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TIBET: Sovereignty

Conservation of Tibet and its heritage


If US can make sounds on Ukrainian occupation by Russia, then why hold double standards on China’s occupation of Tibet?
K. C. JOHOREY | Issue Dated: March 23, 2014, New Delhi
Tags : Tibet | Lobsang Sangay |

The 55th anniversary of the uprising against the Chinese take over at Lhasa and declaration of independence of Tibet has largely got unnoticed except for a peaceful and mild protest by Tibetans around the world. Tibet’s Parliament (in exile) has an elected Prime Minister. The fourteenth Dalai Lama has unequivocally abdicated his temporal authority and the Nobel Laureate for Peace has been confining to matters spiritual and mission of promoting ahimsa- non-violence and genuine autonomy for Tibet.

Lobsang Sangay, the 45 year old Harvard academic, became the first non-reincarnated man to succeed as Tibet’s first democratically elected political leader. He is advocating a balanced approach among the Tibet’s younger generation.

 The Tibet and China watchers would recall that with the report of mounting atrocities against a country where one-third of the population voluntarily chooses to monastic orders and take to the spiritual path, may recoil and result in alienating the population.

By tradition the third child is offered to a monastery or a nunnery. India still has a choice of continuing the dialogue with China.

Can Tibet provide a pivot and a bridge between the two emerging Asian economies, namely, the three landlocked countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal – with a common civilisatonal link and on the silk route from India to China?

These three Himalayan regions present an opportunity for both China and India; or would they better squabble and waste their energies in the arms and nuclear weapons race?

It is worth considering whether a stage has reached when all those working for peace and prosperity of Asia and Asian countries would like Tibet to be peaceful, prosperous, united and free of any domination from its eastern neighbour. It may be recalled that from 1911 to 1949, Tibet enjoyed its freedom with its own coinage, currency and diplomatic relations with its neighbours. The world cannot be hoodwinked merely by play of words and pedantic use of the English language – suzerainty, sovereignty and autonomy.

The disquieting news of the silent protest reveals symptoms of a deeper despair among the Tibetans who have ventilated their agony by sacrificing their lives to regain their freedom of their way of life, language, culture, script, philosophy by shedding its centuries-long isolation which was broken by their contacts with the western travellers in the nineteenth century.

I distinctly recall a conversation with a former defence minister of Tibet, Tsarong Dzadzasa, on the eve of Prime Minister Nehru’s desperate and last dash to Tibet in September 1958 with a view to study the ground situation and find a peaceful solution to the Sino-Tibetan difference and China’s continued oppression and denial of basic freedom. The last Defence Minister of Tibet said, “Please remember that in both the World Wars I and II, we remained neutral.

We did not take sides with the allied or the Germans. We had our own currency, coinage, Army and diplomatic relations with our neighbours. It is true that the British Government played the big game with great finesse, more with a view to counteract the Russian moves in Central Asia than to colonise Tibet.”

With the dawn of India’s Independence, the picture changed dramatically. A decolonized India took the independent path of carrying forward the fruit of freedom to carve out a republican constitution with no ambitions and gave up extra territorial interference, defended its borders inherited after the partition and launched a planned economy.

Our aim was to provide roti, kapda and makan to the remotest village on its borders and to the hamlets in the coastal districts.

It appears that Chinese have developed an allergy to Tibetans. Any mention of Tibet, its faith, spiritual pursuits, code of conduct- the middle way is responded with suspicion. The same reaction is seen when it comes to dealing with India’s approach to reduce the trust deficit with China.

We fail to understand the fears of China from a landlocked country which for centuries has been in isolation pursuing a unique identity. It may be worth considering that the world community declares landlocked countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet as nuclear free zones. Will China respect that global consensus?

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Posted By: KP Pillai | Kuwait | March 23rd 2014 | 14:03
Excellent Sir! Respectful regards, Pillai, Ex VVF Manipur

Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017