By Tenzin Phende, Photo-editor
In the last six decades, Tibetans-in-exile have been largely ignored by the world press but have remained a thorn in China’s side. Against considerable odds, this small community has been able to preserve much of its unique and more than 1000 year-old Buddhist culture which originated from India. It has also served as a focus for a lively Tibetan nationalism and its members as spokespeople for those inside the country. Exiles have repeatedly called international attention to abuses and misgovernment by China, until the Chinese themselves acknowledged those abuses at the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Even a generation later, young Tibetans who have grown up in exile have retained their sense of urgent mission.
With the onset of the Tibetan New Year (Losar) of Earth Dog year, I would like to begin a new series of stories on ‘Life in the Exile Tibetan Community.’ I would like to keep a visual memory of the efforts of Tibetans to maintain their culture and religion alive even whilst being outside of their homeland.
Tibetans have come a long way in exile and today the Tibetans everywhere in the exile world are doing exceptionally well. We have become well recognised around the world better than ever. The Tibetan Exile has the wings of nationalities across the world to be part of the free world while the Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamshala, India, the headquarters of the Tibetan freedom movement- is itself a mini-Tibet with its own structural setups and governing rules to leap forward. Most importantly, the democratic setup of our exile government is drawing ever more attention of the Tibetans and it should suffice the purpose of the setup. By the way, by ‘wings of nationalities’, I meant that we are no longer handicapped by identity crisis in exile today.
There is very less ratio of Tibetans of the current generation who have been deprived of an opportunity to attend schools and seek education. The Tibetan youths graduating from different colleges and universities are able to tread the world teeming with job opportunities for a bright career.
The Tibetan community in exile is so vibrant and successful in any sense we look at but it has never been complete and perfect. The Tibetan diaspora live through their everyday life with a hope that tomorrow they can wake up in Tibet with their separated family members and that undeniable feeling does not fulfill their purpose of life. Every aged Tibetan, even at the very verge of their death hopes to be cremated in Tibet and that does not fulfill their purpose of their life!
The purpose of life and the Tibetan exile is an attempt to articulate the fact that howsoever the Tibetans seem to be living the life, we are never closer to the purpose of our lives because the very state of exile is not normal and neither does it make anyone happy nor does it provide any conditions of it. However vibrant and successful the Tibetans may seem, they are deep down counting on a hope to achieve the very purpose of their lives.