Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
The Despair of Tibetans
By Gautaman Bhaskaran
South Asia Editor

Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader

Railway lines fulfill dreams. At least in modern times. But the one about to link central Tibet with China threatens to dash hopes. When passenger trains begin running on this stretch in 2007, hundreds of Han Chinese will immigrate to Tibet. Tibetans are already in a minority in the cities. This new influx will just swamp them. And, this is precisely what Beijing wants: a less gruesome form of ethnic cleansing.

The Railway line is merely one of the many threats that the Tibetans face. Since their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, escaped to India with about 80,000 followers in 1959 after China put down a rebellion in Tibet, the simple largely pastoral race has been in deep despair. This agony does not appear to go away or even diminish.

At a recent gathering of Tibetans in Dharamsala in northern India, where the Dalai Lama lives and runs a government in exile, he rues that his people are "facing extinction." Out of a total of six million Tibetans, 130,000 live outside their land, three-quarters in India. These men and women dream of returning home some day, and they continue to keep alive their traditions, sometimes even their way of daily existence.

But the Dalai Lama who acts as a catalyst to the Tibetans and their aspirations will not live forever. He himself says that his death will be a serious setback. It is an understatement. Lobsang Nyandak Zayul, a Minister in exile in the Dalai Lama's government, feels that there will be chaos after the leader's death.

This unrest will probably affect China deeply as well. The Dalai Lama no longer seeks independence for Tibet. What he now wants is limited autonomy for his people that will allow them to practise their customs without fear or hindrance.

Analysts aver that Beijing should not let go this opportunity for one for very important reason. No leader who after the Dalai Lama can ever hope to enjoy his respect and love that the Tibetans have for him. The spiritual leader's command over and loyalty from his people are enormous. Besides, the Dalai Lama is a true Buddhist who seeks peace, and has till now somehow managed to keep the Tibetans from the path of violence.

Sometimes one does get the impression that the present leadership in Beijing is trying to forge some kind of peace with the Tibetans and the Dalai Lama. In recent years, there have been several rounds of discussions between his representatives and Chinese officials.

But, but, there is also a feeling that Beijing is merely trying to buy time and wants to placate international opinion. Probably, China sees in the Dalai Lama's death a series of events that will divide the Tibetans to an extent that they will no longer cherish any hope of returning home or even continuing with their traditional ways.

In a large settlement of Tibetans in Mysore in the southern Indian State of Karnataka, most young men and women have to pinch themselves hard to believe that they are Tibetans. Years of living among Indians may not have made them Indians, but it has certainly led to a feeling of hopelessness of pursuing the dream of their parents and grandparents.

These young Tibetans now want to get on with their careers and ambitions, and appear to care little for Tibetan autonomy. They see their life in India, with its democratic freedom as a far better choice than one in Tibet under a Chinese rule that is bent on destroying their self-pride and job opportunities.

The question now is will the Dalai Lama reincarnate himself as the 15th leader? He says that he will not unless the Tibetans themselves want the institution. Yet, most Tibetans believe that the reincarnation will take place. China knows this too, and has already begun to meddle in this process.

A senior lama is traditionally involved in identifying and tutoring a young Dalai Lama. His is the Panchen Lama. The tenth Panchen Lama died in 1989 and two young men — one recognised by the Dalai Lama and most Tibetans and another by the Chinese—carry the title of the 11th.

The Chinese Panchen has been in jail since 1995 (for his own protection, says China).

The stage, it seems, is all set for drama and intrigue. Yes, some aver that the 17 Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley, (barely 20 years of age) — who belongs to the Black Hat School of Tibetan Buddhism, which in the 17th century lost state power to the Dalai Lamas' Gelugpa School — recognized by the Chinese Government and the Present Dalai Lama, may be able to bring about a semblance of peace after the spiritual leader's demise.

Trinley was born in Tibet, but fled to India in 1999 in the hope of freedom. But he does not have it here as well. The Indian security around him is heavy and he is not allowed to visit his predecessor's seat in the north-eastern Indian State of Sikkim, considered as a sensitive region by India.

In the days to come, both the Dalai Lama and Beijing are bound to get more and more suspicious of the Karmapa's exile. For a long time, India thought that he was a Chinese spy. Perhaps it still does. And Beijing is uncomfortable with the idea that he is living in India.

Related Articles
    Tiger Man Mike Pandey
    Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
    El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
    New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
    India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks near ...
    The Dashing Pedro Almodovar to Chair Cannes ...
    Korean Cinema Comes to Chennai in India
    The Horror of Custodial Death
    Modi Is the Man We Need in India
    Mumbai’s Child King
    The Cocktail at Cannes
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Hollywood Note
    Mumbai Terrorized Again
    Venice Lines Up Impressive Jury
    Cannes Film Fest Begins on a Delightful Note
    No Indian Movie at the Festival
    Meaningless Film Censorship
    This Bloody Life!
    Mumbai and Pusan Film Fest Establish Ties
    On Road, in Rage
    India Picks Wrong Films for Oscars
    Robert De Niro to Head Cannes Film Fest Jury
    Someone Killed Jessica, But of Course!
    Middle Eastern Cinema Hits Hard
    Dubai Film Fest Opener
    Dubai Film Fest to Unravel Diverse Selection
    Indian Police Cut Corners to Tackle Crime
    Goa Festival Not God's Own
    "West Is West" Sets IFFI Sailing
    Fine Cinema at the Coming Dubai Film Festival
    "The King's Speech" to Set the Fest Rolling
    Abu Dhabi Film Festival a Fantastic Mix of ...
    "Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema" ...
    The Venetian Storm
    Frieda's Venice
    Jafar Panahi's Music Soothes Souls
    "Black Swan" Opens Venice Festival
    Festival to Bounce with Youthful Energy
    Shame and Scandal Plague Commonwealth Games
    Child Needs Compassion, Not Cane
    A Beast Called Beauty
    Adoor Gopalakrishnan: A Life in Cinema
    Bhopal Gas Tragedy: A Crime Called Bhopal
    Honour Killings Are India's Shame
    Cannes Film Festival And Poetry
    Cannes More Art Than Glamour This Time
    An Indian Pilgrimage to Cannes
    Maoist Rebellion in India
    Asians to Carry the Torch at Cannes
    Cannes Film Festival and Probables
    "Robin Hood" to Open Cannes Film Festival
    Persecution of Artists
    The Only Two Real Races This Year
    Curry Bashing in Australia
    US Director Tim Burton to Lead Cannes Jury
    India's Car Boom Creates Its Own Chaos
    Making Idiots Out of Men
    Indian Girls Find Paris Hilton’s Shoes Too Hot
    Mexican Film Wins Top Prize at Marrakech
    Ben Kingsley Hopes to Be an Envoy for Cinema
    Movie Director Hopes Obama Would Solve the ...
    Nandita Das on Marrakech Jury
    A Decaying Film Festival
    Marrakech Festival a Boon for Local Cinema
    Panorama Selection Questionable
    IFFI to Open on a Note of Visual Lyricism
    South Korea to Be Focus at the Film Fest
    Dalai Lama’s Tawang Visit Vexes Beijing
    Why Mumbai Film Fest Scores over Goa
    Mumbai’s Young Movie Critics Ready to Tear ...
    India Is Still Hungry for Food
    Honor Killing through Lens at Mumbai Festival
    11th Mumbai Film Festival to Open with Matt ...
    Film Festival to Showcase Some Gems
    Can India Host 2010 Commonwealth Games?
    A New Irritant in India-China Ties
    The Venetian Sorrow
    The Tiger War
    Israeli War Film Wins Venice’s Top Golden Lion
    Politicians Livid over Festival Movie
    "Bad Lieutenant" Creates Bad Blood between Two ...
    Clooney and Damon Star Attractions at Venice
    Muslim Bashing Must End
    Mumbai Film Festival Prizes to Be among the ...
    An Indian Juror in De Sica Land
    India's Gays Can Now Love without Fear
    Moore's "Capitalism," 70 Other Films to ...
    An Indian Summer at the Lagoon City
    Festival May Be Strong on European Fare
    A Tamil Film with a Difference
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: But ...
    India Is Racist Too
    Hollywood Bungles in Bollywood
    The Tragic Tale of the Indian Tiger
    Cannes Jury Honors Chilling Tales
    Lars Von Trier’s Sex and Horror
    Gems and the Cannes Film Festival
    Market and the Cannes Film Festival
    Keats Poetry, Campion’s Reading
    Lou Ye’s Controversial Disaster
    Clash of Titans on the Croisette
    Sexy Sirens and Political Propagandists
    Is Sharmila Tagore the Right Choice for Cannes ...
    The Stars in Cannes’ Dark Skies
    Cannes Courts Controversy
    Indian Elections: A Circus of Villains
    Festival Unveils Lineup of Masters
    Beyond Bollywood’s Melodramatic Mishmash
    India's Infrastructure at Breaking Point
    Guessing the Festival Goodies
    Kate Winslet the New Face of Brilliance
    Tarantino’s ‘Basterds’ to Spit Fire at Fest
    Animated Film, Up, to Open Festival
    Smoking Screen
    Oscar-Rich Penelope Set to Master English
    Cannes Honours Clint Eastwood
    Renowned French Star to Chair Cannes Jury
    Fable of Mr Benjamin Button: Riveting Cinema
    The Mangalore Molest
    Aamir Khan Film Is a Bad Copy
    It May Well Be the End of Agony in Sri Lanka
    Woody Allen’s "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
    International Film Festival of India
    Mumbai Terror
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival Has Grown
    Marrakech Int'l Film Festival
    Marrakech International Film Festival
    Shambled Secularism
    Benegal’s Sajjanpur
    Venice Festival Blues
    Venice under the Hollywood Spell ?
    A Riveting Movie on Islam's Crisis
    Venice Festival a Haven for World Premieres
    Pakistani Films Come to India, at Last!
    Tamil Super Hero Rises Again
    The Comic Fantasy
    The Smoking Screen!
    Bollywood and Beyond at Stuttgart
    New Film May Spell Hope for Bollywood
    Indian Cinema Feeds Deceit
    An Indian Film on an American Power Plant
    India Not At Cannes
    Cannes Line-Up
    Writer Taslima Nasreen Forced Out of India
    India Inspires World Fashion
    Mills & Boon
    "Jodhaa Akbar" Creates Controversy in India
    Sania Mirza Subject to Ridicule in Native India
    Sarkozy and Bruni Love Causes Moral Outrage
    India and the Oscars
    Marrakech International Film Festival Reviewed
    Paranoid Park
    Cannes 2007: Killings
    The Spy Case
    The Good and the Not So Good
    Bollywood Superman
    First Kashmiri Film in 20 Years
    Chinese Influence Seems Unstoppable
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Minimalism, Too
    Cannes Fest Prizes
    Cannes Film Festival 2006: Great Delights
    The Da Vinci Code
    Missing Tigers
    Trilateral Stratagem To Slow China's Growth
    Sri Lanka Crisis
    Hollywood Movies Doing Well In India
    Peace Pipe
    Mangal Pandey: The Rising
    Honda Clash
    Bush-Manmohan Singh Pact
    Satyajit Ray, Still India's Most Noted Movie ...
    Ban on Cigarettes in India
    "Match Point" Excoriated by Britons
    Crisis In India’s Hindu Nationalist Party
    Manmohan Singh’s One Year
    58th Cannes International Film Festival Begins
    Indo-Pakistan Cricket Diplomacy
    U.S. Visa Refusal
    The 7th Deauville Asian Film Festival Closes
    Seedy Film Journalism
    Indian Tigers Butchered in Broad Daylight
    No Oscar for Scorsese, Yet Again
    Nepal in Turmoil As King Sacks PM Deuba
    History Repeats in Struggle for Free Press
    India Could Have Prevented Tsunami Deaths
    Argue over Freedom on Internet
    "City of Gold" Dubai Stands like Oasis in ...
    Towards a Solution to the Kashmir Problem
    India & China Rising
    Bush Victory and India
    Indian Robinhood
    After 9/11, World Links Muslim with Violence
    India's Great Heritage Taj Mahal in Danger
    "Kashmir": A Never Ending Thorny Issue
    The Village -- A Silly Joke
    Jakarta Bombing Aimed at Aussie ...
    Millions of Indians Go to Bed Hungry
    Sri Lanka's Ethnic War Knows No End
    Over 600 Tibetan Monks, Nuns Should Be Freed
    India's Schoolgirl Killer Hanged in Controversy
    3 Kidnapped Indians Endure Agonizing Torture
    Musharraf's Sets Deadline on Kashmir
    Usefulness of Nepalese Monarchy in Question
    Temple of Learning Turns into Grave of Death
    AIDS Keeps Threatening the Poor in Asia, Africa
    Fearful of Dowry Parents Kill Newborn Girls
    Hot Discussion on Death Penalty in India
    India's Flag of Democracy Kept Unfurled
    Politics Dominates Cannes Int'l Film Festival
    Intolerance Grows before India General Election
    Fears of Strife Continue in Sri Lanka
    Torture, Rape Occur in Indian Classroom
    World Leaders Must Take Stand against Nukes
    India's Cities Prosper as Country Folk Starve
    India, Pakistan Form Friendly Ties
    Cell Phones Bring Joy, Sorrow World Over

Other Articles by Gautaman Bhaskaran
Tiger Man Mike Pandey
Egypt's First Edition of El Gouna Film ...
El Gouna Film Festival Opens with Sheikh ...
New Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival to Add ...
India Stands Shamed after Racial Attacks ...

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a veteran film critic and writer who has covered Cannes and other major international festivals, like Venice, Berlin, Montreal, Melbourne, and Fukuoka over the past two decades. He has been to Cannes alone for 15 years. He has worked in two of India’s leading English newspapers, The Hindu and The Statesman, and is now completing an authorized biography of India’s auteur-director, Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Penguin International will publish the book, whose research was funded by Ford Foundation.






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Publisher & Editor: Joseph Joh
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange