Filed by Tibet.Net Intern Tenzin Choetso
Dharamshala: The Tibetans in exile celebrated the festive occasion of its 58th Tibetan Democracy Day.
Likewise, Tsuglagkhang, the main temple in Dharamshala where the Central Tibetan Administration is situated was buzzing with lively Tibetan music, joyful cheers and laughter echoing throughout the courtyard of the temple as thousands of people, government officials and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the joyous occasion.
The event was attended by the chief guest Shri Bharatendra Singh, honourable member of Lok Sabha accompanied by Dr Lobsang Sangay, President of CTA; Ven Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, Justice Commissioner Ngawang Choedak of Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission along with Tibetan parliamentarians; Kalons of various departments and other dignitaries of CTA.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Lobsang Sangay highlighted the inception and evolution of Tibetan Democracy, the one envisioned by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and drew attention on the unique nature of Tibetan Democracy and how it serves as a spokesperson for the Tibetan brothers and sisters struggling under China’s illegal occupation.
Meanwhile, President also highlighted the recent cases of human rights violations practised by the Chinese government in Tibet disrupting the Tibetan people’s right to religion “The Chinese government’s widespread interference in religious practices of Tibetans are in clear violations of the numerous policies on Tibet created in the 1980’s which recognize the special characteristics of Tibet’s religious identity and customs. For example, Document no. 31 states that “all Central government guidelines, policies, instructions and regulations could be refused or adapted if they did not conform to the practical conditions in Tibet” said the President.
Sikyong Dr Sangay affirmed that the Central Tibetan Administration is driven by motivation and commitment to preserve Tibetan unique Identity and thereby pursue its dignity. The President then apprised the gathering about Kashag’s initiative of the recent Five-Fifty Vision attributed to His Holiness advice to ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst”. Speaking on the Five-Fifty Vision, Dr Lobsang said, “The vision aims to maximize efforts to resolve the Tibet issue in 5 years based on the Middle Way Approach while ensuring CTA’s resilience to sustain the Tibetan freedom movement for the next 50 years if need be. Our plan is not to stay in exile for another 50 years; instead, our plan is to plan for the next 50 years if necessary”.
Meanwhile drawing the attention of the public, President Dr Lobsang Sangay warned them about the elements causing communal disharmony and said, “Freedom of speech and freedom of expression do not mean the freedom to spread misinformation and cause disharmony. Using the democratic rights to disrupt our unity fundamentally goes against the democratic vision of His Holiness that began from inside Tibet”.
He further reminded the gathering about the Na-gaen Thuwoche, the great oath taken by Tibetan leaders in Bodh Gaya 60 years ago pledging to uphold the unity of Tibetan people like an iron ball under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Concluding his speech, Sikyong Lobsang urged the Tibetan Public to follow the suit of Kashag and maintain the three principles of unity, innovation, and self-reliance. He also urged them to remain united so as to accomplish the vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and pray for his longevity. At the same time, he thanked the government of India for their unrelenting support to the Tibetan cause.
The Chief Guest Mr Kunwar Bharatendra Singh in his keynote address applauded CTA for their effort in preserving Tibetan culture, Identity, and religion while at the same time keeping up with the essence of a modern democracy.
While appreciating CTA’s Middle way policy under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mr Kunwar said, “I hope all the parliaments of the world will accept this universalism. India, China and Tibet will have a very close relationship but it is unfortunate that China is overlooking the basic quality of humanitarianism.”
Chief Guest Mr Kunwar concluded his speech by expressing his hope that the middle way policy will prosper under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Speaker Khenpo Tenphel in his address talked about the importance of the democratic values of Tibetan democracy which is unique in itself from any other democracies in the world.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama, pioneering the establishment of the nature of Tibetan governance system with democratic values and characteristics, has, likewise, always adhered to guiding the essence of Tibetan freedom struggle with non-violence. As a result, the Tibetan people and their just cause have continued to receive support from all parts of the world. Not only that, the Tibetan people’s cause has also received support from intellectuals in Mainland China as well as from a large number of other impartial Chinese people” said the Speaker.
Speaker Khenpo expressed his hope that the unity among Tibetans would continue for the benefit of Tibetan freedom struggle. He further underlined the large scale repressive measures undertaken by the Chinese government in Tibet in particular to demolishing Tibetan religion, language etc.
“China continues to expand its policies on the large-scale transfer of its population into Tibetan territories. In particular, it clings to a policy of unmitigated ethnic discrimination, so that when it comes to the demands and aspirations of the Tibetan people on the one hand and of the Chinese people, on the other hand, the latter keeps on being given the top priority” said the Speaker.
Meanwhile, Speaker Khenpo expressed his gratitude to all the supporters of Tibetan around the world in voicing their opinions on China’s repressive measures in Tibet because of which Tibet issue has been given a platform for discussion in United Nation Human Rights Council.
Concluding his speech, Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel highlighted the importance of the Middle Way Approach and claimed it beneficial to both Tibet and China.
“We deem it inevitable that the government of China too will, over a course of time, be compelled by forces of evolving times and societal changes to take the responsibility to change its stand in a positive direction,” said the Speaker of Tibetan Parliament.
The highlight of today’s event was the vibrant cultural performances by students of various Tibetan schools in Dharamshala and the presentation of awards for academic accomplishment to meritorious students and Tibetan Entrepreneurship Development award winners.
Chief Guest Mr Kunwar Bharatendra Singh presented the Sikyong award for academic accomplishment to Ms.Tsering Dolma, Mr Tenzin Gyalgya and Ms Lobsang Choedon.
Whereby, President Dr Lobsang Sanagay presented the Tibetan Entrepreneurship award to Mr Penpa Tsering, Mr Tenzin Dakpa and Mr Gelek Kelsang and Mr Kunga Paljor.
Gaden Phodrang merit award was presented to the top three students from each stream of Science, Commerce and Art.
The toppers in the category are Tenzin Tsundue with 93 percentage from TCV Selakui, Science stream; Check Wangmo, Mussoorie Homes, Arts stream with 92 percentage and Tenzin Topden from TCV Bylakuppe, Commerce stream with 94.2 percentage.
In the second are Sonam Palmo, TCV Selakui, Science; Dawa Lhamo, TCV Suja, Arts and Tenzin Choekyi from TCV Bylakuppe, Commerce. In the third place are Yamasaki, TCV Selakui, Science; Dorjee Palmo from TCV Gopalpur, Arts; Tenzin Nyima, TCV Bylakuppe from Commerce stream.