Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Karmapa media buzz, and the failure of Tibet campaign in India

The Indian media frenzy, over the past couple of weeks, mostly centered around the "Karmapa-spy Theory", allegations, speculations and everything else that a 24-hr news channel culture, Ted Turner(CNN founder) brought to TV years back, could regurgitate was shown. At some point, I think it was even harder for the Egyptian protesters to take the center-stage in the Indian media. But nevertheless, the founding principles of fast paced media servings, ultimately has taken its toll and the story is finally relapsing into the every growing exabytes of archives of the mundane.

The reaction of the Tibetan community was of course that of , disdainful awe and surprise. Karmapa is a highly revered spiritual leader, and in fact symbolizes major part of Tibetan heritage, both in exile and in Tibet. Of course, Tibetans are offended and for good reasons too. Now I would not go into the details of how this was all false, a misunderstanding, mismanagement etc etc. I leave that to the experts. The matter after all, will resolve itself with passing time, as more and more facts come to light.

What concerns me here, is the sheer ignorance of the Indian media, about Tibet and its various aspects. I had thought, the 2008 protests in Tibet had served as the "workshop on Tibet" for many Indian journalists. But alas, that does not seems to be the case. Now, who is to blame for that?

To me, Tibetans are also as much responsible, as the Indian media, in this whole fiasco. Now by this, i do not mean to offend anyone's devotion to Gyalwa Karmapa, but I rather suggest that, we have miserably failed in many aspects, when it comes to a "Tibet Campaign" in India.

I understand the strategic hurdles, every growing chinese might has put on the possibilities of a successful Tibet campaign in India as anywhere else, but I don't see, why the awareness about Tibet as an issue, is still so limited, in the very country where we have spent the last more than 50 or so years.

The very fact that, many in India still don't know what Tibet is, except recognising a picture of HH The Dalai Lama or mistaking every Tibetan to be a monk, exhibits our failure in achieving the same level of global awareness about Tibet, we have been able to gain elsewhere.

The relationship between Indians and Tibetans, is exactly as distant and as cold, as it sounds when Jamyang Norbu la reminisces of historic relations between India and Tibet in some of his older articles mentioning how our culture and religion is deeply rooted into the Nalanda traditions of the back then prehistoric India.

What is the Indian-Tibetan equation in contemporary terms, from individual to individual, from a Tibetan settlement-to its neighbouring Indian village, between a Tibetan student in college-and his Indian classmate, between the politicians in Dharamsala-to their counterparts in Delhi, between the bureaucrats in TGIE- and their counterparts in Indian offices? What is that equation? Does it exist at all? If not, where have we failed?

This recent buzz about Karmapa being a chinese spy, should be a lesson for all Tibetans, in realising that we need to work harder and more effectively in improving relations with the Indians and creating more awareness about Tibet and its culture in India, rather than just focusing on doing things abroad.

One of the simplest and most beautifullest (sic) of the things I saw in Dharamsala, was how a simple monk helps poor Indians, beggars, shoemakers etc. Please visit this website to see what he does

Its time we get off both foreign aid, as well as sympathy, and build realtionships, where it matters most. After all, we are as much Indian in heart, as much as we are Tibetan. What with our growing up on, bollywood, rice, dal, parantha,pakora ...and what not?

Let's remember that its Indian salt, we have grown up on, and its India where still majority of exile Tibetans live. Unless we believe in that supposedly archetypal story, wherein, His Holiness has given 70 or so mules of golden treasure from Tibet to Pandit Nehru, for giving us asylum.


  1. Correct observation. Its time we tight our pants and work to improve our political situation in India.

  2. Absolutely,there is a lot of need to do more work in India in all sides of our struggle.

  3. keep continue writing please........

  4. Just to let you know that the RSS feed of your blog is featured on the new Tibet Central website:

    If you have any suggestions for additional RSS feeds or other ways of making this site even more useful, please let me know. If you could include a link back to on your blog it would most helpful in making it visible to more people and hence increase traffic to your and other Tibet-related blogs