Dharamshala: Sikyong Penpa Tsering visited TCV Gopalpur, Tibetan business owners based in Chamunda, Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies and Tong-Len School as part of his assessment tour of Tibetan institutions in and around Dharamsala.
Sikyong began his assessment tour with a visit to TCV Gopalpur, where he was welcomed by the Principal-led staff and students of the school upon arrival. He was taken on a tour of the homes and classes, after which he addressed the staff and students of the school at Sherab Woenang Hall.
He spoke about the establishment of TCV schools in exile, its role in providing education, and all other needs to nurture Tibetan youth. However, since 2008, the number of Tibetans escaping from Tibet has drastically declined due to stringent Chinese policies in Tibet. In addition, migration and falling natality have contributed to the student population decline.
Sikyong advised, “As Tibetans, one should know the circumstances under which its independence was lost as it will remind one of one’s duty and provide impetus to work harder.” He apprised the gathering of the importance of awareness about the Central Tibetan Administration’s structure, functions, nature, goals and policies. In his advice to students, he said that they need to learn about Tibet to be spokespersons of Tibet in the future once they reach college. He also spoke about the geostrategic significance of Tibet and its environment and the impact of Tibetan religion and culture on world peace and global welfare.
Concerning that, Sikyong apprised them of the chronology of Tibetan history and the Sino-Tibet relationship while stressing the historical independent status of Tibet, which is supported by the research findings of international legal scholar Michael van Walt van Praag and Professor Lau, who have authored two books which he recommended for reading.
After concluding his tour of TCV Gopalpur, Sikyong visited the Chamunda-based Tibetan business community and interacted with them. He listened to their grievances and assured them that he would assess them.
In the afternoon, he visited Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies and addressed the staff and students on the Tibetan issue. He briefed on the Middle Way Policy initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and implemented by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile; the 16th Kashag’s efforts to tweak the strategy while adhering to the same policy to stress the historical independent status of Tibet which has become necessary firstly, due to China’s manufacturing of a false narrative and secondly, due to the need to raise awareness on genuine autonomy.
Apart from that, Sikyong apprised them of the surveillance state imposed by China on citizens’ movements and the deteriorating political and economic situation. He also spoke on the evolving geostrategic policy and the opportunities it presented for the Tibetan movement, which the Tibetan administration is utilising to its maximum potential. This was followed by Sikyong answering the questions of the staff and students.
Following the address, Sikyong left for Tong-Len school and addressed them on the historical Indo-Tibet relationship. The students presented a Buddhist philosophical debate in Hindi.
Sikyong inspects classes.