India, China And Tibet

View of the Potala Palace from the foothill of...

Visit View of the Potala Palace from the foothill of Chagpo Ri (Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China). Français : Vue du Palais du Potala depuis le pied de Chagpo Ri (Lhassa, Région autonome du Tibet, République populaire de Chine). Русский: Вид на дворец Потала из подножия Чагпори (Лхаса, Тибетский автономный район, Китайская Народная Республика). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sunil Kumar

Global geo-politics is the law of the jungle. And in this rather competitive world; the idea of Tibet is a strange phenomenon; merged into the surreal consciousness of this universe.

Since I’m proud and sometimes sad to be an Indian; let me talk about something personal here. Spiritual inquisitiveness drew me to the remote corners of the Himalayas; Dharmsala; home of the government-in-exile of Tibet’s spiritual leader; the Dalai Lama. Exponent of the Vajrayana form; the leader has become a symbol of New-Age hope; the unreal hippie way of life; which can sometimes paint the world in sugar and spice; and everything nice.

Although China and some online critiques would like to perceive him as a roguish demagogue; here’s my honest assessment; the Dalai Lama atleast outwardly attempts to give us some perspective on the great Sakyamuni Buddha‘s way; a life that was supposed to teach us sentient beings true compassion.

For millenia; India has welcomed every persecuted soul; and so at the expense of the local Pahari population; we have a Tibetan settlement in Himachal Pradesh. A similar setup is present in Delhi, North Karnataka and some other areas where ghettoes exist. The Dalai Lama recently said that he would not be reincarnated; leading to a funny spat with the normally atheistic communist Chinese government determined to prove him wrong.

Is the Buddhist way; a result of centuries of India’s yogic tradition; a mere illusion. In traditional Vedic terms; this may be the case; or this may not be the case. But; the sad reality is the central government’s sad neglect of border roads; and unnecessary hassles for the local population; the tourists and the army.

Modi is not so much an outsider to Delhi as he claims; and now that he has been busy clocking air miles around the world; the population that elected him would like to see some real action. Granted that managing India is a herculean task; but his flip-flops; and handling of the V.K Singh episode may erode his support base.

There are expectations of a detente given the PM’s equation with Xi Jingping; but every government in the world seems to kowtow on the issue of religious freedom and a return to their ancestral homeland for the Tibetans. Will Modi merely make a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas in occupied territory; or actually sometime raise the issue with the belligerent dragon?

Most Indians have lost their moral compass; and would not in any case be bothered about Tibet. We cannot fault our janata which also has to put up with our dastardly politicians. China has used the barren terrain to deadly effect; with the first nuclear test in 1964 at Lop Nor. With vast natural resources; and a rising Han population; China is poised to increase aggression towards India and build on its friendship with this country’s arch-enemy.

Pragmatism has never been the country’s foreign policy forte; and we are rightly perceived as rather pliant. Modi’s foreign policy initiatives have been praised and reviled; but I urge the government to look beyond the business relationship; which needs to be cultivated and ensure assistance for the Tibetan cause.

The people in question; the occupied land of Tibet and its people should keep raising their voice; for it is their own fight; and despite everything; geo-politics; like life is a self-centred affair. Although; like other subjugated people in the past; you have enjoyed this country’s hospitality; it is time you battled globally for your own cause.

The Indians and the Chinese are both ancient civilizations; bound by some common characteristics. In the interests of world peace; and true Buddhist way; they should work together for the benefit of humanity; with China rectifying its mistakes; and India indulging in honest introspection; with Tibet existing as a buffer state; between the two; as it did for thousands of years.

All of this sounds like wishful thinking given the present setup; but we hope that better sense prevails amongst everybody. So; in true Buddhist tradition; may all beings be happy!

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