NEW DELHI, India, 10 April 2018
In memory of Professor Dawa Norbu, Tibet Forum at JNU held a Memorial Lecture followed by Young Research Scholars’ presentation on 9 April 2018 at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. This is the continuation of the annual series of symposiums that the Forum has been conducting since 2015.
The Memorial Lecture was given by Prof Tsering Shakya from the University of British Columbia, who is also a friend of the late Prof Norbu.
Prof Norbu is a prominent Tibetan social scientist who used critical methods in social science to understand Tibetan society. He created enormous awareness about Tibet and its people through his acclaimed books such as Red Star Over Tibet, Tibet: The Road Ahead, China’s Tibet Policy, and Culture and Politics of Third-World Nationalism, as well as through numerous articles in several journals.
The Forum conducts these symposiums with the objective of commemorating the works of Prof Dawa Norbu for his great academic contribution as an expert in modern Tibetan Studies, as well as reinvigorating the subject of Tibet as an important academic field of study for its socio-political structure, religion, culture and geopolitics.
Prof Shakya says “Dawa Norbu had always believed that he can only speak for himself and not for Tibetans,” however he did become a crucial voice for Tibetans. Prof Shakya also considers Prof Norbu as one of the very few Tibetans who have successfully articulated his own ideas and reality of Tibet that challenged the romanticized or mystical portrayal of Tibet and Tibetans by non-Tibetans, especially Western travellers. Both Prof Shakya and Prof Yeshi Choedon believe that Tibetans have a huge intellectual debt to Prof Norbu and failed to acknowledge his contribution when he was alive.
In the ‘Young Research Scholars Presentation’ in the afternoon, three scholars presented their papers on Tibet. Lobsang Yangtso, PhD graduate from JNU, discussed the conceptualisation of environmentalism and how it is evolving in Tibet. Gregory Bruno from London School of Economics unfurled the current widely-discussed topic of ‘Pan-Asian Revival of Nalanda Tradition.’ And Arnab Chakrabarty from JNU dealt on the topic ‘Cultural Genocide in Tibet and China’s assertive foreign policy in the recent period.’
The Tibet Forum of JNU considers this as one of their most important annual academic events in the campus.