‘Cyberspace Helps Sustain Tibetan Struggle’
by Tharakan Joseph
(Bombay Times. December 10, 1999)
Sethu Das, founder and president of Friends of Tibet (India)
Sethu Das has aided and abetted the Tibetan freedom struggle in his
own small way by establishing an e-mail club.
logs on to the revolution to find out a little more:
From Mumbai to Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, the distance seems to
be getting shorter by the day for Sethu Das, a computer graphics
freak from Borivli. More so, after he launched an e-mail club
called Friends of Tibet (INDIA), dedicated to Tibetan refugees in
The e-mail club, which aimed at providing news from Dharamsala and
various Tibetan settlements in the country, now boasts of hundreds
of membership from the world over, and is growing steadily with
every passing day. The club and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC)
have now joined hands to organise a week-long Tibetan festival
in early 2000 in Mumbai. 'We are planning film festival, camps,
seminars, music concerts, talks by religious and political leaders
from Tibet all over India, including Dharamsala. The Festival of
Tibet in Mumbai will flag off the organisation's programmes in rest
of the country,' says Sethu.
The highlight of the festival is a panorama of Tibetan-centric
documentaries and feature films that are adored as classics. The
three feature films likely to be screened are
(by Bernardo Bertilucci),
(Martin Scorcese) and
Seven Years In Tibet,
a film based on Heinrich Harrer novel.
A score of documentaries have already been lined up, including
Why Are We Silent
(Garthwait & Griffin),
The Shadow Circus: CIA in Tibet,
Tibet: My Country,
Escape From Tibet
The Tibetan Book Of The Dead I & II.
Many reknowned writers, journalists, painters and human rights
activists have joined hands with the organisation to make the
festival the biggest event of 2000. More details are available
Sethu Das himself visits Dharamsala quite frequently. One of the
biggest Tibetan refugee settlements in India and the land of Buddhist
monasteries, Dharamsala has ever held a fascination for him. He
learnt the unique Tibetan culture and its traditional nuances,
after interviewed many political prisoners, ex-army chiefs and Dalai
Lama's close confidantes. 'Everyone has to say a story of torture
that they suffered at the hands of the Chinese police,' he says.
'We want to inform people about the unique cultural and religious
identity of the Tibetan people, and to work to preserve that identity
and assure the survival and human rights of the Tibetan people,'
'Every day, over 100 Tibetan refugees cross over the Himalayas
for political asylum in India. It's a struggle to keep up a dying
identity, and ours is an attempt to keep the Tibetan issue alive,'
Among other future activities of the organisation is a virtual
showroom for Tibetan handicraft, wherein the Net surfer can place
orders in the cyber space.