March 20, 2011

THE REFORMATION ROLLS ON:

'I was born in India, owe debt to US, but my heart is Tibetan' (Shobhan Saxena, Mar 20, 2011, India Times)
Lobsang Sangay, 43, has been on a campaign trail for two months, travelling to Tibetan settlements in India, Nepal and Bhutan. The Harvard law fellow is the frontrunner in the election for the post of kalon tripa , prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile . Sangay got 50% of the votes in the preliminary round and is hopeful of doing well in today's election. He talks politics, spiritual striving and the Dalai Lama to Shobhan Saxena. Excerpts:

The Dalai Lama's announcement he will retire from politics has stunned the Tibetans. What is the significance of his decision ?

In the history of the Dalai Lamas, it's the first time that there is transition from a traditional role to a modern process . Secondly, he really wants to invest in democratic institutions of the Tibetan government in exile , so that the movement can be sustained till freedom is restored in Tibet. Thirdly, he is devolving his power not only to an elected prime minister, but to the people. It's a reversal of the classic democratic process where the movement is bottom-up . In our case, it's coming down from the top. It's a karmic evolution of democracy.

Is he trying to ensure the Chinese aren't able to manipulate a post-Dalai scenario?

He is definitely challenging the Chinese government upfront. They have always criticized him as a religious leader who plays politics. Now he is saying 'I am giving political power to the people and you —the communist party —are holding all the power even though you may not enjoy the mandate of the people' .
Imagine telling Younghusband that within a hundred years the Tibetans would be Americanized democrats?


Posted by at March 20, 2011 6:06 AM
  

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