IT is after a gap of almost two years, Tibet Support Groups worldwide were coming out to celebrate the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They were organising symbolic events while cooperating with the restrictions imposed due to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic that originated in Wuhan China. This year on July 6th, the Tibetan community and support groups celebrated the 87th birthday of Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and Buddhist practitioners. The day is also observed as World Tibet Day (WTD), initiated in Chicago in 1997 at an informal meeting between Tendzin Choegyal, the Dalai Lama's younger brother, and Richard Rosenkranz, a Pulitzer Prize nominee in history and a former correspondent from the US Senate.
In Mumbai, India, Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi released "Cancer: A Tibetan Perspective, a Research Paper published by Friends of Tibet [Research] on the 87th birthday of HH the Dalai Lama and World Tibet Day. While in Kochi, Kerala, India Friends of Tibet Foundation associates collaborated with the Men-Tsee-Khang, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of HH the Dalai Lama (Kerala Branch) to observe the day with a variety of small events such as a World Tibet Day cake cutting ceremony; group discussion followed by a Buddha's delight feast. Malayalam film producer Elias Eraaly lighted the traditional Tibetan butter lamp in front of the Dalai Lama photograph to mark the beginning of World Tibet Day events in the city. Githanjali Sarath cut the cake on the 87th birthday of HH the Dalai Lama while Dr Sonam Palmo (CMO, Men-Tsee-Khang Kerala Branch) offered the first piece as an offering to His Holiness. Sethu Das (Founder, Friends of Tibet) presented a copy of "Cancer: A Tibetan Perspective" to Dr Sonam Palmo (CMO, Men-Tsee-Khang, Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of HH Dalai Lama: Kerala) during the event. Members of the local Tibetan community and Indian supporters of the cause joined the low-profile event held at the Men-Tsee-Khang branch clinic in Kochi.
Culture Unplugged, an organisation that joins the worldwide celebration of the Dalai Lama's birthday every year by offering film festivals on the issue of Tibet and Buddhism, presented "Sunrise/Sunset" (2009 | Dir: Vitali Manski) from its collection of documentaries in honor of the 87th birthday of the Dalai Lama and in recognition of his outstanding contributions for the benefit of humanity.
In the meantime, a unique union of both Indian and Sri Lankan communities of Tanzania occurred at an event organised by Friends of Tibet (Tanzania) at Arusha City on World Tibet Day. Representing Friends of Tibet, Rohit Singh spoke about the significance of World Tibet Day and the need for supporting the cause of Tibet in order to save the world from the menace of Chinese expansionism.
Tharanathan AK, representative of Friends of Tibet Foundation kicked off the next phase of #SpreadingMasks campaign from The Mask Lab and Friends of Tibet Foundation in Kerala by handing over free facemasks to the representative of the Stride Charitable Society, Thrissur on the auspicious day of July 6, 2022.
Background: Richard Rosenkranz proposed the concept of World Tibet Day (WTD), saying it could become an annual worldwide event, designed to help the Tibetan people regain essential freedoms. He also suggested this event could be a way to showcase and celebrate the unique value of Tibetan culture and thought. Enthusiastic about the idea, Tendzin Choegyal suggested WTD should be held in July, linked to his brother's birthday — in order to increase potential support among Tibetans. Believing that the proposed event held great promise, they offered the idea to His Holiness — who gave them his blessing and his warm support.
World Tibet Day was created with three main goals: first to create an annual worldwide event to help restore essential freedoms for those living in Chinese-occupied Tibet; second to increase awareness of the genocidal threats to the Tibetan people; and third, to celebrate the unique beauty and value of Tibetan culture and thought. Founded in 1998, World Tibet Day has grown into one of the most important events on the Tibetan calendar. ◼