The Dalai Lama remains a refugee but his people will not

Agencies have been established to ease the process of Tibetans giving up their refugee certificates in favor of an Indian passport. But what does this mean for the Tibetan leadership?

The opinion piece below was sent to dorjeshugden.com for publication. We accept submissions from the public, please send in your articles to [email protected].

 


 

By: Alexis Trabuio

Hundreds of these signs have sprung up in Majnu-ka-tilla, the Tibetan settlement in Delhi, India. Click to enlarge.

These days, posters and signs advertising and encouraging Tibetans to give up their refugee status in order to become Indian citizens are becoming a common sight in Majnu-ka-tilla, which is the Tibetan settlement in Delhi, India. Despite the Tibetan leadership’s futile attempts to sabotage the process, it looks like there is enough interest that both Indian and Tibetan agencies are finding ways to make a quick buck from the seemingly helpless, hopeless exiled Tibetans. Such signs spell out a few eyebrow-raising conclusions, all of which points to the Central Tibetan Administration’s (CTA; Tibetan leadership in Dharamsala) failure in keeping their people together. These posters and signs are an indication that:

  1. There is a demand for Indian passports because multiple Indian and Tibetan agencies have been set up to cater to the demand. This shows a lot of Tibetans no longer find being a refugee good for their future. Even with all the perks a Tibetan would normally receive such as subsidies, free land, being exempted from paying Indian taxes, all of these are no longer enticing enough to convince them to keep their status quo.
  2. Once Tibetans become Indian citizens, they will no longer need to rely on the CTA for anything. They will have a passport and will be free to travel wherever they like. Everything they do will be according to Indian law. They do not need to seek permission from the CTA for anything they do.
  3. The CTA will lose control and power over these Tibetans. Once their people hold Indian citizenship, their allegiance will be to India and not to the Tibetan administration. The CTA will no longer be able to exploit and sell the story that they are a community of “poor refugees”. Having fewer people to parade as part of their “poor refugee” narrative, will in turn mean lesser funds coming in from generous Western donors which end up being pocketed by those in power anyway.
  4. As more Tibetans opt for an Indian passport, the more it jeopardizes the CTA’s rice bowl because they will have fewer people to collect taxes from – the CTA can no longer ask these Tibetans to pay taxes to the CTA because they are Indian citizens now. These Tibetan-Indians will be working and earning just like any other Indian, and they will naturally pay Indian taxes.
  5. Fewer people will believe that they really wish for a free Tibet. After all, if they were really committed to Tibet, why are they not staying Tibetan refugees instead of taking up an Indian passport at the first chance they get? Furthermore, as Indian citizens, they are no longer refugees and will have access to all the rights and privileges of an Indian citizen. They no longer need the financial and moral support of foreign benefactors and activists.
  6. There is a huge loss of confidence in the Tibetan leadership. It is a reflection of the hopelessness Tibetans feel that there will be any change in their situation. By taking on Indian citizenship, it is a direct indication that Tibetans no longer believe that the Tibetan leadership will be able to lead them back to Tibet and they truly believe the CTA is definitely incapable of making this happen.
  7. The CTA can no longer guilt-trip these Tibetans into remaining refugees and to follow the Dalai Lama’s footsteps. Even loyalty to the Dalai Lama is no longer a powerful enough factor to incentivize these Tibetans into staying refugees, instead of opting for an Indian passport. Even the Dalai Lama’s personal dharma protector Nechung has taken trance in their official oracle and promised many times they will return to Tibet and so far it has not been fulfilled. People have quietly lost hope in Nechung as his promises regarding returning to Tibet after 60 years in exile does not come true. 

So the question is why are Tibetans not in solidarity with the Tibetan cause and following their leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama who promised them that they would return to Tibet? The Dalai Lama, who is the most famous Tibetan refugee in the world, holds a Tibetan refugee certificate and not an Indian passport. How come Tibetans are being disloyal and are not following in the Dalai Lama’s example? If Tibetans are willing to risk being called anti-Dalai Lama and disloyal because they opt for Indian passports, then this only emphasizes how much exiled Tibetans have lost hope that the Dalai Lama can return to Tibet and that they will be able to return their homeland with him. Tibetans say they are loyal to the Dalai Lama and believe in him, yet their actions show they do not have hope in returning to Tibet with the Dalai Lama at all after 60 years of waiting in exile. They have quietly lost trust in the Dalai Lama’s promises. The ageing Dalai Lama has not fulfilled his promise of bringing his exiles back to Tibet. Tibetans in India wonder what will happen to them when the Dalai Lama is no more? Hence they are preparing for that by taking Indian citizenship and not waiting for the Dalai Lama’s promise of returning to Tibet anymore. 

Therefore, if there is no hope in returning to Tibet, then what is the point of the CTA existing especially when more Tibetans are becoming Indian citizens? Do the CTA need to exist when they will have no one to administrate? These Tibetan-Indians’ allegiance will be towards India and as time goes by and a new generation of Tibetans are born in exile holding Indian passports, they will slowly identify more with India than with Tibet. Just look at Ladakh and Tawang in Northern India, the Tibetans who moved there hundreds of years ago who, though ethnically Tibetan, no longer identify or think of themselves as Tibetan. It will definitely happen.

So fighting for the Tibetan cause? That will quickly become a thing of the past as more Tibetans become Indian because with time, there will no longer be anything to fight for. By opting for Indian passports over Tibetan refugee status, the message is clear – Tibetans have lost hope and no longer believe that the Tibetan leadership, and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama, will bring them home to Tibet.

The location of Majnu-ka-tilla in India. It is the Tibetan settlement and an area of Delhi, filled with Tibetan shops, guest houses, restaurants, homes and businesses.

Hundreds of Tibetans have turned Majnu-ka-tilla into the “Little Tibet” of Delhi. But with fewer Tibetans opting to remain, and choosing instead to become Indian citizens, will this moniker continue to apply in the near future?

Majnu-ka-tilla is a bustling Tibetan settlement. As more Tibetans opt for Indian passports however, by the terms of the agreement they will not be allowed to stay in the settlements as they are no longer Tibetan. Hence over time, the settlements will dwindle and grow quieter as more Tibetans move out to become Indians.

Do Tibetans who fly the Tibetan flag REALLY believe in a free Tibet, that they are willing to tolerate the difficulties of being refugees? It seems like the answer is ‘no’ because more of them, unlike the Dalai Lama who remains a refugee, are opting to become Indian. How come they are not following in their leader’s example?

Over time, as more Tibetans become Indian and are, by law, forced to move out of the settlements, places like Majnu-ka-tilla will grow quieter. This trend of becoming Indian is now seen in Majnu-ka-tilla but it is only a matter of time before the trend spreads to the other 24 settlements in India.

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19 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. It is very hard to believe what the CTA says these days and it is disappointing to hear the Dalai Lama. All the things they promise us are just lies. All the money they receive from Western donors go straight to their pockets, not the people. So why should Tibetans believe in them? Why shouldn’t Tibetans become Indian citizens and live freely and not under the CTA and be dictated by them? On top of them, we have to give them money.

    Since going back to Tibet is a hopeless dream, we might as well take India as our home because it has been our home for over 59 years now. I don’t see a change in CTA but I see a degeneration. Now we need to be smart and survive so we can at least do what we can to preserve our culture and history. In India, we still have a chance.

    The rich Tibetans will all migrate to the West, even Lobsang Sangay himself has an American passport, so CTA can shut up and Sangay should be the last one to open his mouth to tell us we can’t become Indian citizens or that there is hope in returning to Tibet! What a bunch of BS he is good at, maybe for the foolish injis but we educated Tibetans know better.

  2. The Dalai Lama’s personal protector Nechung has taken trance of their official oracle in Dharamsala hundreds of times. Nechung on many occasions have promised the Dalai Lama to tell the Tibetan people they will return to Tibet. It has been 60 years of saying this in exile. Many of the older generations who came from Tibet into exile in India have died off while waiting to return to Tibet. The new generation of Tibetans born in India are more Indian than Tibetan. Many Tibetans born in foreign countries beyond India cannot speak the Tibetan language well anymore and identify with their adoptive countries more than Tibet. Clearly Nechung’s prophecies do not come true for important issues such as returning to Tibet.

    Tibetans in India and around the world have lost hope in Nechung protector. Therefore the Tibetans in India are not even waiting for the Dalai Lama to die but getting Indian citizenship now while Dalai Lama is alive. How can they get Indian citizenship when Dalai Lama is still on refugee status and not an Indian citizen? Simple, Tibetans quietly lost trust in him.

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    • Nechung has given so many wrong prediction in the past, of course Tibetans lost trust in him. However if we think deeper, when Tibetans say that, they are actually saying that they also started to lose trust in the Dalai Lama because how can the Dalai Lama trust a protector who always goes wrong if he is a Buddha? Doesn’t he has clairvoyance? If he can’t even differentiate which protector can be trusted, then how can we say he is Chenrezig who is supposed to be a all-knowing Buddha?

  3. It looks like the Tibetan refugees in India have started to see their future realistically. After so many failed promise by the CTA and the Dalai Lama, and false prediction by Nechung to bring the Tibetans back to Tibet, the refugees in India finally see the reality that the CTA tried to convince them to maintain their refugee status so the CTA can continue to exploit them to ask for more money and donations from their donors.

    Who wants to remain the refugees for 60 years? Japan, and Germany suffered devastating losses after World War II. 60 years later, they have become developed countries and make up for their defeat. This just shows what a backward mentality that the CTA has, and this is exactly the reason why the Tibetans are fed up and give up their refugee status.

  4. Nechung protector’s command and promise to the Dalai Lama unfulfilled. Nechung promised Dalai Lama if Dorje Shugden’s practice was banned, then the he can get Tibet back and Tibetans can return to Tibet.

    It’s strange as Nechung also said to the Dalai Lama to ban Dorje Shugden back in 1996. If this is done, then Nechung will be pleased and trust will be repaired between him and the Tibetan people and Tibetans can get Tibet back. This has not happened still. Nechung on many occasions make promises to the Tibetan people but it has been unfulfilled. Tibetans lost trust in Nechung.

    The ban against Shugden as requested by Nechung did not fulfill it’s purpose. Many Tibetans are questioning this now. The Tibetans say no benefits have arisen from banning Dorje Shugden’s practice. Only disharmony and disunity arose from this ban. The ban was wrong. Many Tibetans in India and abroad are quietly and secretly returning to Dorje Shugden’s practice now. Many Tibetans said they have practiced Dorje Shugden for many generations and were forced to give up the practice hoping to get Tibet back as promised by Nechung. But this has not happened.

    Photos:
    1. Nechung protector in a painting.

    2. Statue of Nechung in Nechung Monastery. Many senior Tibetan lamas question why Nechung who is a spirit originally from Persia brought to Tibet by traders get more offerings on his shrine than Lord Buddha? Why does a spirit get more offerings than Lord Buddha Himself? Dalai Lama said we should make more offerings to Buddha and not a spirit yet Nechung gets more offerings. Why does the Dalai Lama allow this as it contradicts his own advice.

    3. Yet again Nechung in trance of the oracle monk and speaking to the Dalai Lama.

    HAR77135

    Nechung Monastery in Tibet

    2016-12-21-Mundgod-NN01_DSC5879

  5. If I am a Tibetan refugee and I have waited for 60 years to go back to Tibet, I would have lost hope by now already. The Tibetan leadership has been giving empty promises one after another and there is still no progress on the Tibet cause until now.

    With the current Tibetan leadership, there is no way that they can bring the Tibetans in Exile back to Tibet. There are too busy chasing after their own fantasies and selfish agendas. They do not care about the Tibetans at all.

    It is logical for the Tibetans in exile to move on and take on Indian citizenship to fight for a better future for themselves after 60 years of stagnant in being a refugee. Soon, the Tibetan leadership will not have any Tibetans in exile left to manipulate and they will eventually have to disband.

  6. 60 years of hopes and disappointments are enough to make Tibetans less patriotic. They are certainly not to be blamed for giving up on the Tibetan cause. On the contrary, these Tibetans have shown their loyalty for more than half a decade despite many lies by the their own political and spiritual leaders, even their protector has lied to them.

    Now, by choosing to be Indian citizen, it’s very obvious that Tibetans don’t want to wait anymore even though the Dalai Lama has repeatedly expressed his hope of going back to Tibet. It is a strong indication that the Tibetans not only lost hope in their political leaders, they also lost hope of the Dalai Lama.

    I actually rejoice for their decision. Frankly speaking, no one is going to believe the CTA will fulfill their promise of bringing their people back to Tibet. It’s enough lies after so many years. It’s time for CTA to face their own karma.

  7. Just like anyone else in the world, Tibetans want to be free to travel and have rights just like everyone else. Due to the situation in exile, they were not able to do so. However, getting Indian passport/citizenship is a golden opportunity for them to have all that without having to move elsewhere.

    The matter of the fact is that Tibetans in India have received tremendous kindness from and living under the Indian government as their incompetent leadership in Dharamsala tries to manage a non-existent ‘government’. They should grab this opportunity so that the CTA can no longer control these Tibetans into remaining refugees. Why is it that the CTA encourages Tibetans to go to Europe and USA and become citizens there, but not encourage Tibetans to become Indian citizens in India? Smart Tibetans will have the answer and they know the leadership in Dharamsala is not looking after their welfare.

  8. People who are enthusiastic about the Tibet cause will be those who escaped from Tibet together with the Dalai Lama in the 50s and 60s. Most of them probably are not around anymore or they are very old now. Majority of the Tibetans are the new generations who are born and raised outside Tibet. These new generations are not sentimental about Tibet.

    After 60 years of waiting, there is no result from the CTA and as usual, the CTA doesn’t give a direction to the Tibetans. The Tibetans still respect the Dalai Lama but they also know the Dalai Lama is very old now and he will not be able to bring them back to Tibet. The CTA gives them empty promise year after year, no one has the confidence that the CTA will make any difference in the future.

    The Tibetans also know that the CTA is only using them to make money, the CTA does not care about their future and welfare. Anyone with sense will not rely on the CTA and gamble their future away. As more Tibetans are migrating or going back to Tibet or opt for Indian citizenship, there will be fewer Tibetans for the CTA to ‘manage’ and to ask for free money from the west. Sooner or later, the CTA will have to dissolve and there is no one for them to manage and there is no more cause to fight for.

  9. Tibetans are generally fed up with waiting since they have been waiting for 60 years. Tibetan leadership had given them empty promises and excuses so many times. In the meantime, Tibetan leadership did all they can to get more donations from countries around the world.

    The population of Tibetan in exile now is the generation that has not even set foot in Tibet now. They will not have the passion to fight for Tibet’s freedom, unlike the generation that actually fled Tibet 60 years ago. That is why it is not surprising to see the Tibetans now are slowly embracing the fact that they will not go back to Tibet.

    Many of them had even fled India to western countries to fight for a better future. It is obvious that even in India, the Tibetan government are not taking good care of their own people which forces them to flee the place that they know so well again. That is why Tibetans are cleaver to have moved on and not wait for their government to bring them back to Tibet.

  10. This whole incidence and trend shows that Tibetans not only don’t care about the Tibetan cause anymore, they also clearly show that they no longer believe their government can actually achieve anything for their future. If they dare to not follow the Dalai Lama’s footstep, no one can ever stop them from leaving the Tibetan settlements. Tibetans are just too tired being poor, underprivileged and disappointed for too many years already.

  11. Again and again the CTA, the Central Tibetan Administration has disappointed the Tibetans with empty promises, lies, abuse of power and much more…

    Of course the Tibetans will choose the option that brings them a future instead of endless disappointments…

  12. It is about that for Tibetans to go back to Tibet under China. There is no use for them to resists and there will only be a better life waiting for them in Tibet. After 60 years of being in Tibetan settlement in India, there is obviously no chance or whatever in the for them to get back Tibet’s independence. They will have to live with the fact that Tibet is under China now.

    However, it is also His Holiness’s wish to have Umaylam. Since Rangzen is not possible anymore, Umaylam is the best next thing that they can achieve. It is very important for Tibetans to return to Tibet because it is their home and only there that their identity of being a Tibetan can be preserved.

    They integrate into India or a foreign country, it will be very hard for them to maintain their identity being a Tibetan. Other than that, being with China will prevent the Tibetans from being further exploited by the Tibetan government when His Holiness is not around to protect anymore.

  13. The CTA has failed big time and they have made the Dalai Lama lose all credibilities for everything he has said to the world. All the financial support and aids from the west around the world have now proven to be poured into the sewage tank of corruptions, deceptions and crimes.

    The CTA makes the Dalai Lama now living in great shame for disappointing millions of Tibetans and kind donors and supporters for the lost cause of Tibet. How will CTA explain to the world that the Dalai Lama has failed the Tibet cause and the CTA is the main culprit of it? To make things worst, the CTA cannot prove where all the donations are being distributed to and used for.

    The West should stop pumping in any sum for there is no longer Tibetan refugees in India unless they wish to just support the Dalai Lama, the only Tibetan refugee in the world, whose money is handled by the CTA anyway.

    Tibetans have lost total hope in the Dalai Lama and they are no longer believers of the unexisting Tibet cause. This is an undeniable fact. With more and more demand for the Indian passports, there will soon be no Tibetan refugees in India. Tibetan refugees who can afford have sought refuge in the West or return to China. So what is the function of the CTA and the Dalai Lama now?

  14. Contemplate this:

    Indian journalists sound desperate when they talk about terrorist attacks on India. As this article correctly states, there is little that India can do to address terrorism as they seem to operate from Pakistan. To deal with the terrorists, Indians will have to literally attack Pakistan which it cannot do.

    Well, there is something India can do which is to stop Dharamsala’s terrorist activities against China being executed from Indian soil. The Tibetans have been attacking China for decades, yet they say they wish to return to Tibet. How do you return to a place you constantly criticize? The Dalai Lama is literally begging China to allow him to visit the Five Peaks of Manjushri pilgrimage site in China and also his birthplace in Amdo, Tibet. But if the Dalai Lama keeps criticizing China, why would they sit at the bargaining table with him? India allows for all of this to happen on Indian soil, so that would irritate China.

    Yet India wants concessions from China on the terrorist issue. Meanwhile, Beijing equates Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed to India supporting the Dalai Lama against China for five decades now. Furthermore, India wants China to speak up against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Masood Azhar. But India does not speak up against Dalai Lama. Whether the world thinks the Dalai Lama is the good guy or not, he is a thorn in China’s side so anyone that supports him is not supporting China. Similar to the situation, LeT’s Hafiz Saeed and JeM’s Masood Azhar are a thorn in India’s side but they do not bother China and her allies, so why should China do anything about them? If India does something on the Dalai Lama, then it would be fair to ask China to do something about their support of Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Masood Azhar. Simple equation.

    These reports are really bare-faced hypocrisy. It implies one nation is helpless against terrorists because the terrorists camp out in another country. But that did not stop the US from heavily bombing Iraq on the basis that it was harboring terrorists. The US did not hesitate to overthrow the government and murder its leader Saddam Hussein.

    It is also very hypocritical that the same journalists who are outraged at China’s annexation of Tibet are quiet about Israel’s annexation of Palestine.

    It is interesting to note that most terrorist attacks are aimed at the US and her allies. Everyone conveniently forgets that the US has been throwing their weight around for decades and can even determine which leader they want in other countries.

    Back to India – if China can convince North Korea to have détente with the US, China can similarly help India with the JeM. India simply has to give up the Tibet card. The article is also a one-sided opinion piece because India faces as many terrorist threats from Bangladesh, with just as many terrorist camps, but because Bangladesh is not China, their involvement is not mentioned.

    India is a great country. China and India as friends will be able to influence the globe literally economically and, eventually, militarily. But India has to play fair. By supporting the Dalai Lama, India will get nothing and furthermore, it will be a stumbling block to China’s 1.4 billion people becoming friends with India’s 1.3 billion people.

    The Dalai Lama has to be compassionate and stop speaking against China because he has to consider the difficulty he places India in as his host. Each time he criticizes and allows his refugees to protest against China and ask for western support, it makes China look bad. So if the Dalai Lama wants China and India to become closer and benefit each other economically then he has to be silent on this already.

    The Diplomat’s Prarthana Basu sums it up very well by saying in the article below that “Now with another terrorist attack infuriating India’s populace, the mystery behind this Chinese silence remains unsolved. While most attribute China’s apparent silence as a favor to Pakistan, as both continue to maintain their “all-weather friendship,” others argue that China holds India responsible for granting political asylum to the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama, whom Beijing equates to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed.”

    DiplomatChinaSilenceArticle

  15. 😀

    • F

  16. Tibetans in exile are probably fed up with their refugee situation and decided to seek a better life elsewhere with a new government. It is sad to see they had lost hope in their own government who is supposed to protect, help and nurture them. Instead of doing all those things, CTA exploited their own people and show no care towards their well being.

    After 60 years of struggle as a refugee in India, there is literally nothing that the Tibetans in Exile can do besides more waiting. Waiting to go back to their motherland which is occupied by the Chinese government with ease due to the failure of the previous Tibetan government. The corruption is so bad that the Chinese can just take over this vast piece of land without much resistance. Why Nepal or Bhutan who is much smaller in size manage to maintain their sovereignty? It is about the strength and capability of the government and it is very clear that the Tibetan government does not have both.

    Now that India had made it easier for Tibetans to get their citizenship, it is a wake-up call for Tibetans to move on and not stick to the past. They are not going back to Tibet anytime soon with the same corrupted government. It is better for them to move overseas or integrate into Indian society because they will have more opportunities to succeed in life compared to being a refugee in India. They are smart to realize this and CTA is stupid to think that they can manipulate the Tibetans in exile to stay with them forever.

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Contemplate This

.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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