By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 11 March 2017
Writer and Tibetan independence activist Lukar Jam Atsock has been condemned by Tibetans around the world for a poem which appears to denigrate the Dalai Lama.
Lukar on 5 February published a poetry tribute on his Facebook page to Professor Elliot Sperling, a leading historian of Tibet and Tibetan-Chinese relations, who had passed away on 1 February 2017.
The poem was titled “You are the one who should have lived for 113 years!”, meaning he felt that Sperling’s demise came too early.
“113 years” seemed to refer to the Dalai Lama, who has said on a number of occasions that predictions and his own dreams have suggested that he would be living for 113 years. In January in Bodh Gaya, the Dalai Lama assured his followers that he will live for more than 100 years.
The Tibetans inferred that the title of Lukar Jam’s poem implied that Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is not the one to live for 113 years.
A group purportedly representing more than 2,000 Tibetans from around the world criticised Lukar Jam for their perception of his poem in a press conference convened for the purpose.
A letter signed by 2,221 Tibetans and titled “Lukar Jam: Enemy of Tibetans” was presented to the press. The letter said that Lukar’s “113” remark has “pained Tibetans beyond imagination.” It called for all Tibetans to disassociate from him for his “unceasing baseless criticism” against the Dalai Lama.
The letter was also sent to the Office of the Dalai Lama, and the Central Tibetan Administration’s Executive (Kashag), Legislature (exile Parliament) and Department of Security.
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay (the Tibetan political leader) while reading his annual 10 March statement, digressed to criticise Lukar Jam on Friday, without explicitly mentioning his name.
In a show of protest over Lukar’s “113” remark, a cafe in Dharamshala refused to serve him. A video showing the owner speaking about the refusal has gone viral on Facebook.
Speaking to Tibet Sun on the phone, Lukar said, “What the Sikyong has said is all politics, what the group is saying is propaganda coming from a brainwashed lot, and what I am saying is art.”
“These all have nothing to do with each other.”
A former political prisoner, Lukar Jam ran for the position of Sikyong, the Prime Minister of Tibetans in exile, in the 2015 exile Tibetan elections.
"Lukar Jam’s poem in tribute to Elliot Sperling", in original Tibetan and in English translation, is published here on Tibet Sun on 14 March 2017.
"Open letter to Sikyong on Mr Lukar Jam’s security " is here on Tibet Sun on 16 March 2017.