Monday, October 18, 2010

Elitist Relics Target Dr.Lobsang Sangay

Despite of my high hopes for a clean, dignified and objective oriented course of the Kalon Tripa election process (including campaign, debates, etc), one can hardly ignore, the amount of negativity being spewed around, at least in the web world. The major target of this negative campaigning is mostly focussed on Dr.Lobsang Sangay, someone who has come out to be counted as one of the favorites for the post. This is not surprising, as Dr.Lobsang la brings a new burst of energy and interest in the current elections. What surprises me, is the fact that majority of Tibetans are OK with this Change. Thunderous noise of applaud, every time Dr.Lobsang la enters a debate or a lecture, is evidence enough to prove that. So whatever critique surrounds him, is mostly from a small group of people I would like to call "Elitist Relics".

Criticism of a public figure is the right of every individual living in a democracy. I am in fact a very critical person myself. On many occasions, I encourage my fellow young Tibetans to imbibe this value, rather than accepting everything anyone puts into ones mouth.

What bothers me most, is how some individuals, group of individuals or an organisation, tries to influence and in some cases steer public opinion, by spreading information completely off the radar of actual facts, at least by a margin of, lets say, INSANITY. This is something I am not okay with, and towards these people, I have the least respect, whether they like it or not.

I know its a common practice of corruption( of ideas) being followed across the globe in most democratic nations. But aren't we supposed to be the followers of His Holiness, of Buddhism, of truth etc etc. Its very idealistic, but obviously I had high hopes. Anyhow, so this wasn't the case to be.

Now coming back to these "Elitist Relics", I distinguish them in groups of 3 categories.

The first one comprises of high headed individuals who got an opportunity for education, exposure etc etc, when parents and grandparents of common Tibetans were digging dirt by making roads across Shimla borders. While a common Tibetan child was getting education in the worst of human conditions possible at a CST back then, these people were getting private education at an English medium school, in some of the best locations across India. Of course then, these would be the people in a better position to work for the Tibetan government in exile. Sometimes, service comes out of inheritance and not achieved through excellence.

These "Elitist Relics" are one of example of them. Obviously, when a person like Dr.Lobsang la, comes out of the herd of thousands of common Tibetans, by virtue of his excellence, things don't sit well with these other individuals and they get uncomfortable to this change.

The second one comprises of a group of individuals, some self-declared intellectuals, some arm chair thinkers and some just toady wannabes. These people somehow have thought of themselves as sole caretakers, or I would rather say, tyrants of the Tibetan intellectual world. Rise of a common Tibetan, not just as a leader, but also as a highly educated intellectual, threatens these people. Jealousy obviously is the result, and then comes groundless banter of negative critique, subtly hidden within smart ass words and sentences. Jamyang Norbu la, becomes a shining example of this category. His recent critique of Dr.Lobsang la, not only lacked substance, but in many ways was malicious and filled with ill intent. I never expected such stooping down from a person of his stature, may be its the effect of age, I guess.

Now, I agree with Jamyang la's unrelenting philosophy "that everything that happens in the Tibetan world must be a debate about Rangzen and Middle way", I do not agree that everything else is seemingly trivial or in fact frivolous, as is clear in his writings on the Kalon Tripa elections.
There is just a few simple sentences I need to say, in response to lengthy articles by Jamyang la, Kalon Tripa might not be a big deal according to your view, however, it is a big deal for thousands of Tibetans in settlements, hundreds of unemployed Tibetan youths, for the sustenance and flourishing of Tibetan community in exile, for the hundreds of Tibetan schools that need a revival and many other problems.

A struggle whether its for Rangzen or Middle way or whatever, would essentially not survive, if the very people who carry that struggle do not flourish, both economically or intellectually as a society. Unless, Jamyang la wishes to live for another 100 years.

The last group mostly contains a small group of Tibetan youths, well educated and groomed overseas. What these youths fail to see, apart from the glamour of riding on the Tibet Inc, is an utmost failure to understand the real grass root problems of exile life in India, where majority of Tibetans live, not all of them have relatives in US or other countries. These group of youths are manipulated and channeled effectively by the above two categories of "Elitist Relics". Thus comes, unsubstantiated and foul critique of Dr.Lobsang la by a few of them, who are obviously influenced by their peers of "Elitist Relics". However, this group is not much to blame, there is not much of a choice when you develop your outlook about Tibet in a completely different environment, than a settlement or a Tibetan school in exile. Their understanding of the conditions of exile is mostly second hand, so they only get a superficial understanding of the problems exile society in India is facing.

My outspoken discomfort might not sit well with anyone associated with the above three groups, similarly, efforts by these groups to tarnish, harm and demean, a healthy democratic process that is leading to the election of the first common Tibetan to a post of Kalon Tripa, does not sit well with me too.


  1. Rinchen Tobgyal la is the manager of the website of the Lobsang Sangay campaign.

    Rinchen la also appears to be the interviewer in "Ten Questions for Dr. Lobsang Sangay."

    He should have disclosed this.

  2. Rinchen la, I suggest you post this on Phayul for others to view as well. Thoroughly enjoyed your piece here maybe perhaps we support the same candidate for the Kalon Tripa post. More so I am impressed because of how you had refrained from bashing the other candidates, as it is apparent even Jamyang la could not resist the opportunity.

  3. Dear Rinchen la...I would strongly suggest,that,you kindly post this article on all websites where Tibetans,and friends of ours flock together.
    This is one of the most beautifully written-piece in all fairness,and I think you should post it on,face-book etc. etc.if nothing else just for the sake of your writing skill.
    I am vying for Dr.LObsag Sangey; for now.He has been accused of doing/not doing/taking money etc left and right.But,he has not defended himself like he should.Not as yet at least! These are no small accusations.This is politics,yet unlike the politics in the regular world,ours is politics with grave responsibilities.We are talking about huge stakes on hands."THE SURVIVAL OF TIBET AS A NATION.TIBETANS AS A PEOPLE, TIBETAN BUDDHISM AS A RELIGION,AND TRADITION AS CULTURE".One needs to be absolutely,brutally honest and up-right here,yet play a clean politics.I have to see the rawness in him,in Dr.Lobsang Sangey la,unaffected, uninfluenced, and not bios,but honest and sincere.
    My vote is not for emotional criers,nor for any one kyidue.This vote from me shall go only to the most hopeful one.Does not matter who?

  4. Hi Rinchen, Great thoughts there and well written. Though i do not have a very detailed understanding of how things are in the tibetian society, one feedback based on your writing is that it definetly would awaken the "dead" spirits of the ones who belong in the third group of "Elitist Relics". These should be passed on to atleast the growing souls of the third group who are still not so late to realize where they need to head.

    Good Luck!

  5. Incisive and insightful.
    It must be rewarding to see LS la make a landslide victory in the preliminary election.
    Thank you.

  6. Rinchen la,
    While I applaud your actions and words in support of Tibetan democracy, I would suggest that you're falling victim to the spewing of negativity that you so rightly criticize. You characterize all critics of Lobsang Sangay la as egotistical and corrupt elitists, without any redeeming qualities or reason on their side . On the other hand, the supporters of Lobsang Sangay la are salt of the earth, true sons and daughters of Tibet.
    This is exactly the sort of superficial and divisive discourse that holds back the flourishing of democratic societies. So I hope as someone who professes a deep commitment to Tibetan democracy you will consider my opinion.
    Tashi delek! and please keep writing

  7. "elitist relics"!! ...somehow I get the feeling that you are using well-oiled terms coined by Beijing to justify their rule over Tibet...remember kudrag nyingpa ro lang gyab ki rey ta!!

  8. wow this extremely accurate. Thank you for sharing such an insightful piece

  9. For someone who has been a rookie in Tibetan politics like your Dr Lobsang Sangay La, THE RISE & FALL OF Mr. Shashi Tharoor could have been the best advice to withdraw him from election.
    Being a tibetan myself, i really envy his credentials and feel really proud too. But he needs to be ripen little more to hold the PM's seat perfectly in future.

  10. Rinchen la
    I strongly suggest you to post this article on Face book .Great.

  11. The supporters of TNT like StandUpForTibet and Phayul and many individuals think the rest of us are stupid :D