Deccan Herals

‘Tibetan Youth Urged to Carry on their Freedom Struggle’
by DH news service
(Deccan Herald | October 9, 2003)

The youth in Tibet are determined to take the Tibetan struggle for freedom to its logical end and no power of suppression or curtailing the freedom of expression by the Chinese authoritarian rule could stop Tibet from becoming a free country, said Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue, here today.

Speaking on "New Generation Tibetans" at the end of a three-day Festival of Tibet, Mr Tsundue recalled his experiences in a Tibetan jail for three months when he visited that country unauthorisedly after he finished his education in India. He said he saw youth activists in jail who were fired by the spirit of patriotism and who were ready for any scrifice for the sake of freedom.

The youth among the Tibetan refugees in India were suffering from a crisis of identity as they were not being educated in their traditional style and the infuence of the western pattern of education being imparted in India and influence of the cultures and languages around them could be seen in their life, the activist said.

However a deep longing for the land of their ancestors and their culture was in them and he expressed the confidence that the youth would carry forward the torch of the struggle for Tibetan freedom. Mr Tsundue said his most valuable gift to his parents would be to take them back to the land in Tibet where they were born.

He expressed wonder that despite the fact that there were over 300 Tibetan students in Mangalore, many Indian youth who interacted with him did not know much about the Tibetan cause although the Tibetan youth mingled with the local youth and shared many things in social and culture life. He wanted the Tibetan youth to play their effective role in propagating the Tibetan cause with the people of the region where they lived in.

Mr G Giridhar Prabhu, National Secretary, Indian Liberal Group while participating in the programme said there was a great need for building strong public opinion for the cause of Tibetan Independence and the public opinion should move the national government to take a firm stand on the issue.

Mr CA Kallianpur, All India Co-ordinator, Friends of Tibet (India) speaking on “Why Tibet Matters to India” said it mattered a lot as Tibet is an immediate neighbour for India. “Throughout histroy India has never had common borders with China. It is only after Tibet’s occpuation by China that we have had common borders and all the problems with China like the Sino-Indian war of 1962 and the tremendous increase in defence expenditure."

"Tibet has a very strategic location in the heart of Asia and its also the source of Asia’s major rivers. It is for this reason that the Chinese have gone about methodically by first building the Aksai-Chin highway in the 1950’s connecting Sinkiang to Tibet and the Gansu-Tibet, Sichuan–Tibet and Yunnan-Tibet highways. Then the Karakorum highway in the 1970’s through the Khunjerab pass in Pakistan-occupied part of Kashmir connecting Pakistan with China. They are now speeding the railway line to Lhasa which they are planning to complete by 2007 even before the Beijing Olympics in 2008”, Mr Kallianpur said.

Quoting the Chinese statement to Indian Defence Minister that they planned to become number one financial power by 2020, Mr Kallianpur said their activities in Tibet portended that China wanted to becomme a number one military power even before that.

Mr Kallianpur quoted the remaarks of General (Retd) SK Sinha once saying that the status of Tibet is the first line of defence, thereby meaning that if one is clear about the status of Tibet, half the battle is won.

Mr Sonam Tenzin, General Secretary, Tibetan Students Association Mangalore, proposed a vote of thanks. The Tibetan food festival held today as part of the programe attracted many local citizens.