet Union have never amounted to more than expressions of gratitude. There have been no moves to strike a political bargain with them. The significance of the declared Soviet desire of reconciling it’s difference with the People’s Republic is not lost upon them either. They have no illusion that if such a situation came to pass the Soviet view of the Tibetan problem will remain unchanged.

It would indeed be unfortunate if the Tibetan cased is weakened because of the tarnished record of their only current friend. It is necessary, therefore, for the Tibetans to make the reasons for and the nature of their friendship with the Soviets clear in all publicity materials on the subject. In the absence of active support from the United Nations and “respectable” governments. Tibetans can hardly be blamed for accepting any hand proferred to them in friendship However, they should be careful not to get carried away with it and give the wrong impression that this friendship is anything approaching a “collusion” or that the Tibetans approve of everything that the Russians do.
Yabshi Vs Yabshi

Whatever unbelievable sights and sounds the Tibetans were prepared for when they first came into exile, this certainly was not it. Two members of the Dalai Lama’s family—known as the Yabshis—are at loggerheads. Fortunately for the exile community, it is not a personal feud out difference of opinion on what the future course of action for the Tibetans, in terms of returning home, ought to be. The eldest in the family, Thubten J. Norbu, wantes to go all our for restoration of total independence while his younger brother, Gyalo Thondup, favours acceptance of a more benevolent variety of Chinese domination. Both apparently are quite serious about their beliefs. Norbu resigned as head of Tibet office in Tokyo in protest against what he saw as the pussy-footing policy of the Tibetan government. Thondup stepped down temporarily from his pedestal as chairman of the Council of Ministers in order to facilitate a fair investigation of the charges levelled by Norbu.

Although both brothers have pronounced their respective stands unambigously, neither the cabinet nor the assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies have issued a public comment on the war of the words. Instead, an investigative committee has been formed, presumably to find out who has been telling the truth.

But wait a minute. What truth? If one had accused the other of saying something which he denies, then an investigation might justifiably be launched. But such is not the case here. Both have willingly gone on record; Both have voluntarily resigned; no outside force was ever applied. Subtle politicking might be going on at high levels but the main in the street is baffled as to the reasons for instituting an investigative committee. All that the government had to do was declare whether it sees complete independence as a realistic goal or not. Everything hinges on this point. Since neither of the Yabshi brother are likely to publicly change his mind, one of the resignations has to become permanent. In fact the public was led to believe that ‘complete independence’ as the goal of the Tibetan government was decided upon during the last session of the parliament. So once again we have to ask, what is under investigation now?

If two ordinary Tibetans were making all this fuss, there would have been no need for anyone else to worry about it. But the two involved are not ordinary Tibetans. They would have been ‘ordinary’ in a democratic society. But not in the Tibetan society—whatever democratic trappings it has recently acquired. Until their resignations, one was the Dalai Lama’s representative for the Asia Pacific region and other was the elected head of the cabinet, which, under the present set-up, means the highest ranking Tibetan after the Dalai Lama. However, for Tibetans what is even more important is the fact that they both elder brothers of the Dalai Lama. SO the controversy cannot be ignored. However, one wishes it was attended to directly and speedily so that normal life can resume. Instead we have to wait for the bureaucratic procedure to take its courses with committees, reports and whatnots.