Why the Dalai Lama is not relevant to India anymore

After 60 years of abject failure, many Tibetan refugees like Kunsang, 33 have given up hope in the CTA. In the past few years, the number of Tibetan refugees living in the Indian settlements have dropped very sharply.

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: Shashi Kei

In March 2019, the Tibetan government-in-exile, commonly known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), celebrated the 60th anniversary of its uprising against China’s occupation of Tibet. These annual celebrations are part of the CTA’s efforts to keep the Tibetan struggle alive in the minds of people around the world. However, this year’s affair showed just how much ground the Tibetan cause has lost in recent times. Neither India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi nor any of his senior cabinet were present. The only foreign dignitary of any import was a former President of a small African nation. The CTA made every effort to keep itself and its cause relevant but this year’s celebrations confirm that the Tibetan Cause commands but a shadow of its former importance and attention.

Perhaps the most obvious sign of this decline is that the CTA’s biggest supporter and ally, India has officially stopped acknowledging the Dalai Lama. This is a massive blow. The Dalai Lama has single-handedly represented the Tibetan struggle since its inception. His presence and, often, even the mere mention of his name has kept the world aware of the Tibetan struggle.

The Dalai Lama’s well-practised charisma has for decades successfully evoked strong pro-Tibetan sentiments. That he was able to keep the world enamoured all this time has been due in large part to India. The host country of the CTA created the necessary space for the Tibetan cause to bear on the world’s conscience.

India even took the unprecedented step of allowing the Dalai Lama to form and operate an exile government on its soil. Its chief objective here was to disrupt and oppose Chinese rule of Tibet, even though India has always acknowledged China’s sovereignty over the region, a contradiction that did not escape China’s attention.

Without India, it would have been difficult for the Dalai Lama and, hence, the Tibetan cause to be as pronounced as it has been. But now, the Indian media is reporting that there has been an “invisibilisation of the Dalai Lama” and that it will soon render the Tibetan people’s dream of regaining their homeland inconsequential in the global scheme of things.

Prime Minister Modi’s silence over the Tibetan issue and the Dalai Lama is undoubtedly due to pressure from China. This, in turn, is China’s response to the Tibetan leadership’s long term campaign to demonise the Asian juggernaut because it regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

History will record that one of the CTA’s biggest failures was to not recognise that its old approach to China which was to attack and defame the rising Dragon, and to provoke anti-Chinese sentiments at every opportunity possible, stopped yielding results some time ago.

The main thrust of the CTA’s formula was to harness the West’s distrust of Communism against China in the forlorn hope that someone would go to war on their behalf and free Tibet. India did go to war with China in 1962 and was soundly defeated.

Night scene of the newly built Chama Square in Chamdo City of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). China seems to have closed to door to any dialogue with the Dalai Lama and have instead focussed heavily on developing the economy of the TAR and improve the Tibetan people’s livelihood.

In the meantime, whatever secret plans the United States had of snatching the Tibetan plateau out of China’s clutches ended with the 1972 visit of President Richard Nixon to China. That diplomatic overture sought to normalise relations between the two superpowers and ended the Tibetan leadership’s hopes that their homeland would be regained by a US-sponsored military coup.

China has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 60 years. It has transformed itself from an impoverished country that could hardly feed its citizens into a global superpower. On the other hand, the Tibetan leadership remained as they had been before 1959 – obstinate, retrogressive and medieval in its mindset and this played out in the way it disregarded its own people. Its persistence in an ineffectual campaign to antagonise China only strengthened China’s resolve.

China today is able to dictate terms and has made rejection of the CTA’s cause a condition for strategic alliances and lucrative partnerships with countries across the globe. In effect, it gives nations a choice: economic progress or support for a feudal theocrat seeking to regain his fiefdom. Due to China’s rise and its significance to the world economy, even the United States, the European Union and India have come to see the wisdom of maintaining friendly ties with her.

Still, the old Tibetan habit of refusing to acknowledge reality persists. It was due to the same short-sightedness of its leaders that Tibet was lost in the first place. The feudal lords had thought little of the world beyond the Himalayan plateau and had refused to participate in the United Nations. So, when Mao’s troops marched into Lhasa, no one came to help.

The same obstinacy and rigidity persist in the Tibetan leaders of today. This goes a long way towards explaining why the Tibetan cause has regressed over the years when other similar struggles for independence have succeeded, even without the financial and moral support Tibetans have received.

To his credit, the Dalai Lama did come to the conclusion last year that it was “stupid” to confront China as an enemy. That was a reversal of the stance he has maintained for almost six decades, criticising China with condemnations deftly infused into his spiritual talks and teachings.

The CTA Sikyong (President) has openly opposed the Dalai Lama’s instructions not to regard China as an enemy.

However, in what is a classic example of Tibetan infighting, the President of the CTA, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay continues to refer to China as the enemy. To emphasise his view that the Dalai Lama was wrong, Sangay stated recently that, “…China as enemy occupied our country, as enemy killed Tibetans, and as enemy destroyed monasteries…”

Sangay’s stance will not help to build a bridge between Tibetans and the Chinese government. This brand of hostility is counterproductive but it does benefit Sangay personally.

Firstly, such provocations feed the collective Tibetan resentment towards China, reinforcing the image of China as a brutal aggressor and the CTA as its innocent victim. It does ensure that funds from the various international ‘Tibetan Aid’ campaigns continue to flow. It does make Sangay appear as a heroic David to China’s Goliath which is what Sangay needs to stay elected since there is no other accomplishments to speak of.

The very existence of the CTA is brazen opposition to China’s rule of Tibet. If there is a reconciliation between China and the Dalai Lama, the CTA would lose its only justification to exist and Sangay would be out of a job and he knows that.

Sangay’s agitations and sabre rattling come at a very high cost, the penalties of which are borne by the host nations that provide the space for such attacks to take place. This is why leaders of erstwhile friendly nations like India’s Modi have stopped speaking about the Dalai Lama.

The burden is also ultimately borne by the Tibetan people in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), who face stringent regulation by a Chinese government wary of the Tibetan leadership’s motives to use the populace in TAR to stir dissension. The price of provocations by politicians like Sangay is also exacted on the Tibetan refugees who followed the Dalai Lama into exile three generations ago, believing he would deliver them home by some divine and supernatural feat.

Increasingly CTA-issued travel papers are being rejected as valid official document in what is an erosion of the CTA’s legitimacy.

As long as their leaders fail to build a bridge to Beijing, Tibetan refugees will continue to live life in limbo. Their identity is being eroded away as they are neither able to return to their own country nor carve a new life in another one. In recent years, countries like Sweden, Switzerland and Italy have stopped acknowledging Tibetans-in-exile in their country as Tibetan refugees and instead refer to them as ‘Chinese nationals’.

The narrative of the CTA and its President that the Tibetan cause is still receiving firm global support flies in the face of reality. Seeing how the Prime Minister of the CTA’s host nation instructed his officials to avoid the CTA’s ‘Thank You India’ celebrations; how the President of the US has bucked convention and so far refused to meet with the Dalai Lama; and how the CTA only managed to attract a former President of a small African nation as the VVIP of an important event to commemorate the Tibetan people’s 60th anniversary of struggle, it is clear something has gone awry for the CTA.

Sangay continues to travel the world to peddle the relevance of the Tibetan issue as a humanitarian, moral, environmental and spiritual struggle. What Sangay has not been able to address is how helping his administration benefits his audience. His speeches and messages rarely differ in delivery and intention and they continue to widen the gulf between China and the CTA, in opposition to the Dalai Lama’s advice.

However, observers have noted that Sangay’s audiences consist mainly of opposition leaders using the Tibetan issue as a platform to criticise sitting governments on their supposed lack of attention to global humanitarian issues. The same politicians quickly switch to a pro-China stance when they assume office.

It is the simple economics of befriending the world’s largest consumer market and a global superpower. China is the new America – a world where opportunities abound; national progress is found in strategic partnerships with China, not in going against her. No country would have opposed the United States at its peak. It was simply not logical. Similarly, it is illogical to oppose China today and everyone except the Tibetan leadership has acknowledged that.

As India continues to provide asylum to the Dalai Lama, the Modi administration has made it clear that India’s relationship with China is far more important. India is not alone on this as the Tibetan leadership’s agitations continue to push allies and friends towards China.

Their refusal to be pragmatic and their continued condemnation of China will see to the complete destruction of the Tibetan people’s dreams. In China’s most recent white paper outlining its plans to develop Tibet, Beijing seems to have closed the door to any dialogue with the Dalai Lama. This, in effect, ends all hopes of the Tibetan returning home. It is the bitter fruit of the Tibetan leadership’s agitations and wrong approach towards China.

In the final analysis, it would seem that the Tibetan leadership itself lost the Tibetan cause. This acknowledgement does not deny the grievances that Tibetans have suffered. The simple reality is that virtually all the hegemonies of the world have conquered and taken over smaller and weaker nations, forcibly annexed lands which belonged to natives and flown their flags over what was once sacred ground. They have toppled governments and supplanted authorities when it was deemed necessary for ‘state security’.

That the CTA has refused to see this fact reflects the immaturity and unpreparedness of its leaders. Some, like Sangay, may argue that it is the moral duty of the Tibetan people and the nations of the world to oppose China’s violent invasion and occupation of Tibet. But the same Sangay has been silent on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Instead, he praised Israel’s defence of its promised land.

How can the Tibetan leader explain the difference between his endorsement of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and his condemnation of China’s occupation of Tibet? Such double standards do not bode well for the CTA.

Whether the Tibetan leadership can change its approach to China is speculation. It may perhaps already be too late in the game for this to have any significant impact. The Tibetan leadership should, however, take steps to preserve Tibetan culture and do what is necessary so that the Tibetan diaspora live harmoniously. If they cannot regain their homeland, the Tibetan people must at least be allowed to retain their culture and religious traditions. But herein lies the Tibetan leadership’s biggest failure – even something as vital as unity has been torn asunder through a series of ‘divide and rule’ policies. This includes the campaign to split the Karma Kagyu and the unconstitutional religious ban on the popular ancient practice of Dorje Shugden prevalent amongst the Gelug and Sakya schools. These schemes as well as the confusion between rangzen and umaylam were all spawned by the CTA and allowed to fester to keep the Tibetan people distracted from the CTA’s failures. As a recent news report published in The Print noted, the invisibilization of the Dalai Lama is almost complete and when that happens the most famous group of refugees in the world will become forgotten.

 

[The Print] Why Modi doesn’t mention the Dalai Lama anymore, while he rages against
‘enemy Pakistan’

Source: https://theprint.in/opinion/modi-monitor/why-modi-doesnt-mention-the-dalai-lama-anymore-while-he-rages-against-enemy-pakistan/215845/. Click to enlarge.

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17 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Since the year 2003, when India officially recognized Tibet as a part of China, and in return, Beijing agreed to begin trade with India’s northeastern state of Sikkim, the Tibetans in exile should have foreseen this.

    They should have known that if India was willing to sell them off in order to begin trade with China, India is ready to sacrifice them one day for the benefit of the whole Indian population. No one will condemn India for saving their own nation and people.

    If the Tibetans are smart, they should have realized that they are just refugees who contributed almost nothing back to India. When you contribute nothing, it automatically equivalent to worthlessness. If you are worthless, you are replaceable anytime.

    However, the Tibetans are still living in denial until today. They seem to be ignorant of this fact and continue to act arrogantly against China in the land of India as if they are VIP of the country. Since India has already recognized Tibet as part of China since 16 years ago, any protest and speech against China that’s happening in India by the Tibetans would have put India into a very difficult situation. And India will lose it’s patience one day. And the day has come.

    It’s time for Tibetans to grow up and help themselves already. They should stop creating any disharmony and separation among the Tibetans and be united again. The Karmapa issue, Dorje Shugden ban and the disagreement between Rangzen and Umaylam are key factors that separated Tibetans. They should be resolved as soon as possible before it’s too late.

  2. It is so sad that after the great length that the Dalai Lama went to become the world’s much loved personal and wherever he went, doors just opened, the Dalai Lama is now sinking in irrelevance. The failure can be blamed on the CTA. For more than 20 years the Dalai Lama had declared himself withdrawn from politics and ceded the position. Lobsang Sangay failed miserably to carry the mantle and the Dalai Lama can never retire from politics. And now without the Dalai Lama, Lobsang Sangay is in the quire mine because he simply does not have the caliber to hold up CTA. Caring only for his own pocket he continues to misappropriate the sponsored funds that run into hundreds of millions USD annually. Even now with the Dalai Lama’s pronouncement of wishing to go home to Tibet for many years, CTA is still sabotaging the opportunities to return cos many of CTA have passports to the Western country. Poor Dalai Lama! His dreams are being shattered more and more as the days go by.

  3. This year marks the 60th year of the Tibetan Uprising but planned demonstrations were held in only 23 locations worldwide — a far cry from the 336 cities in 2008. The biggest event took place in New Delhi, the capital city of India. As a country, India, which hosts the most Tibetans in-exile — now estimated to be 85,000 — could only produce barely 1,000 demonstrators. In Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) are based, the official event to observe Tibetan Uprising Day took place with only a few hundred people attending.

    The above numbers of people reducing given a clear picture to CTA that the Tibetans are not going to place hope on them already. After 60 years which CTA just keeps taking advantage of their people and nothing has been done for them. CTA needs to wake up and look into the matters seriously! Tibetans would just act on their own for their future. CTA fails big time to protect its people and after 60 years we don’t see much of improvement but just scandals after scandals.

  4. 1st Time Dalai Lama Finally Admits His Illness Was Serious

    In the past it is customary to cover up the Dalai Lama’s illnesses. It could be to not worry his flock. It could also be to not show the world he is just another vulnerable human being. Or it could be he does not want to disappoint people to show he is not a god? Whatever the reasons, the Dalai Lama and regime are well known for covering up his serious illnesses. In the past few years he had cancer of the prostate and that was covered up till the press dug it up. Now with this new video just out April 2019, Dalai Lama admits he was recently very ill. It was serious.

    Unfortunately the Tibetan cause will die with the Dalai Lama when he passes. He did nothing to groom up a new leader as he is a dictator. A ruler for life. He has been in power for over 60 years. He will never groom up another person to replace him because he is touted as a god.

    http://video.dorjeshugden.com/comment-videos/comment-1556343635.mp4


  5. To emphasise his view that the Dalai Lama was wrong, Sangay stated recently that, “…China as enemy occupied our country, as enemy killed Tibetans, and as enemy destroyed monasteries…”

    CTA was so corrupted even they disregard Dalai Lama work and going against his wishes. Lobsang Sangay kept suppressed on China being evil, how about their actions on Dorje Shugden practitioners and separation of the monasteries? Who is more demonic?

  6. Cta will do everything in their powers to sabotage their relationship with China. Why would they want to lose their powers and all the large amount of donations. To all cta and TIE sponsors, you need to understand what is going on. Cta is just sucking your money for their personal gains. Do a background check on the cta accounts, personal accounts of the ministers and see where all your monies go to.
    Look at what China did TAR. Definitely something that cta can never do even if they still have tibet. They were too occupied in their little cocoon back then and already lost tibet. They will never have the glory of what they had back then coz I don’t think China will ever return tibet. TIE just too naive to even talk about rangzen nor umaylam. Neither will happen.

  7. Since that Lobsang Sangay against The Dalai Lama wish, that China is not enemy, how come nobody in the CTA Parliament discriminate Lobsang Sangay since he’s against The Dalai Lama? How come no Tibetan segregate Lobsang Sangay and kick him out of CTA? Has CTA become a dictator leadership since it’s ruled by Lobsang Sangay? He, Lobsang Sangay has reached his purpose since he use The Dalai Lama to get money from the west and put in his pocket, now he can go against The Dalai Lama. But soon, he’ll get his karma, coz the world now, not only India, started to realised Lobsang Sangay bad intention. Careful Lobsang Sangay……

    .

  8. CTA has to really wake up from their dream. Many countries are not supporting their cause anymore even their host country, India. They better buck up before it is too late to help themselves. Trying to play pity me does not work with everyone all the time.

  9. The Tibetan Uprising Day event celebrated in Dharamsala only able to get the attendance of a former head of state shown that CTA is no longer favored by the current heads of governments of developed countries and even by other developing countries. And most of the countries who previously supported CTA has now be friendly with China and ignore CTA. However CTA leaders still continuing talking about China is their enemy. All this happened making Tibetan much more difficult to return to Tibet. Very sad to have such a leadership who just care about minority people and forgotten most of the Tibetan in exile still suffering. So far, did you hear the CTA seriously address about the economic progress in the state of exile?

  10. Nobody wants to offend China and especially India. Dalai Lama has since made several comments in the past which did not went well against the Indian government and also not been consistent with his stance on a few different controversy issues. It is remain to be seen if Dalai Lama have the full respect from CTA actually.

  11. People who are have the Dharma should really consider to minimize the dramas they produce, especially the “leaders”.

  12. CTA drama will be end soon. No more symphety to the poor me acting. This series has playing too long and not excited anymore. Better shut down the operation and beg forgiveness from China and India.

  13. Whether secular, wordly or spiritual, at the end there is what is necessary, a result check.

    After 60 years of governance and donations pouring in from all corners of the world, what has the Central Tibetan Authority achieved? Much have changed in the world. A completely new generation of human beings have grown up and with the view for the events and happenings of the last 60years, result check can be done very easily.

    What has CTA achieved. NOTHING and as such their very Tibetan Cause for being in existence has completely faded.

    What has the Dalai Lama done? Propagate the Dharma or create division among Buddhists in particular Tibetan buddhists with the chaos of 2 Karmapas, 2 Panchen Lamas and most of all the ban on Dorje Shugden.

    Therefore it is logical that the Tibetan cause has no more foundation to exist and with it the irrelevance of CTA. The end result the irrelevance of the seat of the Dalai Lama.

    Time to do their own result check even thought it will be near impossible for CTA to have a dialogue with China. As such there is no other way but for CTA and the Dalai Lama to heal the divide among Tibetan Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhism.

    Let the Ban on Dorje Shugden be lifted and all forms of suppression and discrimination be eliminated. May this create a level of unity among Tibetans.

  14. India stepped up diplomatic efforts and convince China successfully to blacklist Masood Azhar. China and India are getting closer now and whatever CTA said China is their enemy will become a big joke to the world. India needs China, and vice versa. This relationship will bring about economic growth and benefits to all Indians, at least.

    Being with Tibetans will bring you nowhere. No matter how much India has supported them in the last 60 years, the Tibetans have brought nothing but trouble to the Indians. It is enough of their ungratefulness and their sense of entitlement. No one owes them anything and they shouldn’t continue to ask the world to give and expect nothing in return.

    Investing in the Tibetans is worst than investing in a bankrupt company,

  15. There are many reasons :

    Today leaders work for their people to bring benefits to their country via economy.

    War causes too much of lost and death which is too much to bear.

    The leaders should work together to have world peace, hence universal unity is important.

    TAR is doing well, even better compare during the Dalai Lama ruling time. China government has been not only helping the poor in China but TAR without bias. This she has won the Tibetan’s hearts.

    Dalai Lama will slowly be forgotten by his own people.

  16. Why the Dalai Lama is not relevant to India anymore?

    The reason is quite obvious that China is the new America – a world where opportunities abound; national progress is found in strategic partnerships with China. No country would have opposed the Chinese at its peak.
    The focus now is on China and whatever it says everyone will fulfill. No one will want Dalai Lama in between them with China. India already started taken Chinese advice at their heart where to be silent on Tibetan activities and the Indian has already stop attending the Tibetan event. This is a clear sign of India response to China with regards to Dalai Lama. I believe situation can go even more ugly for Dalai Lama if China keep give the pressure.

    The ball is on Dalai Lama/CTA court now and they know only China can make the different in their life and it’s up to them to how bad they want to go back to Tibet.

  17. Unlike 5 years ago, Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay is not invited to Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony this time. It is clear that PM Modi of India snubs the Tibetan leadership once again in favour of deeper ties with China. The Tibetan leadership finds itself increasingly isolated as nobody wants to offend China by lending any support to the ungrateful Tibetans.

    PM Modi snubs Tibetan leadership for swearing-in ceremony
    By Tenzin Dharpo
    May. 30, 2019
    DHARAMSHALA, May 30: The Indian Prime Minister who is fresh off of a massive win in the Indian Lok Sabha elections has done a U-turn by not inviting exile Tibetan government’s President to the swearing in ceremony due to be held later today, in a bid to not anger Beijing.
    The President of the exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay’s absence today at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi marks a stark contrast to 2014 when the elected Tibetan leader was seated in the former rows at the ceremony when PM Modi was sworn into office the first time around.
    The invitation to Dr. Sangay in May 2014 drew strong objection from the Chinese government who lodged an official protest censuring New Delhi’s disregard for the so-called ‘One-China policy’. Many said at the time that the invite was posturing at most, of Modi’s intent to India’s neighbor and biggest rivals both in Asia and global arenas.
    The New Delhi-Beijing relations post the Doklam stand off and Wuhan summit has meant that India has given a cold shoulder to the exile Tibetan set up, thereby taking a step back in using the much-touted ‘Tibet card’. The shift in policy has markedly been seen on the ground with New Delhi issuing an advisory to senior leaders to avoid His Holiness the Dalai Lama or pushing the CTA to shift the “thank you India” ceremony from New Delhi to Dharamshala last year.
    The head of the Tibetan polity who extended pleasantries to PM Modi on his win, however may have anticipated the snub. Days after Modi’s historic election win, Sangay flew to the United States and is scheduled to return on June 5 to India next week.
    http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=41474&article=PM+Modi+snubs+Tibetan+leadership+for+swearing-in+ceremony

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.…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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