Lighting the Candle


After this post, G and I had a long discussion (read: argument) about the issue last night. And, I just read this comment on the last post.

Though G signed up on the Facebook page for the Light a Candle event, he doesn’t really believe that it’ll actually make a difference. I disagree. And I refuse to accept that anything that you may do will not make a difference. I care about what happens to Tibet. I have cared even more since I read Tenzin’s poetry a few years back. G says that he cares too, but maybe not as much as me. That may be, like he says, because he hasn’t read that much about it, he hadn’t read Tenzin’s poetry till I made him read it, and the basic point being that what happens to Tibet, or that matter, to Israel, doesn’t really affect him in his daily life. I agree – it doesn’t really. But, isn’t that sad? Isn’t it sad that we’re so stuck in our daily life, problems, work, that we’ve become apathetic to things like this?

So, yes – I do care. But, will I go to Parliament house and sit in a dharna? No, I won’t. Will I maybe go on a peaceful hunger strike to protest? No, I won’t. Will I stop using things that are “Made in China”? Again, I won’t. Those things are too much a part of my daily life. And, there are bigger, better, less selfish people than me out there – who will probably do that – who will make that effort.

But, will I light that candle? Yes, I will. Will I send this on to as many people as I can? Yep. Will I talk to people about it? Yes. Will I at least do my bit in spreading awareness? Yes.

And, I refuse to believe that even that little bit will not make a difference.

I’ve heard people saying that they do not agree with this protest against China. They read it as it being against the Olympics. Aamir Khan says (on his blog) that the Olympics do not belong to China. They belong to sports persons all over the world, and by refusing to run with the torch one is disrespecting the spirit of the Olympics. I don’t think anyone is protesting against the Olympics. I think what we’re doing is talking about an issue that China needs to give answers to at a time when the spotlight is on China. Maybe it’s the right time to ask questions. Aamir also goes on to equate the Tibet-China dispute to any dispute anywhere in the world. He says that all countries have their own problems. He says that the Kashmir issue can be equated to the Tibet one.

Yes, every country has it’s own issues. But, has India reacted to any of those issues in the way that China has reacted to the Tibet issue? This isn’t all about politics, is it? It shouldn’t be. It is about giving people back their home. Giving them their “promised land”.

IMM, I don’t think this is about venting one’s hatred towards China. I think it’s only, purely about standing by something that you believe in.

Last night, G also told me a story that one of his colleagues told him. About all religions having a basis in politics. I completely agree. All religions have been propagated by its spiritual leaders for purely politic, power grabbing issues. Apparently, Buddhist monks used to strip off poor peasants’ skin to punish and scare them, and make them work in the monasteries. Gruesome picture it draws of the peaceful Buddhist monks that we’ve all seen, doesn’t it? But, haven’t all religions done that? What were the crusades about? More recently, doesn’t the Babri Masjid demolition, or the Gujarat riots, sound similar too?

I don’t think this is about giving Buddhism back its home. I don’t think it has anything to do with religion at all. The Dalai Lama doesn’t just stand for Buddhism. He also stands for the millions of people who believe in him, and who believe in the peaceful struggle that he believes in. This is about that. This is about giving people back the home that they were promised.

G says I’m more idealistic than he is.

That’s true. But, what’s wrong with being idealistic? Won’t change really come only with people’s ideals?

Really. Won’t it?

Copy-pasting some of Tenzin’s poetry from the earlier post here:

TIBETANNESS


Thirty-nine years in exile.

Yet no nation supports us.

Not a single bloody nation!

We are refugees here.

People of a lost country.

Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world’s sympathy stock.

Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;

one lakh and several thousand odd,

nicely mixed, steeped

in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.

At every check-post and office,

I am an “Indian-Tibetan”.

My Registration Certificate,

I renew every year, with a salaam.

A foreigner born in India.

I am more of an Indian.

Except for my Chinky Tibetan face.

“Nepali?” “Thai?” “Japanese?”

“Chinese?” “Naga?” “Manipuri?”

but never the question – “Tibetan?”

I am Tibetan.

But I am not from Tibet.

Never been there.

Yet I dream of dying there.

I wish you’d all go to Avaaz.org, and sign up for the petition.

Edited to add: This is an excerpt from a letter from the Dalai Lama to the people of China:

This year, the Chinese people are proudly and eagerly awaiting the opening of the Olympic Games. I have, from the start, supported Beijing’s being awarded the opportunity to host the Games. My position remains unchanged. China has the world’s largest population, a long history and an extremely rich civilization. Today, due to her impressive economic progress, she is emerging as a great power. This is certainly to be welcomed. But China also needs to earn the respect and esteem of the global community through the establishment of an open and harmonious society based on the principles of transparency, freedom, and the rule of law. For example, to this day victims of the Tiananmen Square tragedy that adversely affected the lives of so many Chinese citizens have received neither just redress nor any official response. Similarly, when thousands of ordinary Chinese in rural areas suffer injustice at the hands of exploitative and corrupt local officials, their legitimate complaints are either ignored or met with aggression. I express these concerns both as a fellow human being and as someone who is prepared to consider himself a member of the large family that is the People’s Republic of China. In this respect, I appreciate and support President Hu Jintao’s policy of creating a “harmonious society”, but this can only arise on the basis of mutual trust and an atmosphere of freedom, including freedom of speech and the rule of law. I strongly believe that if these values are embraced, many important problems relating to minority nationalities can be resolved, such as the issue of Tibet, as well as Eastern Turkistan, and Inner Mongolia, where the native people now constitute only 20% of a total population of 24 million.

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4 Comments

Filed under social issues

4 responses to “Lighting the Candle

  1. namita edwards

    I think i agree with u that each one of us have to do our bit and creating a riot for it is not always the solution.

  2. I think what you are trying to do is rather clear. But there will always be those who will look to give it the most negative twist. You just have to rise above it. Or kick their butts!

    me: hmmm…let’s kick their butts, I say! 😀

  3. Wading through a sea of doubts and uncertainties and people just being plain freaking UGHs… it’s so so so heartening to know that someone this close still believes in the faith, the right, the ideal, the good, the straight, the uncomplicated and unadulterated.

    Aanch… carry that flame. If not today… then tomorrow…or day after… people will light their candles from it.

    🙂

    Hugss

    me: 🙂 Thing is… I know that you carry that flame too. And I wish that you always will. HUGS

  4. Wish I had found this post earlier. Y’re right…this issue is beyond religion. And the important thing is that the fight is for the people inside Tibet. Genuine heart-felt support for the Tibetan Cause is highly appreciated and I thank y for this post.

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