Dharamshala: Parliamentary delegation consisting of MPs Youdon Aukatsang, Geshe Monlam Tharchin, and Tashi Dhondup successfully concluded their weeks-long official visit to Odisha, West Bengal, and Sikkim on 30th August 2023.
On 29th August, they received the empowerment of Rinchen Terzoe-chenmo from Kyabje Dubwang Rinpoche at Rumtek monastery in Sikkim and presented Mendrel offering to the Rinpoche. They also received a private audience with the Rinpoche at his residence.
In the evening of the same day, the MPs were invited to the residence of Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, Minister of Forest and Environment and Science and Technology. The forest minister was presented with TPiE souvenir and documents and briefed on the visiting MPs advocacy in the states of Odisha, West Bengal, and Sikkim. The Minister assured his support and commitment towards Tibetans and to the issue of Tibet. The Tibetan MPs also invited the minister to visit Dharamshala this September.
On 30th August, the MPs were received by Tibetan Settlement Officer Dorjee Rigzin of Ravangla as they reached Samduptse in Namchi, South Sikkim. They paid their homage at the Guru Padmasambhava’s statue there and left for Sikkim Government College in Namchi.
In attendance of around 800 students and faculty members at the Namchi college, the MPs spoke on ‘India and Tibet: Legacy, History, and Culture’, as Dr. Tsewang Gyatso, Asst Professor and Head of Dept of Languages, Namchi Government college, gave a brief introduction on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s great accomplishments and Tibet’s current political status.
Parliamentarian Geshe Monlam Tharchin spoke on the historical background of Tibet, the Indo-Tibetan relations with shared culture and religion, the commonalities between Sikkim and Tibet, hardships endured by the elder generation of Tibetans after coming into exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s contribution in establishing democracy in exile, establishment of religious and educational institutes in exile, and on the current status of Tibet as more than 90 % Tibetans are still inside of Tibet and many of religious leaders including the 10th Panchen Lama were imprisoned. He advised the young students, who he said are the future leaders of the state, to extend their support in the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan conflict as Sikkim today shares a border with Chinese occupied Tibet.
Parliamentarian Youdon Aukatsang delved into the details of their official Tibet advocacy in the Indian states of Odisha, West Bengal, and Sikkim, especially on their meeting with Sikkim’s Governor, Chief Minister, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the state assembly, and others. She explained how India and Tibet shared a special relationship since ancient times and how Tibet has preserved and protected the precious teaching of India’s Nalanda tradition. She further clarified that independent Tibet had signed many agreements with its neighboring countries as equal partners in the past and highlighted how Tibet matters to India and its security. Speaking on the current critical situation inside of Tibet, the MP spoke on the repressive Chinese policies in Tibet including sending millions of Tibetan children to colonial boarding schools to indoctrinate them with communist ideologies and separate them from their tradition and language. She also spoke on the significance of the environment of Tibet and Himalaya to the global climate and on Tibet’s river flowing to South Asian countries.
Parliamentarian Tashi Dhondup spoke on the Tibet advocacy campaign of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, structure of the Tibetan democracy bestowed upon the Tibetan people by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and provided better clarity to some of points made by the two other MPs. The talk was followed by a Q&A session.
As a sign of gratitude for organizing the seminar, the MPs thanked Dr. Tsewang Gyatso, Asst Professor and Head of Dept of Languages, Namchi Government College, and others including Dr. Panu Pazo, HOD Political Science, Ms. Uden Bhutia, HOD History, and Mr Kimla Dorjee Bhutia, HOD Sociology for their assistance.
Thereafter, they met with Dr. Deepak Tiwari, Principal of the Namchi Government College, and presented him with the biography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, appeal letter of TPiE. The seminar was also attended by TSO Rigzin Dorjee of Ravangla and TSO Lhakpa Tsering of Gangtok. Before wrapping their weeks- long official trip, TSO Ravangla hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting MPs.