Monday, July 27, 2009

Meeting Wang Lixiong

This weekend went superbly well. I had the opportunity of meeting one of the foremost Chinese writer and political commentator on Tibet, Wang Lixiong.

We were able to invite him for a dinner and an informal meeting. It was at Lobsang Wangyal's studio. Lobsang was kind enough to be the host for the gathering. Our goal for the meeting was actually different then many other similar meetings.

The idea was to tell him more about exile then to ask him about China or Tibet. We wanted to make him familiar with the realities in exile.

Lobsang Wangyal was kind enough to present various aspects of exile life through different examples. Wang Lixiong seemed extremely interested in "Miss Tibet Pageant" and "Tibetan Olympics". He expressed his happiness in seeing how different individuals are trying to do new things.

We had earlier heard rumours that some Tibetan guy banged his fist on the table and left the meeting on one such meeting with Wang Lixiong in Dharamsala. I thought it was just a rumour, but we came to know that it actually happened. Whatever, this guy's reasons were, I think, it was not a nice thing to do. His Holiness the Dalai lama has always stressed upon the need for dialogue with common Chinese people. Banging our fists on the table would only harm this cause. It made me sad, as well as embarrassed. Therefore, we made sure that we present to him a positive side of the Tibetan people and its culture. Making sure that we are not in anyway disrespectful or unreasonable.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dalai Lama For Tibetan Youth

In the history of revolution and struggle for freedom, the role of youth has always been prominent. Youth and change are two words that always go along. Such is the power of youth, of initiative and of the desire to move forward.

Youth movement saw its emergence in various forms throughout history and made enormous changes in how we look at history now.

Movements like Hippies, Punks, SNCC, SDS, American Youth Congress, Communist Youth and even Hitler Youth, played significant roles in the past. You can click on the links to read more about these youth movements.

Having a leader of the stature of the Dalai Lama, with a wisdom beyond doubt and a character above par, is an enormous responsibility.

Movements in history have witnessed how leaders in different periods of time realised the importance the power of youth and channeled it in different ways. It is high time, that His Holiness reaches out to the Tibetan Youth in a more extensive and intensive manner.

A straight one-on-one dialogue with the Dalai lama for the Tibetan youths must be organised where all kinds of views can be put forward and not just some censored questions. It is of utmost importance, that the actual voice of youth and not interpreted or mediated views, reach the Dalai Lama. Of course, his holiness is an extremely busy persona, and yet one cannot deny how significant it is for him to have a straight discussion with the Tibetan Youth. Afterall he is the leader of Tibetan people and the fate of Tibet lies in the hands of the future generation.

As a youth I feel it is the need of the hour that the Tibetan youths get an actual chance of dialogue with His Holiness.

He is a leader and a persona in the Tibetan History unlike ever before. Tibetan youths I am sure will be more than eager to have a dialogue with him. Such a gathering should not end up being a short sermon of religious teachings but rather become a platform of discussion. Many Tibetan youths, including myself, have so much to express, so much to tell, so much to thank him for.

An annual seven day consortium of youth representatives from all Universities with Tibetan students, young Tibetans who are working in various cities as well as the exile government must be held.

Such an enclave might in some ways prove to be much more useful and insightful than the so called "Special Meeting" held last year.

I will write to the office of The Dalai Lama requesting such an event to be organised in any near future.

Tibetan youths want His Holiness and we want him to guide us, to listen to us, to advise us and understand us. We want to have a direct contact with him without the usual censoring of questions and the limitations of traditional etiquette protocols.

Once such an enclave materialises, the Tibetan youths will be in a far more better position not only to convey their support for His Holiness, but also to express their views and grievances.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jeremy Brett's Portrayal of Sherlock Holmes

To Sherlock fans Jeremy Brett represented the quintessential representation of a character that has dominated the literature of detective stories. His perfect adoption of the role, from mannerisms to the intensity of Sherlock's character, leaves an unforgettable impression on those who watch him act.

I was a Sherlockian way back from my Junior school. Having read all of Sir Conan Doyle's stories over and over again, Sherlock Holmes is one such character that has seeped into my consciousness to a great extent.

To see Jeremy Brett portray this mammoth of a character was amazing.Its surprising that the image of Holmes I had built in my mind, came all alive when i watched the first episode "A Scandal in Bohemia", of the renowned series run by Granada Television. Then on I have always craved for more of Jeremy Brett playing holmes. What further fascinated me, was how the character of Sherlock Holmes affected the later life of this method actor. How he became obsessed and aloof like Holmes. And finally his sad demise due to manic depression. How a fictional character could affect a living person to such an extent is beyond my imagination.

I pay my tribute to this great actor. His role as Sherlock Holmes will forever remain imbibed in my memory of the legendary sleuth.

The best ever portrayal of Sherlock Holmes by british actor Jeremy Brett. To know more about Sherlock Holmes click here.

To learn more about Jeremy Brett go here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No Quick Fixes For Tibet

We Tibetans have been for so long and are still insufferably diseased from a condition of "Extreme Optimism". Not that Optimism to any extent is a bad thing, but in our case, it seems to have become an excuse for passivity and irrational complacency.

Perhaps this optimism in our struggle to return back soon to our homeland is more or less the reflection of the unflinching faith we have in His Holiness the Dalai lama. And yet we fail to see that even his optimism for the fate of Tibet is balanced by actions which are futuristic and visionary. Despite the majority of Tibetan's belief even right after 1959, that we will soon return back, The Dalai Lama had the vision to start working on establishing schools, settlements, monasteries and a functioning government in exile, just in case.

What is sad now, is the fact that majority of the Tibetans in exile are still illusioned with the same idea that we will soon go back to Tibet. What is sadder, is another fact that many of the policies initiated by the exile government, in terms of education, employment, governance etc are all centred around this very idea of temporary stay in India. And this is doing some serious, serious damage.

Any policy followed to resolve the issue of Tibet, must not just be optimistics, promising and pretty at face but should also be balanced by checks that foresee even the worst of the scenarios when it comes to failures.The plain fact I am implying here is that we must have a back up plan.

What must seep into the hearts and minds of our policy makers, is the plain realisation of how China is becoming stronger day by day, how it is accumulating resources all across the globe, how the reaches of its soft power overwhelm even a nation as great as the United states and how it has successfully gained an edge in the the geopolitics of nations. Acceptance of this fact, should be sufficient enough to make them realise that any solution for Tibet if ever happens in the nearby future, will be on the terms of the Chinese. Just as plain and as simple as that. Now, this doesn't mean that we should give up and surrender our efforts in achieving our goals that run almost contrary to what the Chinese want. All it means, is to brace ourseleves for a longer period of struggle ahead, things change with time of course, but things don't change at a pace we Tibetans expect it to.

The smarter thing to do, the wiser thing to do and the most pragmatic thing to do, is to prepare ourselves for the coming future.

At the end of last year's Special Meeting, one of the remarks of His Holiness was the following," The beginning 20 years in exile, we all Tibetans were the same, had the same problems, dwelt and struggled in the same condition and improved our lives. For the last 30 years, i have seen a regression in all aspects of our exile life, there had been a lot of carelessness. If for the coming 20 years we still continue this way, then i don't see any hope for us." These were his clear words, surprisingly edited in many of the Tibetan news media. You can view the video of this remark below (listen carefully to the beginning of the speech).

What is clear here is the fact that even His Holiness is not exactly satisfied with what we have done and we are doing. Therefore, it is imperative that we must have a recourse that not only takes the cause of Tibet ahead but at the same time sustains it.

We have some serious issues on our hands which very few people seem to take notice of.

What after the Dalai lama?

Even though it is considered inauspicious to discuss about the death of the Dalai Lama while he is still present, yet we must break out of these traditional way of thinking that has shackled, otherwise many a great ideas.

I am sure that even His Holiness will want the Tibetans and policy makers to always think in a pragmatic, practical and prudent manner.

The implications of a situation where there is no Dalai Lama is extensive and precariously serious. More so for people who actually understand the mechanics of social fabric in exile. How dependent even the exile government is on His Holiness. How small things as permissions and licenses for all sorts of business TIbetans do will be affected? How the outlook of the Indian government and its current policy on dealing with Tibetan exiles will change when there is no Dalai Lama? All this and many other aspects of exile life will be deeply affected.

Of course then there is the whole bigger question of the issue of Tibet, the dialogue with Chinese and so on. How the interest of the world will change when there is no Dalai Lama? What will such a situation do to all those interested in the fate of Tibet? These are some really serious questions.

My projections might be just that, and yet its something that all my sense of reasoning tells me to be inevitable and imminent.Under such circumstances, why not then there are efforts in preparing the grounds for a future exile that still remains productive and improvises on the premises already established by His Holiness. We must start thinking for ourselves and shoulder many of the responsibilities of The Dalai Lama, it is our solemn duty and we owe it to His Holiness.

The Way Ahead

All I am trying to say here is that it is highly improbable that a solution for Tibet will be achieved in the nearby future. And I hope we have stopped believing in miracles the day Chinese forces started shelling the holy walls of the Potala.

What we must do now, is as simple as an old english proverb which i often repeat. "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

Now I must congratulate myself and fellow Tibetans in having deeply imbibed in us the quality of Hope, of Optimism. But now, its also the time to set ourselves ready and well prepared for the coming years in future.

The fate of Tibetans in exile will lie in the hands of the Tibetan government in exile once His Holiness is not there. The future of Tibetans in exile will be decided by the cumulative policies followed and implemented by the Tibetan government in exile. Under such distinct reality, it is of utmost importance that not just the people at the helm of leading the Tibetan government in exile, but also the structure in which it functions, is top notch and with least defects.

The need of a leader who will be able to shoulder the responsibilties of His Holiness in the most efficient manner is significant. You can read about it in my piece "here".

The structural changes, for example, reforms in the current electoral system in exile is a must for a more relevent future. Details of which come across in this piece"here".

It will be only with our resourcefulness and ingenuity of thought and actions, that the community of Tibetans in exile will not just thrive in numbers, but also flourish and become stronger and more effective. Our integration into the global community at every level is a must. Thats how the Jews did it, and I see no reason why Tibetans can't do that.

The only thing that will prompt us into this direction, is the realisation that, there will be "No Quick Fixes For Tibet"