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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Tibetan women celebrate Raksha Bandhan to cherish "brotherhood with India"

August 18, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
August 16, 2008

Dharamsala, Aug 16 -- Members of the regional Tibetan Women's
Association (RTWA) of Dharamsala on Saturday organized a symbolic
celebration of 'Raksha Bandhan', a Hindu festival of tying 'rakhi' (a
piece of holy thread) round the wrist of brothers, to cherish and tie
"bond of brotherhood with India."

Raksha Bandhan (bond of protection), also called Rakhi Bandhan, is a
Hindu festival of love, faith and protection and is being celebrated
all over India today. On the occasion, the sisters tie up the sacred
traditional thread of 'rakhi' round the wrist of their brothers to
save them from all evils and to cherish the chaste bond of love
between brothers and sisters.

Members of Tibetan Women's Association, armed with rakhis for their
Indian brothers, participated in the symbolic religious festival of
Raksha Bandhan here today at the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple

Members of the local taxi and Auto unions and Tibet supporters joined
the celebration.

The RTWA members, joined by the Tibetan Women's Association President
Dr B. Tsering, tied the sacred traditional thread of rakhi round the
wrist of Indian brothers and offered traditional Indian sweets to
them. Members earlier on Thursday visited different local Indian
administrative offices to extend advance greetings to officials.

"Initiating social and cultural interactions like this one can help
strengthen our existing bond of friendship with local Indian
community here," Dharamsala RTWA president Kelsang Youdon told Phayul.

"As per tradition of the day, we would like to extend greetings to
our Indian brothers," she added.

"Tibetans throughout history have developed a unique and strong
relationship with the people of India," she explains, adding "We
would like to celebrate this auspicious day and tie the bond of
brotherhood with India."

"Tibet now faces a grave historical challenge and we have once again
turned towards India for strategic support," she said. Saying
Tibetans have been following the non-violent path shown by Mahatma
Gandhi; Kelsang said, "India is Tibet's teacher in our struggle
against the oppressor."

She said those Tibetans, who rose gallantly all over Tibet since
March 10 against Chinese oppression, were treated with swift and
harsh military crackdown, which left more than 200 Tibetans dead,
over a thousand arbitrarily arrested and many more still missing.

Describing India as a "peace-loving, non-violent and the biggest
democratic country in the world," she urged India to support Tibetan
people's cause more openly.
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