By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 11 June 2019
Tibetans in Tibet are in a dire situation under Chinese occupation, with more than 150 Tibetans having set themselves on fire calling for freedom, said the President of the Tibetan Youth Congress as he opened the 17th General Body Meeting.
About 150 members from 45 regional chapters of the Tibetan Youth Congress have congregated in Dharamshala, the capital of the Tibetans-in-exile, to attend their six-day discourse and to elect new executive members.
Members attending the meeting are mostly from India, with some from the US, Europe, Australia, Nepal, and Taiwan.
President Tenzing Jigme said that there is rapid economic and military development in China in recent times, but that these have no meaning unless matched by freedom for the people.
“Because of the lack of freedom, people will rise up to overthrow the Communist government. Tibetans will then have the chance to get back their lost country.”
Setting the scene for future TYC actions, Jigme said that Tibetans are headed for a major challenge in the coming years as the Dalai Lama ages. “We need to be realistic and talk about the post-Dalai Lama scenario.”
He said that the meeting should be used to strategise how to strengthen TYC’s activism to regain Tibetan independence. “Independence is our right. We are the rightful owners of Tibet. Irrespective of how strong China is we must continue to fight for our rights.”
Calling for unity among Tibetans and within the organisation, Jigme said, “We are not opposed to other policies such as the ‘Middle-way approach’. We have only respect for the Middle-way approach, as it is also about resolving the Tibetan issue.”
The Tibetan Youth Congress is by far the largest Tibetan organisation in exile. Unlike the Central Tibetan Administration, the official representative of the Tibetans in exile, Independence is their goal.
The organisation will celebrate its 50th founding day next year.
In the last few years, the organisation saw internal conflict after some regional chapters called for TYC to adopt the ‘Middle-way approach’ that seeks autonomy for Tibet as the goal. Since then, eight chapters left the organisation, but two later rejoined.
“I hope the six other chapters would make a sensible decision to rejoin for the 50th anniversary next year. This will send a strong message to China.”
Ajai Singh Mankotia, President of the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, was the chief guest. Wishing well and success for the meeting he said, “Deep inside China wish for respect from others, but the way they bully others cannot bring them respect.”
Promotion of Tibetan culture, awareness about democracy, and education on health within Tibetan society will be some other issues the TYC members will discuss.
‘Once a Sanghi shall always remain a Sanghi’ with this quote I would like to bring light on the fundamental ideology of the TYC and in choosing the right candidate representing the TYC. Like we have in India ie Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), its ideology and those people representing them throughout their respective lives. We too shall create and have a strong ideology-based organisation with its indomitable individuals representing them.
We have always seen that people once representing TYC later changed their ideology according to time, place, and opportunities which are in place before them. TYC is definitely not for them! And it is difficult to ascertain such individuals upon when and how they’ll change their mindset and ideology like chameleons. TYC is not a place to gain experience, foreign visas, exposure or place for jobless, but instead hold a crucial place leading to our ultimate goals.
The TYC will lose its charm and glory if it does not stronghold its ideology and shall always refrain from such people and dirty politics within.
Lastly, I believe it’s a privilege for the members of TYC that its ideology does not call for ‘Tum mujey khoon doh, mein tumein azadi dhunga’ the ultimate sacrifice, but at least hold the very ideology with which the organisation was once started. DOES NOT LET THE RELIGION, HH DALAI LAMA CARD, REGIONALISM, AND POLITICS AFFECT THE VERY IDEOLOGY OF THE ORGANISATION.
The Tibetan Youth Congress has been in the forefront of the Tibetan struggle for independence. Ever since its inception, it has been the most active organisation in exile that has carried on the freedom movement that hogged the international limelight. Its chapters in different regions both in India and abroad spear-headed one of the most daring hunger strikes, demonstrations, and stunts to attract world attention. Its reputation as one of the most courageous and dedicated exile movement was at the height of its glory in the 1980s and 90s. It was both respected and feared for its aggressive campaigns and rallys that often targeted the Chinese embassies across the world.
However, tragedy struck the organisation when a prominent Tibetan leader blasted the Rangzen advocates with a blistering frontal attack and tarnished the reputation of the TYC as well as all Rangzen advocates. Not satisfied with the delegitimizing of the Rangzen Group, the followers of the leader went on a rampage to attack and also infiltrate the TYC and cause irreparable damage by sowing discord and dissension among the organisation. In one stroke, the organisation that young Tibetan exiles rallied behind was reduced to a decrepit, rudderless ragtag group, loathed by many Tibetans. The TYC still remains divided and has lost its lustre. Those who have brought this illustrious organisation to such a pitiful state of affairs should reflect on what they have achieved by destroying one of the pillars of the valiant fight of the Tibetan exiles against the monstrous Chinese regime. Have the Chinese been knocking at the doors for talks as they had imagined if the Rangzen advocates were eliminated? The reckless words and action have only brought about the pithy Tibetan saying, ཕ་རིར་ལྕེ་བ་མེད། ཚུ་རིར་སླེ་བ་མེད། སླེ་པོའི་སླེ་ཐག་ཆད།
This guy had served TYC with integrity and honor, without losing sight of the Youth’s goal. it is good to cling to hope, and TYC has big shoes to fill in the post-Dalai Lama era. It is unfortunate that some Tibetan leaders are still sending mixed signals on the issue of Tibetan independence. Demand independence and get Autonomy, demand autonomy and get nothing.