Gopalpur: As per the invitation accorded, Deputy Speaker of 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Ven. Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok attended the 20th Inter-House Athletic Meet at TCV Gopalpur as its ‘Guest of Honour’ on Oct 6.
At 9:30 am the inter-house athletic meet paved way for its commencement as Chief Guest Sh. Shanta Kumar, former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and the National Convenor of All Party Indian Parliamentarians Forum for Tibet (APIPFT), Guest of Honour Ven. Acharya Yeshi Phunstok, Deputy Speaker of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Dharamsala Tibetan Settlement Officer, Director of TCV, teachers, staffs, and students of TCV, sponsors and local Tibetan residents took their respective seats. The competition began with the students saluting during the class-wise parade procession after performing songs to thank the people and government of India.
After the welcome speech by Mr. Kalsang Phunstok, Director of the school, Deputy Speaker Ven. Acharya Yeshi Phuyustok addressed the gathering. He said, ‘Sh. Shanta Kumar is someone who is very well acquainted with the situations of Tibetans since our exodus from Tibet into exile in India, especially with the case of Tibetans living in Bir, Chauntra, and Tashijong. He, in particular, after seeking an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, wrote and published the book entitled, ‘Red Shadow over the Himalayas’ in 1965. Despite the several shows of contempt from the government of China, he has, very bravely, published it. He recently inaugurated its second edition with the addition of Indo-China’s present relationship and the situations of Tibetans in exile after receiving a blessing from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Tsuklagkhang. He is someone, who has supported the cause of Tibet with all his heart, like one’s own family. Over the years, he has led the All Party Indian Parliamentarians Forum for Tibet and worked tirelessly for the cause of Tibet. Thus, I am truly humbled and blessed to be in the presence of such a great man on today’s occasion.’
He then elucidated the gathering on people belonging to all social strata of the world coming to Dharamsala to seek an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as to render their support to the Central Tibetan Administration. He also spoke on the recent delegation from UK Parliamentary Group for Tibet, Us Congressional staffers etc.
‘It has been 59 years and now nearing 60 years since our existence in exile and over the years, the ones leading the Tibetan struggle are now the third generations of Tibetans in exile. As you can notice, even all the leaders in today’s program are the third generation Tibetans,’ he said.
He, thereafter, stressed on the significance of understanding the history and background of games and sports played in the schools, which are not intrinsically a part of Tibetan culture but rather a part of western culture and tradition. He said that if the students are made aware of such, there might be a rise in the interested students pursuing physical education and thereby, tackle the lack of Physical Education (PE) teachers in schools as well. He further spoke on the history of summer and winter Olympics as well as categories of games, such as outdoor and indoor games incorporated into school’s curriculum.
He added, ‘After twelve years of studying modern education and Tibetan culture in school, the most important thing is to recall the gratitude of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the people and government of India. After you graduation, you must not forget that the inclination to sing, dance or compete in games with confidence is owed to the foundation laid down at school. As for the teachers, it is equally important to give equal opportunity to every student in the school in every co-curricular fields such as song, dance or sports. Recently a Tibetan girl won silver medal in an international Thai Martial Arts Games and Festival 2018 at Bangkok, a Tibetan singer from Kalimpong, whose band won the first runner up position in a singing competition on a popular Indian music reality show and similarly, even inside Tibet, despite the atrocities and subjugation, a Tibetan woman won third place in Summer Olympics in a women’s 20 kilometer race walk. Therefore, all of you must not waste the golden opportunities of the school days.’
With the conclusion of his speech, Deputy Speaker was presented with a memento of the school. Subsequently, honour certificates were awarded to the school’s two Captains by Chief Guest Sh. Shanta Kumar, who addressed the gathering and was duly accorded with the school’s memento as well.
Sh. Shanta Kuma stressed the importance of being a good human being, stating that, ‘marks, be it high or low, shouldn’t matter. What should matter is how you are as a human being- a good human being.’
He stated that he got several opportunities to get an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and in 1965, he was able to write and publish a book related to the issues of Tibet. He further added that he has and will always continue to render his wholehearted support to the cause of Tibet. He also wished the school a successful sports event and success in every other activity undertaken by the school.
Thereafter, he donated Rupees Five Lakh to the school with the hope that this amount would contribute to render some financial assistance to the various activities undertaken by the school.
With the declaration of the start of the 20th Inter-House Athletic Meet by Chief Guest Sh. Shanta Kumar, the track and field competition between the various houses of the school started.
The inter-house competition concluded in the evening of the Oct 6 with Deptuty Speaker Ven. Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok declaring the closing announcement of the 20th Inter-House Athletic Meet.
Trisong house begged the first place in the 20th Inter-House Athletic Meet of TCV Gopalpur.