Friends of Tibet (INDIA)
Tibetan Parliamentary & Policy Research Centre

"There is no greater sorrow on earth
than the loss of one's native land..."

A statement that is appropriate to the Tibetan struggle for independence, a slogan that brought together all Tibetans living in South India, who had gathered at the Music Academy Hall, Chennai on November 11, 2000 to participate in the 'Tibet Day' celebrations. This one-day event jointly organised by Friends of Tibet (INDIA) and Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre in association with TSAM and TRWA included a talk by French dentist-turned-Tibetologist and the author of 'The Fate of Tibet' Claude Arpi; screening of 'Kundun', the true life story of the XIV Dalai Lama and 'Glimpses of Tibet,' an exhibition of photographs on Tibet.

'Tibet Day' inauguration by Walter Devaram
'Tibet Day' inauguration by Walter Devaram

The event was inaugurated by the former Commissioner of Police Walter Devaram, with the auspicious offering of the chamar (made of barley) and chang which was followed by speeches -- including Ngodup Dorjee (Dalai Lama's Representative to South India), Tsering Tsomo, (Executive Director, Tibetan Parliamentary Policy and Research Centre, New Delhi) and Anto V, (Co-ordinator, Friends of Tibet INDIA). Finally, Claude Arpi threw light on the 'Relationship of the Indian Government with Tibet during 1947-50'.

Claude Arpi on 'Indo-Tibet Relationship
Claude Arpi on 'Indo-Tibet Relationship'

'Glimpses of Tibet', the photo exhibition, mounted at the Vinyasa Gallery, comprising 27 black and white and colour photographs, captured the story of a nation whose cry for help is loud and clear. The strong links that exist between India and Tibet came through quite effectively in these photographs.

An Image from 'Glimpses of Tibet'
An Image from 'Glimpses of Tibet'

One photograph where the Dalai Lama is inspecting the Guard of Honour in 1956 in India, three years before he fled Tibet, is poignant. The ruins of the Ganden and Drepung Monasteries in Tibet, which were destroyed during the 'Cultural revolution', tell another sad tale. Potala Palace in Lhasa, the seat of the Tibetan Government, bears a deserted look. And a moving image of a little boy in Tibet holding a photograph of the Dalai Lama. Displaying the photographs of the Dalai Lama is banned in Tibet.

'Kundun', which was screened later, is a visual extravaganza that was shot extensively in Morocco. The film captures the life and the struggle of the present Dalai Lama, his emotional and spiritual turmoil. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the haunting music score is by Philip Glass. That was most definitely the highpoint of the 'Tibet Day' in Chennai.

Talks by Tsering Tsomo (Director, TPPRC), Ngodup Dorjee (Representative of HH Dalai Lama to South India) and Anto V (Co-ordinator, Friends of Tibet INDIA)
Talks by Tsering Tsomo (Director, TPPRC), Ngodup Dorjee (Representative of HH Dalai Lama)
and Anto V (Co-ordinator, Friends of Tibet INDIA)

'The Relationship Of The Indian Govt With Tibet: During The Twilight Years of 1947-50' talk by Claude Arpi; screeing of 'Kundun' were held at The Music Academy Mini Hall, and 'Glimpses of Tibet' photo exhibition at the Vinyasa Art Gallery on November 11, 2000 in Chennai.

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