Kalimpong: As per the parliamentary visitation program, Parliamentarian Dhondup Tashi successfully concluded his official visit to Ravangla Kunphenling Tibetan Settlement in Sikkim and the scattered community of Kalimpong and nearby areas in West Bengal from 2nd to 10th Nov 2022. During his visit, the parliamentarian also paid courtesy calls on Shri Ruden Sada Lepcha, MLA of West Bengal Legislative Assembly, and Smt. Smriti Vimala (IAS), District Magistrate of Kalimpong.
The MP was welcomed by TSO-led local leaders of the Tibetan Settlement of Ravangla in Sikkim on 2nd Nov, the next day he paid his obeisance at Pema Yangtse and Bon Yungdrung Kundrakling monasteries.
On 4th Nov, the parliamentarian visited Sambhota Primary Tibetan School of Ravangla and spectated students’ presentation of cultural and sports performances. Later he paid a series of visits to the Lelung monastery and camps of the settlement before giving his public talk at the Gyalyum-Chemo memorial hall. And after his public talk, he held an internal meeting with the local leaders of the settlement and discussed ways to address the challenges faced by the Tibetan settlers of Ravangla.
The parliament member also paid his homage at Palchen Choeling monastery and had an audience with the Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche on 5th Nov. He also paid his obeisance at Kegyu Dagmo Choeling nunnery before heading towards Kalimpong.
Coincidently, the birth anniversary of Kungo Gyalo Thondup, elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama who resides in Kalimpong also falls on the 5th of November, therefore upon his arrival, the parliamentarians paid his visit to Kungo Gyalo Thondup to extend his heartiest greeting and to pay his respect.
On 6th Nov, the MP paid a series of visits to Lhamo Tsokpa (Opera troupe), Tharpa Choeling Monastery, Sakya Tsechen monastery, Sekar monastery, Sedgyud monastery, Eye hospital of Jamgyon Kondrul Rinpoche, Old Age Home, and Nyingma monastery. Later that night, the regional associations of Utsang, Dotoe, Domey, Tibetan Youth Congress, and Tibetan Women Association hosted a dinner in honor of the parliament member.
The parliamentarian, on 7th Nov, paid a visit to the Sambhota Tibetan School of Kalimpong where he was warmly received by the teachers, staff, and students of the school. At the school, the MP spoke about the importance of the Tibetan language and culture and the responsivities of the teachers. Afternoon on that day, he paid a courtesy call on Smt. Smriti Vimala (IAS), District Magistrate of Kalimpong and urged the DM’s continued support to the Tibetan Settlement Office (TSO) of Kalimpong and the Tibetan dwellers. He also spoke about the cordial relationship shared by the Tibetans and locals in Kalimpong while acknowledging the support of the Kalimpong administration and people.
Thereafter, the Tibetan MP paid a courtesy call on Shri Ruden Sada Lepcha, MLA of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, and urged his support for the cause of Tibet and in implementing the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy of 2014 in West Bengal. Just like the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT), the Tibetan lawmaker appealed to the MLA on supporting the TPiE’s vision of forming MLA’s Tibet support group in Indian states including West Bengal. The MLA assured his full support to the Tibetans and to Tibet’s issue.
The parliamentarian also spoke to the Tibetans of Kalimpong and clarified their doubts with a Q&A session at the Mani Lhakhang Hall of Kalimpong. The MP spoke on the status of the Tibetan struggle, the agendas of the parliament, and the policies of the Central Tibetan Administration. He reiterated the importance of preserving the Tibetan language, religion, and heritage especially after learning that even though there are around 2000 Tibetans living in Kalimpong but only 80 students are Tibetan out of 377 students studying in the Sambhota Tibetan School in Kalimpong. He further expressed his dismay at the mixed language of Tibetan and Nepali used by the Tibetans living there and urged all the Tibetans to preserve the quality of Tibetan not just the quantity.
On 8th Nov, parliamentarian Dhondup Tashi paid visits to the Men-Tsee-Khang branch and Yulokhang Old Age Home. He then visited Algara, Pedong, and Lava, places that come under the jurisdiction of TSO Kalimpong. At Lava, he paid his homage at Kagyu Thekchenling monastery and Ugen Mindroling monastery respectively. On the following day, the MP visited Tibetans of Oodlabari and Jaigaon in West Bengal.
On the 10th of Nov, parliamentarian Dhondup Tashi headed to Salugara where he will continue his official visitation program.