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Remembering Tibet During The Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama

March 2, 2010

Tibet Custom
February 27, 2010

Dharamshala -- The official commemoration of the
centenary of The Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama's
exile to British protectorate in India has begun
from 25 February 2010. The inaugural function
held Thursday at Tsuglagkhang, the Buddhist
temple in Dharamsala, was attended by a large
gathering of Central Tibetan Administration officials and general public.

Kalon Tripa Prof Samdhong Rinpoche and Mr Penpa
Tsering, speaker of the Tibet Parliament, spoke
on the profound contribution of the Great
Thirteenth Dalai Lama in both the spiritual and political governance of Tibet.

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, Thubten
Gyatso, achieved great accomplishments in
maintaining the political and spiritual supremacy
of independent Tibet, and ushering happiness to
the Tibetan people. After the rule of Great Fifth
Dalai Lama there was the steady decline of rule
by successive Dalai Lamas due to subversive
intrigues by Manchus and Gurkhas. The Thirteenth
Dalai Lama took the temporal and spiritual
responsibility of Tibet in 1895 in accordance
with the prayers and wishes of the people of Tibet.

He fulfilled the profound visions of the Great
Fifth Dalai Lama in governing the institution of
Gaden Phodrang, the Government of Tibet, Kalon Tripa said.

With the entry into Tibet of the invading British
and Manchu troops in 1904 and 1910 respectively,
The Great Thirteenth Dalai Lama was compelled to
flee to China and British protectorate in India, Kalon Tripa said.

In 1911, revolution broke out in China. The pay
and supplies of the Chinese troops in Tibet were
cut off, they revolted against their officers,
and in 1912 the Tibetans drove drove the remnants
of them, together with the Ambans, out of the
country. In June 1912 the Dalai Lama returned in
triumph to Tibet but it was not until January
1913, after the departure of the last Chinese,
that he entered Lhasa and issued declarations
that Tibet was an independent nation.

He said plans are afoot to mark the centenary in
Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Calcutta where the
Thirteenth Dalai Lama spent his days during exile.

Kalon Tripa said in 2012 the administration would
also commemorate the centenary of the Thirteenth
Dalai Lama's return to Tibet and declaration of Tibet's independence in 1912.

The people of Tibet throughout the three
provinces of Tibet lived with happiness and
prosperity during the reign of the Thirteenth
Dalai Lama from 1912 to 1951, Kalon Tripa added.

And during his reign Tibet made a number of
international agreements. The Tibetan government
signed a convention with the British government
in 1904 when the Thirteen Dalai Lama was forced
to flee to Mongolia as British troops advanced to
Lhasa. In the Dalai Lama's absence the convention
was signed by the Regent, using the Dalai Lama's
seal, and also sealed by the Cabinet, the
National Assembly, and the monasteries of
Drepung, Sera and Gaden. Tibet in fact, had made
a formal international agreement as a sovereign
power. It confirmed the boundary and trading
rights, and among other things, it undertook that
no foreign power should be allowed to intervene
in Tibetan affairs without the consent of the
British government. China was not mentioned at
all in the document, and by this omission it must
have been included among the unspecified foreign
powers. As soon as the convention was signed, the
British forces marched out of Tibet and never threatened Tibet again.

The Thirteenth Dalai Lama improved the living
standards of Tibetan people, and organised the
Tibetan army. He also sent students abroad to
study; established small hydroelectric plants and
industries; introduced postal and telegraph
services; issued stamps; new gold and silver
coins, and currency notes. He also made changes
in the curriculum of religious studies in Gelukpa monasteries.
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