By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 6 July 2016
The Hindi edition of a comic book Dalai Lama – The Soldier of Peace, written by journalist and Tibetologist Vijay Kranti, was launched on the occasion of the 81st birthday celebrations of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Kargyu Dhondup, the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice, released the book as thousands of Tibetans and supporters gathered at Tsuglakhang temple to mark the Dalai Lama’s birthday.
The book, titled Dalai Lama Ki Saahas Gatha (The Thrilling Story of the Dalai Lama) in Hindi, tells the story of the present 14th Dalai Lama through a colourful sequence of comic-book style drawings, drawn and painted by Tibetan artist Sodhon.
The Hindi edition of the book came after the English and Tibetan editions. Kranti is planning to come out with a Spanish edition soon, and would like to bring the book out in Chinese, French, and Italian in the future.
The book is a dream come true for Kranti, who says, “What I feel very proud about this book, is that I had a dream, since almost the begining of my association with Tibet in 1972, for many years I have been feeling very sincerely, that there should be some kind of a handout, something which should do the job of a very good communicator.”
Kranti assures that the book has everything people need to know about what Tibet is and the Tibetan issue — what is Tibet, where is it, are they a free nation or not, how do Tibetans live, what is Dalai Lama, how do they find a baby as reincarnation — feeling that these are all thing that people would find interesting about Tibet.
People will see from the book that Tibet was a free country, but that China occupied it, forcefully, and gave so many promises to Tibetans and then went back on every promise. To the extent that people revolted against the Chinese army, and then Dalai Lama had to escape, in a more than three-week-long, very arduous journey, through the most difficult mountains of the world, to reach safe in India, where he took refuge.
Kranti feels that once people come to know of this whole story of Tibet, they will become more sympathetic to Tibet and the Tibetan people and their nation’s struggle.
Feeling the need of “a kind of handout, which people could read, and then after reading it everything is clear, and the reader comes out as a sympathizer for Tibet, he had the dream of making this comic book, “the result of my imagination, of over 40 years.”
He says the Hindi edition has a very special reason. “I have noticed that there are Indian communities around where Tibetans live. Although Tibetans have a nice story to tell, I have found that the communities around the Tibetan settlements, are not very convinced about Tibet.”
“What they see unfortunately, when they see a big rinpoche going around in a BMW or a Mercedes car, they only get a negative image. They feel that Tibetans have become very rich and we have remained poor.”
So rather than sympathy for Tibetans, there is jealousy, and this is exploited by people who want trouble for Tibetans. Kranti says that ordinary Indians should understand who are these Tibetans in their neighbourhood. “They are not here for a picnic. They are not here for money. They are here because they lost their country, they lost their freedom. They went through torture for decades and decades, and their leader had to run for his life, and now they are fighting for the freedom of their country.”
Kranti says that any Indian who realises that there are people who are fighting for the freedom of their country will be very sympathetic.
Kranti’s Hindi book is focused purely to the Indian communities around Tibetan settlements. He also wishes that it can be taken to Indian schools, so students and their families will read it. He feels that the next time somebody wants to make trouble for Tibetans, those who have read this book will be very difficult to convince to be negative about Tibetans.
“So I hope, the Tibetans I’ve met in exile, they should distribute this book, to schools and colleges, and at public functions. This is a good handout. So this is the purpose of the Hindi edition.”