Dharamshala: A delegation from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, led by Parliamentarians Tenzin Jigdal and Wangdue Dorjee, successfully concluded their official visit to the Doeguling Tibetan Settlement in Mundgod from January 14th to 20th, 2024.
Following their visit to Mumbai, the delegation proceeded to Hubli on January 14th. Upon their arrival, the lawmakers received a warm welcome from MP Geshe Lharampa Atuk Tseten, Vice-chair of the Local Tibetan Assembly (LTA) of Doeguling, as well as representatives from monasteries and NGOs. Subsequently, the delegation continued their journey to Mundgod.
On January 15th, the Tibetan MPs were accorded a grand reception at the settlement office, where they were warmly welcomed by the Vice-chair of the Local Tibetan Assembly (LTA), Tibetan Settlement Officer, Cashier of the Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement (BRDL), President of the Tibetan Cooperative Society, principals and headmasters of the settlement schools, Chagzoe (treasurers) of monasteries, ex-army personnel, and representatives of 26 local organisations in Mundgod. Following the reception, the delegation conducted inspection tours of the settlement office and the BRDL office. During their visit to the BRDL office, the MPs also gained insights into the commendable voluntary contributions made by the Tibetans of Mundgod.
At 10 am, the delegation convened a meeting with members of the Local Tibetan Assembly at the LTA hall. Following the meeting, they paid their respects at the Phodrang and conducted inspections of various sections and projects within the Tibetan Cooperative Society. Subsequently, the delegation visited the Shiwatso Library, the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), and its tailoring class.
The Shiwatso Library, frequented by approximately 200 to 300 students annually, has been instrumental in providing educational resources. The tailoring class initiated by TWA has empowered over 20 women to date. Moreover, projects undertaken to safeguard women in the community, such as providing support to new mothers and those with multiple children are implemented. Notably, a commendable initiative involves assisting elderly residents of the old-age home on a monthly basis with bathing and laundry. Between 2022 and 2023, the project supporting new mothers successfully aided 510 women, reflecting the positive impact of this noble initiative on the well-being of the community.
In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Men-Tsee-Khang, the old-age home, and the Lhamo Tsokpa (Tibetan Opera Association). At the health care centre, the Members of Parliament (MPs) were informed about the centre’s bi-weekly mental health teleconsultation and other ongoing initiatives. Following this, the delegation proceeded to the ex-army association, where they paid tribute to the sacrifices of former members of the army by offering butter lamps and flowers at the martyrs’ pillar. They also met with a senior monk of Buxar, Geshe Palden Drakpa, at Drepung Loseling. Later in the evening, the Drago Association hosted a dinner in honour of the MPs.
On January 16th, the Members of Parliament (MPs) visited the primary Sambhota Tibetan School (STS), also known as Sampa School, where they were warmly welcomed by the students, teachers, and staff. During the morning assembly, the MPs addressed the students, emphasising the significant accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ongoing Tibetan struggle, and the importance of cultivating a habit of book reading. The school, with 229 students, is dedicated to fostering holistic development by focusing on art, calligraphy, and music, and it has taken steps to eliminate the use of plastics.
Following this, the delegation toured the Sambhota Tibetan School (hostel), conducting inspections of its classes and compounds. The school accommodates 328 students, including both hostel residents and day scholars. At the morning assembly, the MPs reiterated key points, including the remarkable achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the current critical situation in Tibet, the significance of students and teachers in nation-building, and other pertinent topics.
In the afternoon, a public gathering was convened at the settlement hall, where the Tibetan Settlement Officer (TSO) provided the Members of Parliament (MPs) with a comprehensive overview of the settlement’s total area and population. The briefing also touched upon the local Tibet supporters, including the Bharat Tibbat Sahyog Manch (BTSM), Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association (ITFA), and the recently formed Indo Tibet Friendship Society.
During the public gathering, MP Wangdue Dorjee highlighted the remarkable achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shed light on the current critical situation in Tibet. Meanwhile, MP Tenzin Jigdal delved into the global political status concerning Tibet. Following the informative talks, the delegation paid their respects at the Kalachakra ground and monastery. Later in the evening, a dinner was hosted by the Tawo Association in honour of the MPs.
On January 17th, a visit was made to the Sambota Tibetan School (STS) in camp six, accommodating 86 students. The school actively promotes projects such as encouraging students to read a minimum of 100 books annually and discouraging the use of plastics. The morning assembly featured a diverse range of presentations, including essays, poems, opera, and cultural performances. The two Members of Parliament (MPs) addressed the assembly, highlighting the significant accomplishments of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and emphasising the importance of fostering a habit of reading. The students also marked Lhakar (white Wednesday) with traditional Tibetan dances. At 10 am, a visit was paid to the baby creche of camp 6, the children’s ground of camp 9, and the newly arrived Tibetan house of camp 10. Respect was paid at Norbu Ri, followed by attendance at a lunch hosted by the Jora association.
Additionally, the MPs met with Shri Gangu Bai Ramesh Manakar, Deputy Commissioner, and District Magistrate, expressing gratitude for the assistance provided to the Tibetan community in Mundgod. During the meeting, an overview of the Tibetan struggle and the current critical situation in Tibet was presented. An appeal was made for assistance to the Tibetan community in the area, particularly in light of recent crop failures due to adverse weather conditions, and for other benefits related to RTC-Record of Rights, Tenancy, and Crops. The day concluded with the MPs attending a dinner hosted by the sports association, where they had the opportunity to meet Frans de Reeper of the Dolma Foundation.
On January 18th, the MPs embarked on a series of visits to Drepung Tashi Gomang school and Loseling school, paying respects at Drepung Loseling, Drepung Gomang, Drepung Lachi, Sakya Monastery, and Ratoe Monasteries. A total of 26 Tibetan associations hosted a lunch in honour of the MPs. In the afternoon, they visited Men-Tsee-Khang in Drepung, which attends to over 150 patients daily. The doctors from this facility visit Goa once a month to provide medical care. The MPs also inspected the plantation site and cattle section.
In the evening, the MPs engaged in discussions with monks from Drepung Gomang, Sakya, Ratoe, and Kagyu monasteries at Drepung Lachi hall. MP Wangdue Dorjee highlighted the remarkable achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, shedding light on the current critical situation in Tibet. Meanwhile, MP Tenzin Jigdal delved into the global political status concerning Tibet. The day concluded with the MPs being honoured with a dinner hosted by Drepung Lachi.
On January 19th, the Members of Parliament (MPs) commenced their day with a breakfast meeting organised by the regional Chushi Gangdruk. Following this, they participated in the Bhoomi Puja, a consecration ceremony, for the renovation of roads in camp 3 and 6, which were in a state of disrepair. The road renovation project was financially supported by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department (RDPR). As honoured guests at the Bhoomi Puja, the MPs inaugurated the road renovation project. Subsequently, they visited Gaden Shartse and Jangtse schools, engaging in interactions with both students and teachers. Gaden Jangtse School accommodates 503 students, while Gaden Shartse School has 700 students.
Thereafter, they met with Gaden Jangtse Khen Rinpoche (abbot) and paid their respects at Gaden Lachi, Gaden Shartse, Gaden Jangtse, and Nyingma monastery. They also paid their reverence at Jangchub Choeling nunnery and spoke to nuns there. MP Wangdue Dorjee highlighted the remarkable achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shed light on the current critical situation in Tibet. Meanwhile, MP Tenzin Jigdal delved into the global political status concerning Tibet.
In the afternoon, a meeting took place with Police Officer Shri B. S. Lokapur at the local police station, where the MPs urged for the continued protection of the Tibetan community in Mundgod by the police department. Following this, the MPs expressed their appreciation to the Public Works Department (PWD) and RDPR for their road and path projects in the settlement. They also appealed for the construction of canals along the roads. Later, a meeting was held with Tenzin Choenyi, the director of the Tibetan Heart Foundation, who briefed them on the organisation’s initiatives.
Subsequently, the MPs met with the presidents and members of the Indo Tibetan Friendship Association and Indo Tibetan Friendship Society. These organisations, with Tibet supporters who actively participated in campaigns during the 2008 uprising in Tibet, assured their continued involvement in Tibet-related campaigns until freedom is restored in Tibet.
In the evening, at a gathering of monks from Gaden Shartse and Nyingma monasteries at Gaden Lachi hall, MP Wangdue Dorjee highlighted the remarkable achievements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and shed light on the current critical situation in Tibet. Simultaneously, MP Tenzin Jigdal discussed the global political status concerning Tibet. The dinner for MPs was hosted by Gaden Lachi.
On January 20th, a meeting was held with Gen Tashi Tseten, the most senior monk, where the MPs paid their respects at Gaden Jangtse Tehor house. This was followed by paying respects at Drepung Loling Tehor house and visiting its library. Subsequently, they headed to Goa to continue their periodic visitation programme.
–Filed by Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat