(Dharamshala | April 11, 2002)
Dharamshala saw a different day on the April 11, 2002. People said that the twin streets of McLeod Ganj were deserted of Tibetans. Suddenly the Injis and Indialok started wondering, where have all the Tibetans gone?
A huge gathering of eight hundred Tibetans came and listened to Prof Samdhong Rinpoche (Kalon Tripa de facto Prime Minister) yesterday. The meeting began exactly at 5.30pm at the Yongling Day School, Dharamshala, with Dawa Tsering (ATPD Member and the Director of Yongling Day School) welcoming the speaker and the public. Dawa Gyaltsen (Indo-Tibet Friendship Society, Dharamshala) then took over the stage to introduce the bi-monthly discussion forum 'Heart-Of-The-Matter'. Introducing yesterday's inaugural talk 'Middle Way And The Future Of Tibet' he welcomed the Kalon Tripa to talk on the issue.
'Heart-of-the-Matter' seeks to provide an open platform where any and all matters of importance and interest to Tibet and the Tibetan people can be debated and discussed freely and frankly.
The talk went for half an hour, where Kalon Tripa summarily said that the Middle Way approach is 'the best choice' to resolve the issue of Tibet. Earlier, he narrated briefly how the concept of Middle Way came into being in the Tibetan polity. Moderator Dawa Gyaltsen then declared the house open for discussion. The question-answer session was one of the most dramatic as well as intellectually stimulating part of the event. The questions asked from the public were thought provoking and were sincere expressions of concerned Tibetans.
'Heart-Of-The-Matter' will now happen twice, every month. The first and third Saturdays of every month in Dharamshala is marked for this close to heart, free and frank discussion. The amount of participation received is a clear sign of the success of such a forum.
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'Heart-Of-The-Matter': Regardless of where one may stand on the issue of the 'Middle Way' policy or 'Independence', the one fact that every Tibetan must face is that with more and more and more Chinese moving into Tibet every day — time is running out. What is more, among the many problems confronting the Tibetan people, the lack of open channels of communication between the people inside Tibet and those in exile is a major obstacle. Even in exile, despite the outstanding efforts and achievements of the Tibetan exile government as well as various organisations and individuals - there does not seem to be adequate platforms through which to discuss and debate issues of public concerns and most of all to convey a sense of transparency in the functioning of the government.
'Heart-Of-The-Matter' was organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA) in Dharamshala on April 11, 2002