By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 6 March 2016
Thousands of grieving Tibetans and their supporters took part in the funeral of 16-year-old schoolboy Dorje Tsering, who died after setting himself on fire to protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, in the capital of Tibetan Diaspora McLeod Ganj.
The funeral procession started from Lhagyal-ri, where Tibetans paid their respect amid chanting of prayers. Tsering’s father and Tibetan Youth Congress leaders gave emotional speeches.
The casket containing Tsering’s body was draped in a Tibetan national flag and a Tibetan Youth Congress flag. An ambulance carried the casket through the town in a procession to the crematorium.
Elder brother Tenzin Tsundue lit the pyre at the crematorium in the presence of their parents and other siblings, as Tibetans chanted prayers.
Tsering had died on Thursday after setting himself ablaze at a Tibetan refugee settlement in Dehra Dun on 1 March. He died in a hospital in Delhi after suffering 95% burns on his body. Tsering’s body was brought to McLeod Ganj on Saturday.
Tsering’s mother wept with hands folded in prayer repeating “nying-je, ngae bhu” [pity, my son], while father Thupten Tashi silently observed the cremation.
Among Tibetan supporters who joined in the funeral was Aasha Reddy from South India. A visibly sad Ms Reddy sat silently with Tibetan mourners.
I sincerely appreciate Ms Reddy for joining the funeral procession of Dorjee Tsering. Her support and presence at this crucial time gives us reason to believe that there are many people who support the Tibetan cause.