by Feroze Ahmed
(The Hindu. November 12, 2000)
Looking Wistfully At Lost Horizons? (Hindu Photo: A Pichumani)
Sonam Tsetan was a 10-year-old when he saw his brother being
killed in violence by Chinese soldiers against a 'peaceful Tibetan
protest.' He is now 21, a first year Mathemaics student of Loyola
College. He remembers a struggle that one would think is not a
problem of the present generation Tibetans. He was part of that
struggle. He is still.
Tsetan is upset that most Indians are not aware of the Tibetan
problem. The 'Glimpses of Tibet' exhibition at the Vinyasa Art
Gallery at Alwarpet on Saturday was an attempt to set that right.
'Many are not aware of our struggle. They have freedom. So they are
not able to grasp our need for independence. In that way, the Karmapa
controversy was good because it created some awareness. But that
is not enough,' a participant said. Photographs at the exhibition
were split into three sections: Tibet before 1959 (an Independent
Tibet), Tibet In Exile and Tibet Today. The participants, chiefly
Tibetan students studying in Chennai, explained the significance
of the photographs.
Included in the exhibition was a lecture on Indo-Tibet relationship
by French Tibetologist Claude Arpi. Following it was a screening
of Kundun, an English film on the 'true story of the Dalai Lama.'
The exhibition was organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA) in
association with the Tibetan Student's Association, Chennai and
More arresting than the photographs was the conviction of the
students for free Tibet. They even understand the compulsions of
But, like the photographs, which have been brought down from
Dharamsala for the exhibition, most of these students would be
returning to the seat of the exiled Tibetans. Hope, though, is
their biggest weapon. Tsetan, who has not seen his parents since
he escaped from Tibet 10 years ago, says he is studying Mathematics
because many Tibetans are weak at it. When he returns to Dharamsala,
he intends to teach the subject to the next generation of exiles.