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'World Tibet Day: July 8, 2000'

Friends of Tibet (INDIA) joined the world-wide observance of World Tibet Day (WTD) on July 8, 2000 in Bombay. The event started with a prayer for the long life of HH the Dalai Lama. 'The Living Buddha', a photography exhibition on the Dalai Lama by Suresh Natarajan was followed by the screening of 'Kundun' (Martin Scorsese), and 'Saltmen of Tibet' (Ulrike Koch).

This event, honoring His Holiness's birthday, also acknowledges that this year has been dedicated to the 60th Anniversary of HH the Dalai Lama's Enthronement. As a part of World Tibet Day observance, an effort was made to increase public awareness of Tibet issues in the media, publicising the goals of World Tibet Day: making a strong stand against the genocide now facing Tibetan people and supporting the restoration of religious, cultural and political freedom of the Tibetan people.

Why Be Concerned?

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Saltmen of Tibet: You don't go to the roof of the world, trek through the wild for three months, harvest salt from a dried lake bed and come back with an ordinary documentary. The Saltmen of Tibet, is a stunning evocation of place and culture. Koche follows a caravan of men and yaks travelling to the sacred salt lakes of northern Tibet. There, the men, descendants of an ancient nomadic people, gather precious crystals of salt, as their ancestors have done for 2,000 years. The salt will be bartered for grain and it will be used to preserve food. This journey is also a ritualistic gathering of the tears of the goddess Tara, and therefore a deeply spiritual one. Undertaken exactly as it has been for centuries, each step is a rite of passage bringing the men closer to a holy place where only a secret language is spoken. Koche doesn't interview her subjects; she simply lets them speak. When they do, it is often about things that we who live in technological cultures have long ago ceased to discuss. The film's exquisite visual beauty, with its images of vast landscapes and simple labor, gives it the quality of a poem or prayer.

Directed by: Ulrike Koche

World Tibet Day was observed at the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay on July 8, 2000.

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