I have been a Tibetan…

If birth be a defining factor of our nationality, I am strongly Tibetan though I have the regret of living in a country rather than Tibet. I am this year turning to my nineteenth birthday but it is a highly humiliating fact that about twelve years from this nineteen has been spent in India despite being a Tibetan! Though it may be a defect of our fate to carry on thus it had been the defect of our basic mindset over the generations. In fact, I have never lived a Tibetan in me and most of others surely won’t have because the basic requirements haven’t been availed! Though my memories of my naïve seven years in Tibet are a bit blurred, I can never go wrong with fact that I never had Tibet in my mind at that time. Though I am only now aware that I had lived in Tibet rather than china but I never learnt Tibetan while Chinese was taught in priority in the school I went there. I probably attended the school for about three years but I didn’t come across even the alphabets of Tibetan over those years. But I remember those long poems in Chinese I had to memorise and I had been a literate in Chinese in fact. Besides I never had a Tibetan teacher but a few Chinese teachers over the years in that school and I was thus, equipped with the patriot of a Chinese lay man rather than a Tibetan. And the perpetual fact of my ignorance lies with my birth into a family of illiterate farmers who were only concerned in fulfilling their religious pursuits. They didn’t take any stress upon the quality of harvest every year while they would put their life forth to succeed in their annual pilgrimage tours against any kind of obstacle. Hence this could have also been a fundamental faulty of our mindset that led to the loss of Tibet.

I have certain obligation that doesn’t let me speak of the exact location of my origin but the truth of my ignorance is a bit regretful. It is a strong pain striking feeling to having been an avid participant in recital of the Chinese national anthem in the school I attended there. It was a time I knew not of the word Tibet and China was conferred as the nation I belonged to. Back in those periods, I never had sight of a Tibetan national flag and owning such a flag with the respect paid as one’s own national flag was not seen at all while I cannot remember that total number I saluted to the star stubbed red flag of china! Though my normal clothing constituted ‘chupa’; the traditional Tibetan costume while the newly exposed style of clothing in shirts, pants and the stylish star stubbed green cap took turn to my dressing on the special occasions. In addition to all these, being able to speak better in Chinese attracted more respect and dignity that alienated the only Tibetan speaking people as the tribes of a certain minority.

In contrary to all those, there was a unique affirmation in me that confirmed that I can never be one of the numerous Chinese strangers in our town and that propelled me to a distinct identity. Later on, as I fled to India, I became aware of the distinct identity that meant Tibetan. Thus I became a fully fledged Tibetan who started shedding his ignorance of his own identity after seeking refugee in India since the early 1998. I got exposed into a society that gave me a sense of security and satisfaction. Though I lived very far away from my parents and the divine home, I have grown in a clean society where I received the teachings I ought to seek. I enjoyed the life in an atmosphere of freedom exception to the times I missed my home many miles away.

I don’t know how my parents fell upon the conclusion of sending me far away from them to India but it was clear that one of the kins I had in India took the charge of my expedition to this foreign land. It was my father whom I had first and last seen lying me. I was totally ignorant of my expedition as my father left me in the hand of stranger uncle, who is found to an escort and a merchant. As per my father that time, I was supposed to be with the uncle till Lhasa but it turned out to be turning point of my life. However, the expedition was not a child’s play and I also underwent the similar strains of walking for several weeks across the Himalayan ranges. Because the expedition was a flee to escape, we had to move in the woods and ranges in secrecy. The expedition consisted of a troop of about thirty people inclusive of the three merchant escorts but me along with my two siblings were the only children. In that troop, four people belonged to the age group of above fifty and they only confronted the hardship of the journey to receive a blessing touch of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Besides, there were six monks and two nuns who are studying in monasteries and nunneries in India today. The rest of people were merchants and I have come to know recently about the arrest of one of them a few years ago on one of his regular expeditions. He is said to have hidden many portraits of the His Holiness in his merchandise and it is known that even the image of His Holiness is prohibited in Tibet! Those people had lots of things to take and it was very difficult to cross the ranges easily. There were the times in our journey when we ran out of food in the midst of the mountains and the hunger sued with desperate pains that I could never forget. There were times I refused my escort to go on because I missed my father, my home and hated that sneaking journey. I cried in vain when the escort slapped me upon my misbehaviors and I even attempted to flee back home from the troop while that ended up with fierce slaps and scolding from the escort. I can never forget those travels in the complete darkness and the sleeps in the twilight, which did baffle me in curiosity. But I never knew that I was going to lose the warmth of living with my parents forever.

But now, I know why my parents sent me away and why I felt that I can never be one of those foreign Chinese in my home town. Though my parents sent me away so that I could learn Tibetan and seek security under the Dalai Lama, I have learnt a lot more. I can now understand the reasons of the slaps of the escort, strains of the journey and the hidings in my expeditions about twelve years ago. These days, I am desperately missing my parents and the relatives who were the guardians of my novice human life. There are high restrictions against making contact with them. The telephones are risky medium of contact for us. But recently, I was blessed with an opportunity of a several hours’ long phone talk with my father. It was the first time a son talking to his father after a complete twelve year’s disconnection! Drenching in tears was an irresistible emotion but that was the most important event of life in those twelve years. But it was also a convincing truth to learn that many of my then school mates making a very unsightly living these days. Some of my childhood friends today have assorted to crimes and burglaries to make their living today. Hearing such realities make me feel proud of having a such a father because he is the one who sacrificed for my well being. Today, I can not imagine of assorting to activities like thieveries or crimes while I had been one of these criminals one time. Since my arrival to India, I had been studying at Tibetan Homes School Mussoorie and I am completing my school this year. I can now understand the basic needs of a nation and the important defining factors of distinct nationalities. Thus I can confirm that I had lived my childhood days in Tibet while Chinese have illegally taken shelter in our country. Now I know the basic identities of my own nation and have the spirit to fight for Tibet. Though I have spent my complete school life hearing that Tibet will be freed in the near future, I can never stop waiting for this excitement.

Though Tibet issue is an issue of generations, dreaming of our victory by truth is pleasurable and the spirit of this struggle ever expands. I believe that our struggle has moved to a right direction in these fifty years of exile and I have the faith that Tibet is an issue that should be resolved after all. Taking our political system into consideration, there was a major defect in this system before 1959. There was strict caste differentiation in the pristine Tibet and common people had no role in the ruling of Tibet. Hence Tibet was never a political union though it was the Buddhist religion that bound Tibet as a unified state. The whole geography of Tibet was sparsely populated Tibetans plying in fields or practicing nomadic lives and it promised a difficult political unity. That little population knew little about the Gaden Podrang (the erstwhile government of Tibet) Government based in Lhasa. But the whole population drove to Lhasa at any cost in a given interval of time to fulfill their religious pursuits. Hence they had a very little say in claiming for a governmental post while they preached their religion every minute. But with the advent of democracy by H.H the 14th Dalai Lama, every single Tibetan is given the responsibility in this struggle and thus took to an issue of generations. Though we had a curious political system before 1959 that exempted the common people from their responsibility in politics, we are equipped much better today.

Tibet has been a confusion of the world from several decades before I was born. In fact, this has been confusion at a political level only. I know that majority of countries and their leaders support our cause and they invite the Dalai Lama to their countries as often as possible. Hence this clearly defines the truth of our claims as a refugee else the Dalai Lama is a liar and the world is running after a liar!

But the fact here is something that is unpleasant and unfair. The Chinese has invaded our country, and the Tibetans were propelled to a state of fleeing from one’s own country. Since then, they have been luring the world against our struggles and the reasons we put while the world has also been a kid before its might! Hence might have become the right today.

Aspiration of a free Tibet excites me while the reality today dejects the joy I can attain each day. Being a student, dreaming is an obvious possibility but absence of one’s land contracts the area of dreaming to a much smaller dimension. I have dreams of Tibet standing tall as a nation of the world. I have a dream of seeing the shoe-shaped map of Tibet depicted as separate state in the world map. It is very stimulating to think of a day when I would be back in that home of my birth living not as a refugee but as a countryman. I also have the wish to see our national football team competing for the FIFA world cup and at the same time it would be a sensational moment to see our national flag hoist high along the hundred others I can see today. Thus freeing the chained Tibet is a desperate necessity while this possibility stands quite bleak. Though I had lived totally ignorant in Tibet and quite engrossed with my studies for these twelve years in India, I can never stop being a Tibetan ever and I believe none of other Tibetans does! We Tibetans are making our supreme effort and this is also my humble plea for the international bodies to save this truth.

The world is not stable today. I am not at ease with the world since I have known it. This is an eternal acquaintance of me that I have been concerned about. I saw a hostile attack at the Twin Towers in the 9/11 incident in America that engraved a painful scar in many hearts. I remember the tragic Tsunami disaster of 2006 that washed the lives of thousands of people. There was the 26/11 eruption in Mumbai and yet I have recently come to know of the disturbance in Urumqi. I have also known the fiddling game of North Korea with the nukes that has put the world to a threshold. But the issue of Tibet is not yet forgotten. This is the issue of the Third Pole of the world and the world suffers when it suffers. Thus, I have a strong conviction about the need for liberation of this Third Pole.

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Editor TJ

Editor at Tibetan Journal, News/Reviews/Opinions

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