Dr. K.R. Narayanan Centre for Dalit and Minorities Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, on Friday, November 30, organised the 6th Dr. K. R. Narayanan Memorial lecture on “Democracy in Exile: The Case of Tibet”. The lecture was delivered by Honourable Sikyong (Prime Minister), Dr. Lobsang Sangay, Central Tibetan Administration (Government-in-Exile), Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh in the Edward Said Hall. (Link to Audio) (Link to Video)
Chairing the function, Vice Chancellor Mr. Najeeb Jung said, “The case of Tibet is a singular case of a very special people who’ve been forced out of their homeland. Over the past fifty years, we’ve never had a complaint over the behaviour of any member of the Tibetan community in India even when they lived through hardships and atrocities.” He added that India has really been blessed to have the honour of hosting His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
In his address, Sangay spoke at length about the Tibetan movement and the need for support from all sections of the Indian society, his personal experience of running for the 2011 Tibetan parliamentary elections and being elected as the prime minister for the Tibetan government-in-exile, the vision of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and the Chinese atrocities in Tibet.
He began by delving into the past while trying to explain that Tibetan Buddhism and democracy have their roots in India and that their movement is based on Gandhi’s teachings of ahimsa (non-violence) and they also follow the democratic ideals as given by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, one of the founding fathers of the Indian constitution. “Tibetan movement is very much made in India. We’re committed, hardworking but smaller in number. We need 1.2 billion Indians to stand behind us so that our cause and movement can move forward.”
Sangay questioned the double standards that exist in the media and around the world when it comes to Tibet. “The self immolation committed by 89 Tibetans was called by Time as among the ten least reported stories, while one Tunisian immolation was highlighted enough to spark off the Arab spring. What about Tibet? Why such double standards?” he asked.
He also talked about the lack of freedom of speech, economic marginalisation, cultural assimilation, erosion of Tibetan language and environmental destruction in Tibet, all as part of continual occupation of Tibet by China.
Stating that Tibetan Democracy is the vision of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Sangay said, “In 2011, His Holiness said that we’re going to separate the Church and State. He wanted to empower Tibetans so that people will engage in democracy and this will help move forward the Tibetan cause.” He added that Tibet has a rich and strong legacy which needs to be continued by the younger generation, as they’ve come together to realise the vision of His Holiness and take forth the Tibetan cause.
While concluding, the prime minister reiterated the need for Indian support to Tibet, adding that “The Tibet issue is also an issue of national security of India”, and while the situation in Tibet continues to be more and more repressive, there’s a strong need for Indians to walk hand in hand with Tibetans and also to have Tibet as one of the core issues in India’s dealing with China.
Scenes from the Event:
Audio: Download and listen to the complete speech by Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay here: PM Lobsang Sangay – JMI – 30 Nov 2012 [Size: 34 MB; Duration: 46 min; Format: mp3]
Video: Watch a four-minute excerpt video of PM Lobsang Sangay’s speech here: