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Tawang prays for Dalai Lama's Tibet return

November 11, 2009

Keshav Pradhan
November 10, 2009

TAWANG (ARUNACHAL PRADESH) -- The lofty mountains that separate India
from Bhutan and Tibet looked magnificent as the Dalai Lama began the
firstreligious discourse of his weeklong visit to Arunachal Pradesh
here on Monday.

"That's where Zemithang is. The Dalai Lama had escaped to India
through that point," remarked Lungten Tshering (64), looking at a
hill bordering Bhutan and Tibet. It seemed Zemithang repeatedly drew
Tshering, a former Central intelligence man, into the past even as he
heard the Tibetan leader. ''I say 'Bhod Rangzen tsangma nyurdu thoper
sho (Let Tibet be a free nation soon)' in my morning prayers. I pray
for the Dalai Lama's long life," he said.

"I, too, pray for the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet," added Dorje
Droma (45), a farmer from Thongrong in Bhutan's Tashigang district.
She had trekked four days with her neig bours to reach Tawang.

Just then, the Dalai Lama, sitting on an elevated seat outside a
monastery, was heard saying, "We must put the concept of karma or
selfless action into practice. We must be honest about what we say or
do. We must try to become Buddhists of the 21 century, in harmony
with science.''

"I dream of the Dalai Lama returning home with all our Tibetan
brethren through the very route they took to leave Tibet," said
Gyatso Monpa, an India-Tibet Friendship Society volunteer. But can he
return to Lhasa in his life time? ''It's difficult as long as the
Chinese are there. For this, we need to have a good campaign," he
said. Significantly, society volunteers did not don Indian and
Tibetan flags as they had on Monday.

Drawing references from legends, many like Tshering said the Dalai
Lama's exile was ordained. "One of our oldest texts by our first
Rinpoche, Pema Jungnye, had predicted that a man with a black mole
will rule Tibet for some time. That man was Mao Zedong,'' said
Tshering, who has spent 30 years gathering information along the
McMahon Line at Bumla, 40 km north of Tawang. "All nations must
support the Tibetan cause, which is genuine. Buddhism will die if the
Dalai Lama is unable to return to Tibet," he said.

Like the Tibetan diaspora, the Monpas, too, observe international
developments, especially those related to China. "We can't lose hope.
Changes are taking place across the globe. Communist states in Europe
have disintegrated. China may also change. It's a matter of time,''
said a Monpa from the US. ''There can be no solution unless China
gives some space to Tibetans. They can't make them accept Tibet as a
part of China."

Most Monpas support the Dalai Lama's contention that China's hard
line has delayed the settlement of the Tibetan question.

"There's so much repression and persecution in Tibet. It won't be
possible for the Dalai Lama to go there unless the Chinese are
militarily removed. I don't think any nation can take on China like
that,'' said Nawang Lhakpa (45), a trader from Tawang.
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