Broken home

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Broken homeBy Vidya Unnithan

Attend the screening of a documentary that takes you to the heart of the Tibetan independence movement

Tenzin Dakpa was merely six years old and oblivious to the socio-political strife in Tibet when his parents sent him away to India with a group that was fleeing the oppressive situation there. “I was the youngest in the group of 14 who had planned to run away to India. It was a very scary time, and we would sleep in the day and cross rivers and mountains in the night. It took us a total of 28 days to reach the Tibetan Refugee Centre in Nepal,” says Dakpa, 24, to whom India is now home. “When I was in high school, I started reading and learning about the situation in Tibet. I knew that I had to do something to help Tibet become a free country again,” he says. Tibet was invaded by the People’s Liberation Army of China in 1950, after which the Tibetan people signed the Seventeen Point Agreement with the newly formed Communist government. But the people continued to resist the presence of the Chinese army and brutality and human rights violations were reported. The situation caused an uprising in 1959, and that is when many Tibetan leaders including the Dalai Lama escaped to India. The resistance against Chinese rule in Tibet continues till date, and the Tibetans living in exile in India have been staging non-violent protests seeking freedom for their country. “We lost our country because of the Chinese,” says Dakpa, who hasn’t met his parents in 17 years.

Dakpa is the programme director of Students for Free Tibet (SFT) India. In the city this week, he will present a documentary to create awareness about the Tibetan people’s struggles. Made by the filmmaker Lara Damiani, the film Tibet’s Cry for Freedom was produced in 2007–2008. It contains interviews with the Dalai Lama and several other notable people of the Tibetan struggle. “The documentary covers the history of Tibet, right up to the large public protest in 2008. It shows how the people of Tibet are angry because their rights are being violated and their lands destroyed,” says the youth leader. The screening will be accompanied by a discussion.

Following the film screening, along with Tenzin Tselha, national director of SFT, Dakpa will lead a discussion on the current scenario in Tibet. “One of the key objectives of SFT is to spread awareness about problems in Tibet. Yes, we are angry and want our country back, but we are also educated people who know that anger will not bring about any change,” says Dakpa, adding, “For most of us, the journey from Tibet to India has not been easy and I am doing my best to talk to people and tell them our stories so that the world knows what’s happening”. He feels hopeful that some day, soon, Tibet will be a free country.


WHERE: Pagdandi Book Store Café, Baner

WHEN: August 11, 4 pm to 6 pm

CALL: 7755908525

ENTRY: Free

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