BENGALURU:Since Tibetans in Tibet cannot hold peaceful protests or even display a photo of Dalai Lama on their walls, Tibetans in the city and all across the globe observe Tibet National Uprising Day on March 10. They hope to riase awareness about the difficulties of living under the Chinese rule.
Tibetans in Bengaluru have been observing the day since the 70s, say Dhondhup, the director of Tibetan Youth Hostel in Karnataka. On March 9, they conducted their annual candlelight vigil and on March 10 organised a walk from Banappa Park to Freedom Park for the 58th Tibet Uprising anniversary.
In the morning hours, at the youth hostel, Students of Free Tibet Association painted their faces with Tibet’s national flag and slogans. Bike rallies were organised in the wee hours and about 15 Tibetans walked from Kormangala to Bannappa Park. In the evening, they had a photoshoot of the marchers on Brigade Road.
March 10, in 1959, is when Tibetans in Lhasa protested against China’s occupation of the country. A fight broke out between the Chinese military and Tibetans who were guarding Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in his summer palace, as rumours were about that China was planning to kidnap Dalai Lama. Tibetans were outnumbered, the Norbulinka Palace was reduced to dust and Dalai Lama went into exile.
According to Radio Lhasa’s broadcast on October 1, 1960, about 87,000 Tibetans were killed in the uprising but Tibetans claim it was much more than that. The Tibetans say that about 98 per cent of monastries have been destroyed in Tibet under the Chinese rule. The recent military drill conducted by Chinese in Tibet’s capital of Lhasa on March 5 was talked about on the occasion.
The day pays tribute to the ‘matyrs’ who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Free Tibet. So far more than 150 Tibetans have immolated selves for the cause Tibet’s independence.
“This is a sad day,” says Dhondup, “but we celebrate freedom of speech here in India.” The uprising is also viewed as an incident that united Tibetans from three distinct provinces. About 1,000 Tibetans turned up for the two-day event organised by Chief Representative Office CTA, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Bengaluru and Mundgod, Students for a Free Tibet and South Zone Tibetan Youth Congress and South Zone Tibetan Women’s Association.
Tibetans from Mungod, Byalakuppe and rest of the South India’s Tibetan Settlement came to the city to join the procession.
Most of the Tibetans were students studying in various colleges in the city. Almost everyone who attended the event had bunked their colleges. “It was so hard to get permission for leave since they view the event as something political,” says Kalsang Tashi, president of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Bengaluru. “We decided not to go to college because this is more important to us.”