As my time here in Dharamshala, Northern India comes to an end my chances of another glimpse of H.H Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso by birth) might just be possible as he is due to return from New Delhi after a medical check up. The Tibetan monk, 73, will return home to this northern Indian town where I’ve been for the last week and the Tibetan government-in-exile have been since 1959.
He departed here from Gaggal airport on Tuesday (sounds like a goose sanctuary) locals have told me that it is the pressure of the persistent demands for more autonomy for Chinese controlled Tibet.
Pictured here praying that his medical bill is covered by BUPA. I do wonder if he is on BUPA or similar – seriously?
H.H The Dalai Lama conducted his teaching last week in Dharamshala but trips to Germany and Switzerland this month have been cancelled. The health of the 73 year old aging spiritual leader continues to cause concern despite this being passed off as a ‘check up’. At the end of August he underwent treatment for abdominal pains in Leelavati Hospital, Mumbai.
Whilst we wish him a speedy recovery all is not as rosy as it seems with the local Indian perception of how Tibetans are……….
viewed here in Dharamshala. A local elder and ex politician here told me:
“Frankly, Jim – when they came here they had nothing and were grateful for anything – even a cardboard box to live in. Now they have more money and more rights than some of our local villagers. Their donations coming in from all over the world far outweighs what the locals have here and it’s our land – I can’t see this continuing forever”.
It did surprise me but the place was disrupted on August 8th this year when China officially announced the opening ceremony of the Olympics thousands of Tibetans gathered around the main temple, Tsunglakhang, next to the Dalai Lama’s residence in upper Dharamsala. One local recounted the disruption:
“The crowd of around over 3,000 Tibetans largely consisting of maroon-robed monks and nuns, along with local Tibetans, school children and Tibetans from across India began a protest march from McLeodganj. The protesters were accompanied by hundred or so foreigners (tourists) on the march which continued for over five kilometres to lower Dharamsala.
On the march the protesters shouted slogans of “One World, One Dream, Free Tibet, Free Tibet” as well as anti-China slogans, calling China a “butcher, murderer and liar” The protesters demanded IOC to wake up to the human rights violation in Tibet, asking for international support. The traffic in Dharamsala came to a stand still for a few hours as the marchers flooded the road from McLeodganj to Dharamsala”
I did wonder how long Tibet would survive in it’s own right either here or back in Tibet – maybe we are witnessing the final generation and Tibetans will cease to exist? That’s not a cue for start trek fans by the way.
I welcome your comments here as my time in Dharamshala comes to an end and possibly the end of a race of people?