Indian Express

‘Tibetan Children Face An Identity Crisis, Says Writer’
by Express News Service
(The New Indian Express | October 9, 2003)

"Tibet: The Cry of the Snowlion," a three-day cultural festival on Tibet, ended with some poignant remarks on the position of Tibet, its lost glory and the attempts of young Tibetans to revive it.

"The children of those Tibetans who fled Tibet following an uprising in 1959 and settled in India are at crossroads today. They face an identity crisis and do not know where they belong to", said Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue. "Yet the Tibetan cause never fails to stir them. They are extremely passionate about their motherland, which is something heartening", Tsundue said. "They are like lamps which continue to flicker and help keep the issue in the limelight. Sadly, though they chase a dream, they do not know its shape or colour, for they have never witnessesd the glory of their country firsthand", he lamented.

Hence the need for such events and festivals which not only brought Indian students closer to their Tibetan counterparts, but also help Tibetan students know more about where they reallly belonged, Tsundue added.

Elaborating on the states role in furthering the Tibetan cause, he said the Karnataka Govt, had provided us with land to build homes. Today, there are 30,000 Tibetans in four major, Tibetan camps in the state, in Hubli, Coorg, Hunsur and Chamrajnagar, he said.

In his address, CA Kallianpur of Friends of Tibet said the Chinese oppression of Tibet was "condemnable". "China is an authoritarian country, which has built its nation by subjugating others", he said.

Indian Liberal Group national secretary Giridhar Prabhu opined that Tibet had always been a peace loving country. "Subjugation of such a country, which is powerless, as far as modern weaponry and sophisticated ammunitions are concerned, is not heroism", Prabhu said. "Heroism, lies in the hearts of the Tibetans inside as well as outside their country, who have a deep sense of patriotsim towards their motherland", he said.

The Chinese nation was built on fear and force. Strong public opinion could help bring the Tibetan cause into the mainstream, he said. Referring to a letter written by the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabbhai Patel the then Prime Minsiter Jawaharlal Nehru in 1950 on the Tibetan cause, he said such culture of free communication at the highest levels should be revived.

The three day cultural festival focused on all aspects of the Tibetan life and life style and social setup. On October 6th, the first day of the festival which was inagurated by IGP Dharampal Negi, a photo exhibition titled 'Long look Homewards' also opened. Cultural programmes like the snowlion dance kept the audience engrossed.

On the second day, films and documentaries on Tibet were shown. These included 'Tibet: The Cry of the Snowlion', 'Escape from Tibet', 'Lungta: Windhorse' and 'Kundun'.