The Afternoon

‘To The Point’
by Prachi Karnik
(The Afternoon | March 10, 2003)

Prachi Karnik interviews Tenzin Tsundue, poet and General Secretary of Friends of Tibet (INDIA)

Q: What is the Tibetan National Uprising Day all about?
A: In 1959 when China invaded Tibet, the Chinese consolidated the occupation of Tibet. People from all over Tibet thronged into the streets of Lhasa in a spontaneous demonstration when the Chinese military sprayed bullets into the crowds and massacred 10,000 Tibetans in front of the Potala Palace, the Capital building. This uprising of the people is commemorated world-wide by Tibetans and their supporters as the Tibetan National Uprising Day.

Q: What programmes are lined up for today?
A: Friends of Tibet (INDIA) and the Tibetans of Mumbai has organised an exhibition of rare photographs of the destruction of Tibet by the Chinese, at Churchgate from 7am to 10pm. Besides, the Tibetan students and Indian supporters will be holding a rally opposite the Hindu Gymkhana and unfurl banner for protest nearly 100 meters long along the seafront at the Marine Drive.

Q: How will your actions here give momentum for the struggle Free Tibet?
A: Around 1,20,000 Tibetans in India and a few thousand worldwide cannot go to Tibet for the cause. Unfortunately we Tibetans are not allowed to step into the country. What we are doing is creating awareness among the people throughout the world of what exactly is happening in Tibet, the continuous atrocities faced by the Tibetans in their own land and also educate them and generate support from people.

Q: What are your expectations from the Indian government?
A: We want Indians to recognise us as Tibetans from the land of Tibet and not as a part of China. This is the only grudge we hold against the Indian government as they consider us as Chinese. We are not Chinese. We have our own identity. In 1914, the British India and Independent Tibet had negotiated over the MacMohan Line during the 'Shimla Conference'. However, today the Indian government is negotiating with China over the Sino-Indian border. The Indian government should realise this and change their policies accordingly.