H C Singh

Tibet- My Land and My People by Dalai Lama : A Brief Review

Tibet has been rightly called “roof of the world” because besides highest mountain of the world, Mount Everest, it is surrounded by many snow bound high mountains. Accordingly in ancient times, it was in- accessible. Thus scarcely populated Tibet inhabited by few tribes was left to itself, cared, developed its own culture and language. Most of land in Tibet is unfit for cultivation because of poor soil, extreme cold and rocks. But some valleys are fertile, where thousands of different kinds of plants, fruit trees are grown besides staple food barley. It is only after 620 AD when Buddhist monks from India reached Tibet that it had one distinct religion Buddhism for all tribes and developed one culture. Buddhism also introduced writing in Tibet. Buddhist Dalai Lama became spiritual and temporal ruler of entire Tibet and this system continued till modern times and Tibet enjoyed independence or autonomy, political, social, cultural and linguistic.

However during communist China’s struggle with US supported Chiang Ka Shek extending to 4 to 5 years and victory of Mao Tse Tang led communist movement China felt encouraged, challenging even USA, decided to incorporate Tibet fully for the first time and make it part of China like Manchuria and other regions, in 1950. Present Dalai Lama decided to leave or flee Tibet with few hundred followers in 1959 as Chinese Army was killing Tibetans in the capital Lehsa. It was an arduous journey in a difficult terrain with some snowfall but the route was full with snow lying all the way. On the way Dalai Lama was too ill to ride a horse, so he was helped by his followers to ride on the broad back of a dzo, a Tibetan animal something like India’s buffalo. Ultimately Dalia Lama and his followers who had sought refuge in India, reached Tezpur towards the end of 1959. As soon as Dalai Lama entered the first village on the soil of India he was received by a “liaison officer and an interpreter who was with me when I was in India before”. He was much delighted to receive a very cordial telegram from Mr. Nehru, PM of India. “ My colleagues and I welcome you and send you greetings on your safe arrival in India.” As Dalai Lama and his followers received hero’s welcome in India even by Indian people and PM, China was then and there very much annoyed as India had also sent a special train to take Dalai Lama and Tibetans accompanying him to Mussoorie Peking made a long statement condemning what Dalai Lama had said or would have said in Chinese eyes. The Peking statement condemned Dalai Lama and charged India’s and Nehru’s welcome as reflecting the will of the imperialist aggressors (page 218) and “expansionists”. This was a bad omen for India which led to Chinese aggression and war of 1962, which caused humiliation to Nehru, Menon and whole of India. It would have been better not to welcome Dalai Lama and his Tibetan followers to India. They could have been allowed as devoted Buddhists to come to India.

About devotion to Buddhism by all Tibetans, Dalai Lama himself writes in his book under review says: “There was hardly anyone in the whole of Tibet who was not a faithful Buddhist” He further adds : Everyone even children “enjoyed paying visits to places where emblems of three jewels- Buddha, Dharma and Sangam were kept. As basic teachings of Buddhism like humility, charity, temperance and kindness were prevalent all over Tibet for the last more than a thousand years. Accordingly Buddhist Tibet, despite Dalia Lama’s and his followers flight to India, reconciled with Chinese occupation, as a reality and irrevocable, instead of continuing with fight and bloodshed.

Both Dalai Lama with his followers now many thousands living comfortably in Dharamsala for the last more than 40 years and Panchan Lama with his followers near Bangalore celebrating their functions from the Buddhist temples built there without any hindrance from the people and governments of Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. But Dalai Lama is not sitting idle. He is going often to USA and other European countries to express his feelings against Chinese occupation of what he called “My country and My People.” Not only that on arrival at Dharamsala on Sept 2, 1960 he wrote a long letter to Dag Hammarskjold, Secy General of U.N. It is worthwhile to reproduce a couple of sentences from his appeal: “As your Excellency is no doubt aware, situation in Tibet has now become a grim tragedy. Hundreds of Tibetans have been arriving in India and Nepal to escape from merciless persecution and inhuman treatment” Dalai Lama after accusing China asked UN to help the unfortunate people of Tibet by way mediation either through an adhoc body appointed for the purpose by UN General Assembly or through your Excellency’s good offices. Dalai Lama reminded UN Secy General on Sept 29, 1960 from same “Swaragashram Dharamsala”, not himself signing but getting signatures of A Henery Mc Mahan, British plenipotentiary with seals of half a dozen Tibetans of various Monasteries including his own. This representation was very long of 6 pages of the book. Such misuse of India’s hospitality by Dalai Lama was least expected. All this annoyed and even outraged Peking government. Accordingly as a revenge Peking Army attacked India in 1962. Had Govt of India and Pt Nehru personally advised and even retrained Dalai Lama, who sought refugee in India there might not have been 1962 war.

Dalai Lama expresses noble sentiments and principles of Buddhism. Dalai Lama is explicit in saying and forgiving. “Inspite of the atrocious crimes which Chinese have committed in our country (Tibet), I have absolutely no hatred in my heart of the Chinese people.” Dalai Lama thus concludes, “My hope rests in the courage of Tibetans and the love of truth and justice which is still in the heart of human race and my faith is in the compassion of Lord Buddha.”

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment