21 February 2020, Mundgod: The beginning of a task is quite easy whereas the ending of the same task is very challenging – the saying goes. Contrary to this, Shri Sandesh Meshram has proved this wrong as he embarked upon a long journey covering more than 7300 km, across 11 states of India with the sole purpose of engaging Indian communities on awareness-building measures about India’s relation with Tibet and its responsibility towards the critical situation of Tibetan people inside Tibet under Chinese communist rule.
This journey started on 1st December 2019 from Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, as Shri Sandesh Meshram touched down at the city of Hubbali on 20 February 2020. He was received by Ms Yangchen Lhamo, Office Secretary, Doeguling Tibetan Settlement Office, Mundgod; Shri J. P. Urs, Regional Convener for South East Region, CGTC-India; Members of Monasteries, Camp Leaders, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association and Ex-Soldiers’ Association.
After a brief rest, Shri Sandesh Meshram was then escorted to Press Club of Hubbali where he addressed the media about his cycle yatra. Shri Meshram was joined by Shri J. P. Urs and Ms.Yangchen Lhamo while engaging with media representatives at DDUWJ(Dharwad District Union of Working Journalist). About 25 members of media including print and electronic media attended the press conference showered various questions about his initiative, experiences and need for undertaking this approach. The next day, around 10 to 12 regional newspapers mostly Kannada language, covered the cycle yatra.
In preparations for Shri Meshram’s ending of cycle yatra, ITCO organized all members meeting at the office of TSO Mundgod on 18 February. Then, as per the plan, Shri Meshram and his colleague, Mr Lobsang Choephel, who joined him from Hunsur on 5 February were welcomed at the border of Mundgod (Distt-Karwar) and Tadas (Distt-Hubbali) on the morning of 21 February. Camp Leaders, members from Monasteries, TYC, TWA, Sambhota Tibetan School and volunteers- bikers and cyclist received him with honour and slogan of Bod Gyalo and Bharat Tibbat Maitri Amar Rahe Amar Rahe.
From there on, 15 km before entering the Mundgod town, Shri Sandesh Meshram was received by Mr Karur, Representative from the office of Tehsildar, Mundgod along with friends of Indian Tibet Support Groups including Shri N.D.Kittur, Shri Malikarjun Kittur, Sh.P. C. Thomas, Shri Rajshekar Naik and many others.
Shri Meshram then headed towards Mundgod Doeguling Tibetan Settlement entering from Camp No.1 Gaden Monastery and reached Doeguling Community Hall where the Principal Sangpo Rigzin and students from Sambhota Tibetan School received him with the band and song. At the community hall, he received a thunderous welcome from local Tibetans as he was led to the stage.
After offering prayer and khatak to the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the concluding event started off with condolence of 2 minutes for the valour and sacrifice of Tibetan martyrs followed by recitation of Indian and Tibetan national anthems. He was then felicitated by Shri Amrut Joshi, National Co-Convener, CGTC; Sh.J.P.Urs, Regional Convener, CGTC; Ms Yangchen Lhamo, Secretary, Doeguling Tibetan Settlement Office; Ven Tenzin Phuntsok Arya, Vice Chairman, Local Tibetan Assembly; Ven Lobsang Nyendak, President, BRDL; Mr Tenzin Geywang, Chairman, Doeguling Cooperative Society; Mr Sangpo Rigzin, Principal of Sambhota Tibetan School, members of Monasteries, Camp Leaders, Presidents of Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association and Ex-Soldiers Association of Doeguling.
Shri Amrut Joshi lauded the effort of Shri Meshram that has not only helped in understanding the deep relationship between India and Tibet but has also acquired huge motivation for such initiative. Shri Joshi lamented that the conclusion of the 4th Cycle Yatra by Shri Sandesh Meshram coincides with Mahashivratri and International Mother’s Language Day. In amplifying his address, he stated that the occasion of Mahashivaratri is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva whose abode is Kailash Parvat. For centuries, he stressed that it was where millions of Hindu devotees visited and offered prayers where no permission was required. Whereas today, ever since Tibet came under the occupation of China, unwanted restrictions are imposed meant to harass ardent disciples.
Shri J. P. Urs in his address shared about his experience of receiving Shri Sandesh Meshram at Bylakuppe in January when he had to reroute his Cycle Yatra due to his weakened health. He had found him physically exhausted yet mentally charged with his mission of concluding this initiative. Shri Urs further expressed his pride that a member of Core Group for Tibetan Cause and Indo-Tibet Friendship Society has toured all these states and even visited his hometown and jurisdiction. He also conveyed that both print and electronic media has widely covered his initiative, especially in the Kannada language.
Deputy Chairman of Local Tibetan Assembly Ven Tenzin Phuntsok Arya has expressed deep appreciation about the courage, commitment and consistency that Shri Sandesh Meshram has displayed throughout these years for the cause of Tibet.
Ms Yangchen Lhamo on behalf of TSO Mundgod presented the appreciation letter prepared in Hindi which was for her a moment of great privilege and being part of the historic event. She conveyed her greeting for the conclusion of successful yatra and expressed good wishes for his safe journey back home.
Then, it was Shri Sandesh Meshram’s turn, who then shared his experience, stating that he had discovered in his last three cycle yatra that India being huge in size and population, millions of Indians especially youth has no information about Tibet and its historical ties with India. In the case of 4th Cycle Yatra, he noticed that a PhD scholar in Agra happened to be uninformed about Tibet which led him to undertake this yatra. He added that in his previous life he could have been Tibetan, which propels him to engage in these activities for the last more than 2 decades.
Till 20 January, except for a minor stomach issue, he was moving as per the schedule that he had designed. As he passed through Udupi, his health deteriorated and on reaching Bylakuppe he went through a medical examination, admitted in ICU, Apollo Hospital, Mysuru where his haemoglobin dropped from 13% to 6% resulting in the requirement of blood transfusion. Fortunately, 2 Tibetan students from Mysuru Tibetan Youth Association donated blood to him that has enabled him to recover.
Taking this opportunity, he reaffirmed that he would continue to do everything within his capacity to keep the flame of Tibetan struggle for its identity and freedom alive. He humbly expressed that although he was not sure of how far this may have generated awareness among the Indian people, he was quite certain that his efforts won’t be in vain. Shri Meshram even expressed his gratitude for all those Indian Tibetan Support Groups, Tibetan Sweater Seller’s Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, Tibetan Settlement Offices, individuals and volunteers for their limitless support in making this 4th Janjagaran Cycle Yatra possible.
Venerable monks, students from Sambhota Tibetan School, members of Tibetan Community and many others totalling around 1000 people witnessed the conclusion of this yatra. Master of Ceremony was presented by coordinator of ITCO and assisted by Program Executive Officer Choney Tsering, with support of TSO Doeguling and its stakeholders, honourably designed the conclusion of this historical 4th Janjagaran Cycle Yatra by Shri Sandesh Meshram.
–Filed by ITCO Delhi