The dilemma and ordeals of migration, exile and its concomitant effect on the psyche of communities came up for discussion at an event organised in the city today.
The event was an exhibition at Majha House, Long look homeward, that depicted the contemporary Tibetan history, personal narratives on migration and exile as well as a documentary on migration from Punjab.
Dean, Student Welfare, Guru Nanak Dev University, Sarbjot Singh Behl, Dr Anirudh Kala, psychiatrist and author, Thubten Samphel, director, Tibet Policy Institute, Dorjee Wangdi, author and architect, Sanjoy Hazarika, international director, CHRI, were speakers of the day. They discussed various aspects of migration, exile and its impact on generations.
In a session moderated by Sanjoy Hazarika, Sarbjot Singh Behl narrated his poems depicting the pain of his father leaving Gujranwala, Pakistan. Talking about the lack of literature related to the mental state of people post and during partition, Dr Kala emphasised on the reason for lack of literature and psychological effect. “There had been psychological impact but sadly there is no record of it. We have heard stories of partition, people abandoning their homes with an uncertain future. The people must have felt disoriented, lost and out of place,” he said.
Thubet Samphel and Dorjee Wangdi spoke about Tibet, the association of Tibetans with India and stories of escape.
Dorjee Wangdi, author of ‘Flight at the cuckoo’s behest’, dwelt on keeping the spirit of Tibet alive. “Besides being an author, I am an architect too. I try to keep the spirit of Tibet mortal through designs. The time we have spent here has been wonderful.”
“Migration, exile gave us sense of mental peace. For me, it is a great word,” Samphel added
Hazarika touched upon the transit of Sikhs in Assam and Shillong. He describe the community as being able to retain its own identify by adapting to the environment of both these places.
“The Sikh community speak Assamese, they are deeply connected to the culture of the state but they have retained their roots. It is amazing to see but the question is how long shall these people be treated as migrants?”
“At what point one is one relieved of the tag of being an outsider,” he added.
Deputy Commissioner KS Sangha was the chief guest on the occasion. Preeti Gill, founder of Majha House, chairman IAFA, RMS Chhina, Shivdev Singh, president of IAFA, Dr Arvinder Singh Chamak, honorary secretary, IAFA, were also present and spoke on the vision behind the concept .