RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: When I saw the water-tight security for Chinese premier Wen Jiabao‘s visit to the Indian Institute of Science two Aprils ago, and when I saw Tenzin Tsundue clamber atop the IISc towers despite it, I wondered what lessons there were for India and Indians.
This week, after seeing the protests in London, Paris and San Franciso on TV, as the Olympic torch made its way, I have been convinced:
Lesson # 1 Even the most romantic Tibetan knows that a “Free Tibet” is a lost cause. Even the Dalai Lama concedes that his country’s future is as a province of China. Yet, the fact that Tibetans, even after a generation or two after their exile from Tibet, have managed to keep the flame burning in their hearts is a lesson to many of us who are so eager to forget.
Lesson # 2 We now live in a time where language, culture and tradition have become a licence to vandalise public property and target private individuals. Yet to see the Tibetans going about their struggle for their language, culture and tradition protests without harming anybody and with the sole intention of drawing the world’s attention is a lesson.
Lesson # 3 While the Olympic torch protests are fetching their plight international exposure, the truth is the gain is momentary. We can only guess how the Chinese will respond once the Olympics end. Yet, the Tibetans have been brave enough to go ahead with their struggle for their culture, language and tradition unmindful of the consequences.
Lesson # 4 After the protests broke, the Chinese have called Dalai Lama “a serial liar” “pretending to be a peaceful, angel-like figure” and accused his “clique” of being the mastermind. Yet the spiritual leader has not lost his trademark sense of humour in what must be very testing times. “They can examine my pulse, my urine, my stool, everything,” he said, accompanied by colourful miming of the actions.
Lesson # 5 Tibet is a small country of no more than 50 lakh people. The number of refugees in India, Nepal and Bhutan is about 2 lakh. Yet the fact that they have managed to rattle an “Asian tiger” whose population is well over 1.3 billion shows that might isn’t always right, and size doesn’t always matter.
In that, there is a small lesson for all of us who give up so easily at the slightest response from the other side.
In that, there is a small lesson for India itself.
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When my newspaper is no longer my newspaper
Five lessons, yes, but who is going to learn them?
I have often wondered whether the fire in our collective belly has been extinguished post 1991. We no longer seem to have the energy or the enterprise for anything that does not concern us. When the whole world united in the opposition to the Iraq war, we were standing alone. When there are food riots in impoverished parts of the world, our poor and unfed seem happy to sit at home.
Indeed, looking at our pussilanimous response to the protest of Tibetans, it is probably our good fortune that the Emergency took place before reforms. Or else we would have not had the energy to stand up and protest.
We did stand alone on Iraq but in a different sense. India is one of the only (or the very few) country which officially denounced the attack on Iraq. I am not sure if any other govt has done that. Yes, we stood alone, but I believe we did the right thing.
Our poor and impoverished are dying in their homes. They are certainly not happy. The lack of riots doesnt indicate that all is well here in India.
ok this was the only thing what was not correlated to 1991. but you have covered that too. i hate to evangelize, but, c’mon, these are people actually living amongst us irrespective of our politics. i dont care to take the hindiwalas bulldozing over us, how do you expect i expect my neighbours from kushalanagara to take it.
i will not even go into the lengths which our politics goes onto ensure the sundry desert-wals protect their identities. why bcoz they are not militant enough their faith is lesser?
sucks. churumuri and its editorializm.
The world doesnt give u a shit if you are not a suicide bomber. More than a million tibetans have been killed, thousands of their temples razed but the world in general has ignored their cause. Same is the case with Sudan. Compare this with the outrage when dealing with Israel. Israel is the most condemned country even by the united nations.
>>”Even the most romantic Tibetan knows that a “Free Tibet” is a lost cause”
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”
— Andy Dufresne, a character from the movie SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.
Who could have imagined in the 60s and 70s that the Soviet empire would one day break into pieces. Anything can happen. So, Tibetans, keep fighting! Communist China, go to hell!
A few facts: China is going to be a super power within a matter of a decade or two. It is a permanent member of the UN since 1970s when Nixon secretly went to see Mao to shorten the Vietnam war which was a bleeding wound for America. As a student then in Mid-West I watched him
unceremoniously dumping the support to Taiwan which was forcibly ejected from its permanent seat as soon as the American president dumped it. China has arguably the largest balance of payment in its favour vis a vis America, has outsourced industries that manufacture from Toys to large machine parts for the West, holds the second largest Dollar reserve after Saudis and when it gives hint that its Dollar holding may flood the market America quakes in its boots…. A recent news item said Chinese railway experts were in Bangalore for consultation about improvement of the railway station! Even Indian government seem to have given up on Tibet. Once again, we hear Hindi-Chini bhai bhai.
About Israel. Despite the weasal words of nations anti-semitism is rampant particualrly in those countries where Catholicism is strong. The UN is a huge talking shop and has hidden antisemitic agenda. Rightly Israel ignores it and gets on with what it believes in. I have tremendous respect for this small nation.
Why does China want Tibet?
To claim supremacy over Potala Palace’s toilets!?
China has damned most of its rivers and Tibet is home to the sources of many important rivers which could be dammed and Northern India will be left with only Morarji’s elixir!
Why do you think India’s spending hundreds of millions on guarding Siachen?
It is world’s largest fresh water resource outside the polar regions, India wants to tap this water if China curtails the river water flowing into our territory!
BTW… is this poster a real person or a sockpuppet of KP?
Like you I also respect the temerity of that smallnation Israel. We have been alwaysdichotomous in our thinking especially our foreign policy, One is not sure whether it hangs between preaching and pusillanimity as some one put it. We don’t even exhibit clear commercial interest also.
I will worry about Tibetans when our decade long-guests in Baylakuppe and other places work for a living and pay taxes just like the rest of us.
I will worry about Tibetans when Kannada and Kannadigas get a modicum of safety and respect in our own naadu.
I will worry about Tibetans when somebody assures me that those of them living in Karnataka use Kannada as well as the native speakers do.