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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?"

Who after Dalai? Tibetans fear Chinese interference

November 13, 2009

Times of India
November 12, 2009

TAWANG (Arunachal Pradesh) -- The Dalai Lama's
week-long stay in Tawang has entered its middle
stretch. His flock of faithfuls seems to be growing.
But there are diverse feelings. Yeshe Jamyang
(77) looks up with weary eyes and says: "I don't
know what will happen to our religion and Tibet after him..."

'Him' refers to the Dalai Lama. Fifty years ago,
Jamyang was with the Tibetan leader when he made
his sensational escape from Lhasa. He remembers
every moment of terror during the flight -- and
the thrill of crossing the McMahon Line.

Jamyang was dying to see the Dalai Lama and
reports that China was trying to block his visit
had rattled him. "This could be our last meeting.
Both of us have grown old. I don't know what will
happen after him," Jamyang said. The Dalai Lama
turned 75 on July 6 this year. It's not only the
Tibetan spiritual leader's age but the
possibility of China interfering in the selection
of future Dalai Lamas — and India's desperate
efforts to maintain a balance between Beijing and
Dharamsala — that have begun to worry followers of Tibetan Buddhism everywhere.

This uncertainty is evident on the streets of
Tawang. There have been rumours that New Delhi
has 'cautioned' the Dalai Lama against making any
strong remarks on China, as he had two days ago.
Later, there was talk that he was cutting short
his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which Buddhist monks quickly denied.

Despite all this, Jamyang had turned up at the
Yid-Gha Choezin Monastery for the Dalai Lama's
discourse much before it started around 9.30 am.
"I've followed him everywhere — Dharamsala,
Gangtok, Darjeeling, Siliguri, Gaya, Varanasi,"
he said. Nawang T Thendup, another old devotee,
said, "I've come here because I may not see him
again." His grandchildren led him to the prayer
venue. "China played foul when the Dalai Lama
recognized the 11th Panchen Lama (the second
highest monk after the Dalai Lama) over a decade ago.

"It not only put the genuine Panchen Lama in
prison, but also propped up its own parallel
Panchen Lama to divide the Tibetans," said
Jamyang, who spent most of his life as a refugee
in India, building roads as a labourer, and
serving in a special armed force that saw action in the 1971 Bangladesh War.

"Just as we've rejected China's Panchen Lama,
we'll also never accept any Dalai Lama created by
it. The Dalai Lama may also have his rebirth in
India," he added. The die-hard Dalai Lama
follower shifted to Tawang from Dharamsala in
1983. The Dalai Lama himself has always remained non-committal on his rebirth.
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