I have no class today. I am working with only two of my private students , who are coming to me for the preparation of their forthcoming films. One is the daughter of a matinée idol and the other is the son of a very successful director and soon he is going to be launched by Mr. Karan Johar. After finishing their class , as I was sitting in my office on this soggy and dull evening, I suddenly remembered that this month on July 07, 2010, His Holiness Dalai Lama turned 75. I wanted to write about the event on the same day but I missed the opportunity because of my hectic and busy schedule. Barkha Dutt of NDTV 24×7 went to Dharamsala that day and interviewed His Holiness. I missed the telecast also because of my schedule. On this particular day, I suddenly remembered the event and decided to express my views immediately.
Ever since I started reading books, I was very fascinated by history. History of India and her neighbouring countries always fascinated me. While still in High School, I started studying Ancient Indian History. I was mesmerized by our culture and its all-powerful, all-encompassing and enduring sway on the various parts of the world. Mystic Tibet and the influence of Buddhism on her culture and history,fascinated me the most. During my childhood I had gone to Mussoorie, a hill station of Uttar Pradesh (now Uttarakhand ) with my family. My father told me that H.H. Dalai Lama lives near by and we should go and meet him. I asked my father about H.H. and then he told me about the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the struggle going on there for the independent Tibet.We couldn’t go to meet H.H. but I started reading about the history of Tibet and her relationship with India.
The present Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the 14th Dalai Lama. Tibet is an ancient nation and enjoyed sovereignty till the communist government , headed by Mao Zedong, established its regime in China. After defeating and easing out Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai Shek , out of mainland China and after firmly establishing himself, Mao Zedong, started spreading his tentacles to Tibet and slowly started claiming that historically Tibet is part of Greater China and that she was never a sovereign nation. In 1950 China attacked Tibet. Peoples Liberation Army invaded Tibetan area of Chamdo. Forced by this brutal attack, Tibet signed 17 point agreement with China and accepted Chinese sovereignty over Tibet in 1951.
After this infamous 17 point agreement, China separated Tibetan region of eastern Kham and put it under direct control in Sichuan province. Western Kham was also separated and put under Chamdo Military Committee. Though , in 1956 there was unrest in Eastern and Western Kham but it was brutally suppressed by Chinese army. Freedom struggle by Tibetan continued unabated and finally in 1959 Peoples Liberation Army started its infamous crackdown in Kham. This finally fuelled Lhasa Uprising and full-scale war was started in Tibet. Chinese forces struck with all its might and war was crushed. Fearing Dalai Lama’s arrest, Tibetan government decided that he should take shelter in India. Protected by few loyal followers, H. H. Dalai Lama left Lhasa and after arduous and risky journey ,took refuge in India. Along with H.H., India accepted more than 1 Lakh refugees and Tibetan government-in-exile was stablished in Dharamsala.
After Dalai Lama’s escape , China stablished her iron-like grip over Tibet and gradually started destroying Tibetan culture. Between 1959 and 1961 more than 6000 monasteries of Tibet were destroyed. Tibetan culture and traditions was systematically undermined and Hans from China were encouraged to settle in Tibet in large numbers. In 1965 the area under Dalai Lama’s control was renamed Tibet Autonomous Region. By proclamation , Tibet became an autonomous region, but the actual power was always held by the First Secretory of Tibetan Autonomous Region committee of Chinese Communist Party, who has never been a Tibetan. A Han of Chinese origin always held the position.
This is brief and very basic history of Tibet and Tibet’s subjugation and oppression by China. There is mute support by world community for the independence of Tibet but it is half-hearted. Though Dalai Lama got Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and then there were widespread protests against Chinese rule in 2008, but because of the lack of political will of world leaders and world community, Tibet’s voice is crushed and she remains under Chinese occupation and shackles.
H. H. Dalai Lama is now 75 and this is occasion for celebration. This is also true that he is the only hope of Tibet and 130,000 Tibetan exiles in India. Crushed and tortured Tibetans, living in Tibet also look to him for guidance and inspiration. China is cunningly waiting and eyeing for the post !4th Dalai Lama era. Time is running out . World community has to act soon and fast. India has special interest in Tibet because our holy places like Mount Kailash and holy Manasarovar Lake, are situated in Tibet.
Tibet’s liberation is need of the hour and on this happy occasion of Dalai Lama’s 75th birth day, we should take this pledge that we will always aspire and pray for the liberation of Tibet.
Long live Independent Tibet !!
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