Transcription of Vijay Kranti's speech at the Rangzen Conference at Dharamshala, on 27 June 2012
DHARAMSHALA, India, 1 December 2012
My coming here is mostly symbolic because you know the limitations of my participation [in this conference]. But still, there are a couple of points I would like to share.
As an observer of the Tibetan scene for the last 40 years, I have seen the changing emotions of [Tibetan] society, approaches of the [Tibetan] government, and reactions of [Tibetan] society.
For the last about 15 years the [Tibetan] society has been very confused. Because, as you know, the dialogue [with China] has been going on, and the [Tibetan] government had big hopes for it. There were people who believed that those hopes were not well-founded, because they had more fears about Chinese cunningness rather than [about] the genuineness of the [Tibetan] government. Unfortunately things changed. The dialogue did not deliver anything.
So now coming to the issue of Rangzen, I personally believe that this [change] is a blessing in disguise for the Tibetan community. Number one: His Holiness, and people around Him, have been very genuinely trying to find if by giving concessions [to Beijing] you could gain something from the Chinese.
But unfortunately the Chinese have proved beyond doubt that not only they did not deserve those concessions which His Holiness gave them — which were very undue even, and His Holiness took the risk of even making His own people unhappy — but the Chinese have proved beyond doubt that they are not genuine about their [own] dialogue [and] they are not genuine about giving any concessions [to CTA].
So now I think this is time when the whole… you know what happened in last few years. The confusion which was there. So now we are lucky that this is a time when the confusion can be removed.
In those years the [Tibetan] society was divided on “Rangzen” or “no Rangzen”, or between “Rangzen” or “much less than Rangzen”. But today when you are very sure … everybody is very sure … about Chinese intentions, this is the time to unite Tibetan society [and to] once again bring everybody into the mainstream.
I personally feel you [Tibetans] should ask for only what you lost. You lost Rangzen. So, you should ask for it. Not less than that. The second thing is, [Tibetan] society is now in a mood to listen. I would suggest that in the past there were many mistakes which happened — maybe due to lack of communication. Maybe sometime over-enthusiasm in communication. Many things were said which could have been avoided about individuals [and] personalities.
I think this is the time when the leadership — and I call YOU the leadership — you can bring the change. You can bring all those, your friends, who had other hopes from the other approach. You can bring them back to the mainstream. So this is a wonderful beginning for that. I see hope in it.
And I not only wish you success, I also pray for your success. Because in your success, the happiness of Indians is also included. You see, when Tibet is free, when Tibet has Rangzen, India will gain more than what you will. I very genuinely believe in that. We [Indians] will get back peace on our borders on the top, on the North. You will also get peace. I think it is in our mutual interest and I wish you success.
People like me will always stand by you, and we want to see that this issue [of Rangzen] should become a big fountainhead of unity among the whole Tibetan community in exile, and putting you on the same wavelength with the people inside Tibet. Because I see when forty people die [of self-immolation], none of them was asking for less than Rangzen. So that is the desire of Tibetan people. So I wish you success and friends like me will be always with you. Thank you.
About the author
Vijay Kranti is a senior Indian journalist, photographer, and Tibetologist, based in New Delhi. He blogs at VijayKranti.com and he can be contacted at v.kranti(at)gmail.com