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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Secular questions

December 19, 2008

The Indian Express
Dec 18, 2008
 
After no little speculation, when the inevitable finally happens, it happens without the element of surprise. But that doesn’t necessarily diminish its portent. The Dalai Lama has announced a “semi-retirement”, leaving the determination of the future course of action for the Tibetan movement in the hands of the “elected government” under “Prime Minister” Samdhong Rinpoche. This development doesn’t perhaps surprise although the Tibetan spiritual leader had reiterated at the Dharamsala meet last month that it was his moral responsibility to lead the Tibetan people till his death. He, of course, is 73 and ailing, and it isn’t for nothing that he has called the next couple of decades a time of “great danger” for Tibet. A test of Tibet’s will and his own, perhaps?
 
But at the Dharamsala meet, much to New Delhi and the West’s relief, the Dalai Lama had also reiterated his commitment to the “middle path”, with its innate “wait and watch”, non-violent strategy that has largely defined the Tibetan movement. This “middle path”, a mark not just of the Dalai Lama’s philosophy but also of his pragmatism, is of salience to India in that it has spared New Delhi a lot of diplomatic and political headache vis-à-vis Beijing. The Dalai Lama’s thoughtfulness allowed Tibetans to keep the issue of their human and cultural rights in international focus and yet not draw the Indians, Chinese and Tibetans into a tripartite tussle.
 
So whither Tibet now? This has also been the year that saw the biggest trouble there in 50 years. There is already a strong opinion in Tibet favouring a more aggressive path. The pervading feeling at the Dharamsala meet last month was one of pessimism and gloom: its focus was the “failed” policy of rapprochement with China. The tentative answer lies in the Tibetan movement continuing to draw inspiration from the Dalai Lama, even in his departure from the political scene.
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