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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Tibetans in exile are Indians in a cultural sense

November 24, 2009

Bosky Khanna
November 23, 2009

Bangalore -- Tibetan refugees in India are
grateful for the peaceful stay that the country
has offered them for the last 50 years.

To express their gratitude for the government's
support and also commemorate the last 50 years
that the Dalai Lama and Tibetan refugees have
lived in India on exile, the department of
information and international relations of the
Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), department
of home, and the chief representative office have
organised a three-day exhibition at Chitrakala
Parishath. CTA secretary Thubten Samphel shared
the general mood of the event with Bosky Khanna. Excerpts:

Q: What is the aim of this show?

A: We wish to express our gratitude to Indians
and the government for their support. We came to
India in 1959 and it is now 50 years since
Tibetans are living here in exile. India's
democratic nature has helped us achieve human
rights. We have reconstructed a cohesive
community and established schools of Tibetan
system where our children are thought our
language and culture. Through this exhibition, we
are showcasing what we have achieved and what we have undergone.

Q: After staying here for so many years, why do
you still consider yourselves refugees and not Indians?

A: We consider ourselves Indians in the cultural
sense. We do not have an Indian citizenship or
any other identity card. We are legalised here
with a registration certificate that we renew
annually. The certificate gives us all rights,
except the right to vote. Also, if we call
ourselves Indians, it will send a wrong message
to our people back home in Tibet. It will imply
that we have given up our support while they are still struggling there.

Q: But the children born in India are Indian citizens.

A: Yes, but we have a choice of opting our
nationality. We prefer being called Tibetans to
show our solidarity with our brethren in Tibet.

Q: How many Tibetans reside in Bangalore? What
about the detention of some Tibetans during the
recent tri-nation summit in the city?

A: More than 2,000 of us reside in Bangalore,
which is a strong base. There are many more
residing in the neighbouring towns. About the
detention, we have the freedom to express
ourselves in India. But the country had to take
certain precautionary measures during the
tri-nation summit which drewChinese delegates. We
need to follow the law of the land for peaceful living.

Q: What are your expectations and demands from the Indian government?

A: There are no expectations and demands as we
have received sufficient support and encouragement from the government.
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