NEW DELHI – The first quarter of 2018 has not been a pleasant one for the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA; Tibetan leadership based in Dharamsala). Not only have they been repeatedly confronted with the truth that they are nothing more than pawns in other people’s political games, but the world is starting to realize who the CTA really are – a self-serving administration who have manipulated everyone into thinking they are long-suffering refugees to gain free financial aid which has only gone to line the pockets of those at the very top.
And so when it comes to the CTA, theirs has been a two-fold decline in recent times. Internally, they have been beset by scandal after self-made scandal; externally, the world continues to refuse tangible support for the so-called Tibetan cause, preferring instead to strike up a relationship with China.
Most worryingly for them however, is that the Tibetans are starting to lose Indian support. For 60 years, India has been the exiled Tibetan community’s biggest supporter. Their generosity began on the very first day of the Tibetans’ lives in exile, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama set foot in India and gained the promise of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for Tibetans to occupy 27 tracts of land throughout India. Not only did they receive this land rent-free, but the Tibetans are not required to pay taxes for any of the donations they receive, amounting into the hundreds of millions. And while other countries have remained silent, India has often chosen to forego a better relationship with China in order to uphold the supposed moral imperative of supporting the Dalai Lama and his administration.
The current Foreign Secretary of India, Mr Vijay Keshav Gokhale
To the dismay of the Tibetan leadership, this is no longer the case and in the last few months, India has shown greater interest in fostering a more positive Sino-Indian relationship. It began with the appointment of Mr Vijay Gokhale to the position of Indian Foreign Secretary. A former Indian ambassador to China, Mr Gokhale is an advocate of a more conciliatory approach with China, himself having played a vital role in the resolution of the 2017 Doklam crisis.
His appointment forms just one of many incidents in recent times signaling a decline in Indian support for the Tibetans. It is with this knowledge that the CTA planned their “Thank You India 2018” campaign, a badly-organized initiative launched to try and win back some local support for the Tibetan cause. At the commencement of this campaign however, it became painfully obvious that the CTA no longer enjoy unwavering, unquestioning support from Delhi. News of this campaign led Mr Gokhale to trigger a series of events, resulting in a memo issued to all Indian officials discouraging them from attending any Tibetan-hosted occasions. This memo has been the talk of the Internet, having seemingly emboldened more and more Indians to voice their discontent in relations to the Tibetans.
As a result, Indian leaders declined to join this event and also ordered Tibetan leaders not to have this event in Delhi, leading the Tibetans to cancel it. It has been a huge wakeup call to the Tibetans in India that their ‘poor me refugee’ charade will no longer be tolerated after a free ride in India for 60 years. Easy days for the Tibetans leeching off India, but not assimilating nor contributing to their generous host country, are ending. The cancelled “Thank You India 2018” celebrations was nothing more than a cheap marketing effort by the childish Tibetan leaders to once again lavish empty lip service to Indians, but not doing anything tangible for India’s pressing needs as usual. The Indians saw through this and decided to decline their support for this event which the Dalai Lama was supposed to attend, showing even the Dalai Lama is losing his drawing power among the Indian government and elite.
Thus, from a grassroots level all the way up to the highest echelons of government in Delhi, it now seems that the Indians are no longer willing to be the CTA’s pseudo-landlords. Unhappy Indians have taken to the Internet to voice their dissatisfaction, pointing out that:
- Tibetans should stop relying on the USA for funds, and on India for rental-free land. Financially, the Tibetans have not contributed anything to the Indian economy by way of taxes, and all donations that the monasteries receive stay within the Tibetan communities. They do not filter out to the poor local Indian communities surrounding them.
- The Tibetan leadership should stop acting as a provocateur in Sino-Indian relations, and let India dictate their own foreign policy without Tibetan interference. India already has many foreign policy issues to contend with, without the CTA creating any more. When the Doklam standoff in Northern India was happening, the CTA remained silent much to the consternation of Indian observers. Meanwhile, Mr Gokhale worked to resolve the situation which the Dalai Lama had previously exacerbated by visiting Arunachal Pradesh just before the standoff took place. The ownership of Arunachal Pradesh is disputed by the Indians and Chinese and the Dalai Lama’s visit was perceived by the Chinese leadership as intending to provoke them. During the Doklam standoff itself, the Dalai Lama further exacerbated the situation by visiting Ladakh, again in Northern India.
- The CTA and the Tibetans should show some interest in Indian domestic issues. For example, when Gorkhaland was an issue, the CTA remained silent although many Tibetan refugees live in the Darjeeling area where the unrest was taking place. Similarly, when there were anti-Tibetan protests in Arunachal Pradesh, the CTA cowardly remained quiet while Indian politicians dealt with the unrest.
- Related to Points #2 and #3, the CTA uses India to play politics, without any regard for Indian welfare. The Tibetans lack any sensitivity and interest for domestic issues faced by India, choosing always to act in a manner that benefits only themselves.
- The Dalai Lama himself has said he wants to go back to China, so why are the CTA constantly antagonizing China and making this wish less and less attainable? Even the Indians are realizing this and are saying that the CTA should do more to help the Dalai Lama go back! In fact, one commentator even notes that the Tibetans HAVE a home and it is called Tibet, and they should go back. Even the Dalai Lama has stopped calling for independence so the Indians are now asking, why are the Tibetans still in exile?
- When the Tibetan leadership issues statements that contradict India’s, Indian citizens begin to question how the CTA can logically expect India’s support on anything. For example, one commentator takes issue with the critical remarks the Dalai Lama made on intolerance in India. The Tibetan leadership has also previously dismissed India’s foreign relations issues like Doklam as being “not very serious”, although there were casualties and injuries as a result of the conflict.
- So not only do the Tibetan leadership stay silent when they should talk, but when they do talk, they create problems. The Dalai Lama, for example, triggered many Nepalis to be upset when he commented that “Buddha was born in India”. The resulting uproar damaged already-fraught relations between India and Nepal.
- The main focus now is economic prosperity and regional stability for both India and China. This is nothing personal against the Tibetans, but is based on facts and figures which show that economically, the Indian leadership has nothing to gain by aligning with Tibetans. Politically, the Tibetans are unpopular with all of India’s neighbors like Nepal and Bhutan. So on paper, it does not make sense to sacrifice the welfare of 1.2 billion people for the sake of 150,000 exiled Tibetans.
- Indians are recognizing that Tibetans lead a very good, very comfortable life compared to most Indians. While large swathes of the Indian population languish in poverty, the Tibetans have their big monasteries with golden altars, sponsored school buildings and such. The Indians now recognize that the Tibetans are not behaving like real refugees, and enjoy an unusual level of autonomy and self-governance thanks to the Indian leadership’s magnanimity.
- The Dalai Lama has expressed that if it came down to it, he would side with China over India. No doubt this statement would upset many Indians who see they have sided with the Tibetans for no benefit whatsoever; that is, when push comes to shove, the CTA are nothing but a bunch of turncoats who will run in the direction that serves them best.
- The Tibetan leadership’s treatment of India as a third-class option has filtered down to their Tibetan people, who rush to take up Western citizenship without any complaints, but are reluctant to become Indian citizens and will demand concession after concession from the Delhi government. To the Tibetans, there is nothing wrong with holding a Western passport but there is something wrong with becoming Indian; it is an option they will take up only when they have no other choice, even though for 60 years the Tibetans and their leadership have gotten fat off the kindness of the Indian government. How can any refugee stay in a country for 60 years and not become a citizen of that country? That is why after 60 years, Tibetans have failed to assimilate into Indian society purposely, preferring to stick to their own Tibetan schools, their own Tibetan hospitals, their own Tibetan shops and restaurants under the guise of cultural preservation. But they do not do the same ‘cultural preservation’ in Western countries they eagerly migrate to. What is worse is that the CTA aids and abets in this ungrateful attitude, even going so far as to sabotage the efforts of any Tibetan who wishes to take up Indian citizenship. At the end of the day, it is clear that to the Tibetans, India is nothing more than a stepping stone at best, and a halfway house at worst for exiled Tibetans hoping to go back to Tibet or travel onwards to the West. Tibetans show a subtle form of racism that India is not good enough for them to take up citizenship. India does not demand this of Tibetans unlike other countries Tibetans migrate to where they have to immediately assimilate and take up citizenship and pay taxes. Tibetans are not required to do this in India, again showing India’s incredible lenient generosity. It is only recently that the younger Tibetans wish to take up citizenship in India where their leadership discourages this.
These are just some of the many points of contention raised by Indians, who are becoming more vocal about their increasingly unwelcome guests. After six decades of unchecked abuse of their people, and unaccounted exploitation of the Indian government’s kindness, is this the long-awaited comeuppance for the Tibetan leadership? Not only have they taken the Indian government for granted, but on more than one occasion they have outright flouted and disregarded Indian law. Indian law for example, guarantees religious freedom for ALL residents of India. Yet, the CTA have somehow exempted themselves from this to launch a tirade of discrimination, violence and segregation against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Similarly, Indian law guarantees freedom of speech; yet the CTA continues to shut down and direct violence against publications who dare voice out any criticism about them. The fact Tibetans like Dhamchoe Nyima or Tenpa Yarphel are lauded and celebrated for their bravery in speaking out against the CTA, tells you a lot about the state of affairs for freedom of speech in the Tibetan community.
So it is clear that not only do they fail to show gratitude, but the Tibetan leadership are downright rude and disrespectful towards their host country’s initiatives to keep the peace for the safety and security of all citizens and residents. From the side of the Tibetan leadership, it has been misstep after political misstep, which has only served to reinforce the world’s increasing rejection of their cause.
An Indian MP and senior BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leader, Mr. Shanta Kumar said “China should pave way for his return,” referring to the Dalai Lama during recent “Thank You India” events held by the Tibetan leadership. This is a clear sign of changing political attitudes regarding the Tibetans. India’s friendship with China is growing and the Indians want the Dalai Lama out of their country. Economic and regional security is more important for India. Click on the link to read the full article: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/dalai-lama-tibet-thank-you-india-event-live-updates-cta-china-bjp-5118008/
Tibetans on Twitter ask India to thank them and even label Prime Minister Nehru a traitor to his own country. This is how ungrateful Tibetan are. But they suddenly change their tune and pretend to like India when they are caught and exposed. But no one is fooled. Their gratitude is not real and everyone knows it. Click to enlarge.
Do revisit this article again as we will be updating it from time to time with more opinions from the growing voices of dissent, who are willing to speak the truth about everything that is wrong with the Tibetan leadership’s abuse of the Indian leadership’s kindness and generosity.
Indians tweeting about Tibetans
Below are some comments from Indians who are extremely unhappy with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in exile. Many Indians are increasingly fed up with the Tibetan refugees who do nothing to repay the kindness of the country that has given them so much.
Indians expressing their feelings about Tibetans
Students United Movement of All Arunachal (SUMAA) have been protesting against the state government of Arunachal Pradesh’s adoption of the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy (TRP). They say Tibetans are infringing on the rights of the indigenous population. This is now an increasingly common complaint about the Tibetans – wherever they go in India, they receive preferential treatment from the Indian government, who should actually be exercising a greater duty of care towards their own citizens. Below are some screenshots of comments left by SUMAA protestors and their supporters.
Indians and Tibetans write about
the state of their relationship
Below are some articles that refer to Indians speaking up against the Tibetans and even the Dalai Lama himself. The situation in India is not getting any better for the Tibetans.
[TIBET SUN] Why is the Dalai Lama silent?
Click to enlarge. (Source: https://www.tibetsun.com/elsewhere/2017/07/25/why-is-the-dalai-lama-silent)
[THE STATESMAN] The original article
from The Statesman
Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/why-is-the-dalai-lama-silent-1500930385.html)
[ARUNACHAL OBSERVER] SUMAA holds
protest march, demands TRP- 2014 rollback
Click to enlarge. (Source: http://arunachalobserver.org/2017/10/11/sumaa-holds-protest-march-demands-trp-2014-rollback/)
[PHAYUL] Withdraw Tibetan rehabilitation policy or face dire consequence: war cry of self styled outfit in Arunachal Pradesh
Click to enlarge. (Source: http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=39650)
[TIBET SUN] Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh
face wrath of locals
Click to enlarge. (Source: https://www.tibetsun.com/news/2017/10/05/tibetans-in-arunachal-pradesh-face-wrath-of-locals)
Indian parliamentarian questions Dalai Lama and Tibetans’ silence over India-China border dispute
Click to enlarge. (Source: http://tibetexpress.net/indian-parliamentarian-questions-dalai-lama-and-tibetans-silence-over-india-china-border-dispute/)
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