'Non-Violent Action For Tibet' Workshop
(Sept 20-26, 2002. Mainpat, Chattisgarh)

For Many These Were New

Day 4 (Sept 23, 2002): Today, except for one talk and a discussion we spent the whole day on constructing the 'Martyr Pillar.' In the morning I spoke on 'Individual As An Activist' -- how one can train oneself into a efficient activist. I briefly spoke about my prison experience in Tibet. After my talk participants added their points to the discussion.

While having tea, a heavy rain came thrashing down. We dropped the plan to work on the pillar instead worked on the drama pieces.

In the afternoon, we all started working on the pillar. There was the fear that if it rained again we would not be able to work and the pillar needed to be finished today so that next three days could be left for drying and do the final touches. Unlike other settlements, here wooden planks were not easily available to make the frame. We tried looking for wooden planks. Some collected plywood and wooden pieces while some started cutting them into shape and put them together with beams nailed into them. This needed a lot of carpentry and used up a lot of time. The community hall was literally converted into a workshop.

When we finally made four frames and put it up straight on the base, it was already 4pm. The empty frame needed to be filled with cement, stones and sand mixture which we call 'masala.' It was really refreshing having tea with sweat beads dripping down the forehead.

The main feeding began at 5pm after properly fitting the wooden frame of the pillar. Participants lined up and passed on the 'masala' to those who were filling the wooden frame. Some sang songs, some cracked jokes and the work continued till 6.30pm.

Today being a Monday, it is the weekly village fair and many of the participants had to go for their weekly purchase of vegetables. We could not see the films. But at the end of the day, it proved to be one of the most satisfying day with lots of hard labour. Tomorrow we need to do the final touches on the 'Martyr Pillar.'

'Martyr Pillar' Brought People Together

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7

List of Participants (Chattisgarh): Dawa Tsetan, Sonam, Migmar Tashi, Kalsang Youdon, Chemi Dolkar, Sonam Gyatsen, Tenzin Sherab, Jamphel, Tsering Dhondup, Tenzin Paldon, Tenzin Yangkyi, Sonam Dolma, Lobsang Samten, Tenzin Choklang, Kunga Tashi, Tenzin Tsering, Sonam, Tenzin Jangchup, Karma Gyurmey, Chime Yangzom, Thupten Choephel, Sonam Gyurmey, Choedon, Tashi Gyurmey, Tenzin Choegyal and Tenzin Pehka.