Every first Saturday of the month, DIIR’s Social Media Desk profiles a civil servant of Central Tibetan Administration s a part of its shout-out campaign, This week we are pleased to profile Ms. Tsetan Kalsang, Joint Secretary at the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
Social Media Executive (SME): Could you briefly tell us about yourself?
Tsetan Kalsang (TK): Tashi Delek! First of all, I would like to express that I felt so privileged for being approached for this interview on the ground that I was one of the recipients of the CTA’s award for an outstanding performer for the year 2019. The announcement posted on the official website of CTA had gone viral to some extent for some days because of which I happened to receive many complimentary messages even from my far-flung friends with whom I was out of touch for a very long time. I, therefore, would like to thank tibet.net for bringing us closer again. Friends near-by cheered me up by bringing white khataks and complimentary gifts. These are all out of my expectations. It not only made me feel so spoiled but at the same time compelled me to miss my beloved parents. I especially wished my dear late father was also with me to celebrate the event that day. He had been so supportive of my education and everything. (I can still remember him taking me by my hand and making rounds around various bookstores at the markets near the famous clock tower of Dehradun, to look for an English dictionary for me as I might have demanded. Looking back, I was surprised by his strong determination to support his girl child of a ninth class in searching for the book she wanted, despite himself being illiterate that too walking tirelessly under that hot summer sun of Dehradun. At every bookstore we reached, my father would let me tell the bookseller what I wanted. When I expressed dissatisfaction over a book shown, he would then take me to the next book store. He cared so much for me that he was ever ready to help me at any cost to get what I wanted. Finally, we ended up buying a good thick Collin’s English Dictionary. He was very happy that we got one. He always used to take great pride and rejoice in my outstanding academic results in school. How I wished that I could make him feel proud and happy one more time. But sadly I couldn’t.) Thank you so much everyone for this nice gesture of showering me with your love and warm wishes. As for the award, it undoubtedly carries with itself a strong message which means a great milestone for every civil servant who receives it. But truthfully speaking, I am of the kind who thinks it makes no difference whether you receive the award or not. It serves the very purpose of joining the CTA as far as one works wholeheartedly with great sincerity, dedication, and determination. Every year recipients of the award represent all the CTA staff of their sincere dedication and untiring efforts towards successful functioning of the CTA. But still, like others, I do feel equally proud and thankful for being selected as one though I never had the slightest dream of achieving it.
Regarding myself, I am Tseten Kalsang. I was born in Delhi and was brought up in Mussoorie. I did my schooling up to secondary education from Tibetan Homes School and completed senior secondary education from Central School for Tibetans, Mussoorie. Thereafter, I did my graduation from the GCG (Government College for Girls) Chandigarh under Punjab University. I joined CTA in the year 2000 after completing a year’s intensive training course from Sarah, organized by the Public Service Commission of CTA. I was first posted in the Election Commission as a section officer. After completion of six months’ probation period, my service was regularized and I was transferred to the Department of Home (DoH). After serving on the same post for almost 6 years I had to attempt for the post of Under Secretary by giving examinations, as at that time there was a rule that no section officers would be promoted to the post of Under Secretary unless they sit for exams. I cleared the exams, got promoted to Under Secretary, and posted in the same Department. As the years passed by I got promoted to Deputy Secretary and subsequently to Joint Secretary but remained in the same department with changes in the nature of my jobs in accordance with my designations. A major part of my service years was spent in the DoH. I worked there for almost 17 whole years. In the mid-July 2017, when my beloved father breathed his last, I had to take 20 days’ leave without pay, after returning from which I was transferred to the Parliamentary Secretariat of Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE). I am still serving here.
SME: Please explain your job description and how best does your work represent you or vice versa?
TK: As it’s clear from above that I am running into twenty plus years’ service in CTA. A Larger portion of it was spent in DoH. My job in DoH was mainly administrative work ranging from filing system to decision making. DoH taught me so many things. Like filing of documents, composing letters, putting notes and making recommendations on the noting sheets, making of budget and project proposals, drafting out minutes for various meetings, making decisions rightly, preparing annual reports of the department as well as editing those that we receive from the offices of the Tibetan Settlement Officers, executing every administrative work in compliance with the respective rules and regulations of CTA, etc. Just as I gained a lot from it I believe I had never failed to give them back to DoH, the basis on which I am still able to serve in TPiE.
SME: What inspired you to serve the CTA?
TK: My strong, unwavering faith and belief in the compassionate leadership of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and my personal quest for the need of a proper medium of expressing my gratitude for all the academic opportunities I received inspired me to serve the CTA.
SME: What does it mean for you to be a civil servant in CTA?
TK: To be a civil servant in CTA means keeping our struggle alive. CTA is the most viable institution through which we can preserve and promote our religion, culture, and traditions and regain our lost country. I consider it a great blessing being a civil servant under the leadership of His Holiness the great 14th Dalai Lama.
SME: How best do you think you can make a difference to CTA?
TK: Just as everyone has its own distinctive way of contributing its bits in the smooth working of the CTA. I too think am doing my part by being diligent, sincere, and dedicated.
SME: Who is your role model and why?
TK: Obviously, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. He’s the light that soothes the lives of many on this earth.
SME: What is your piece of advice for the young Tibetans serving or wishing to serve at CTA?
TK: Always be true to yourself while serving in the CTA.