By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 23: Two Tibetans, Tsering Yeshi and Chime Tamdin, started their all-India bike rally on Tuesday from Dharamshala, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of India to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The two-month campaign is set to cover over 40 locations in India, as both the bikers have planned to garner signature and stamp support from various Tibetan Settlement Offices (SOs), organizations, associations and support groups, irrespective of nationality.
“The Wuhan-originated Covid-19 difficulties and escalating Indo-Tibet border tension between India and China has forced the government of India to ban numerous Chinese apps and led to many demonstrations from diverse backgrounds all over India to boycott Chinese goods. As a token of respect and long due credit to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama through this prestigious award, in this opportune time will also send the message of defiance to China on the international platform and rise of modern India,” stated the letter addressed to PM Modi.
In the campaign spearheaded by Tsering Yeshi, he vowed to mark the ‘Year of Gratitude’ to the Dalai Lama as a common man, urging both Tibetan and Indian communities to pay heed to his campaign. The 47-year-old told Phayul, “This individual campaign aims to highlight the need to confer the highest civilian award to His Holiness for his lifelong work towards peace, compassion, non-violence, and to recognize Dalai Lama’s outstanding contribution to the cause of Tibet and the world. We’ll be riding all over India from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh to Kanyakumari.”
The signature campaign was initiated on Sunday with the support of Indo-Tibet Friendship Association (ITFA) and Tibetan United Society. The Dharamshala-based five Tibetan NGOs, Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), Gu-Chu-Sum Movement Association of Tibet, Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA), National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) and Students for a Free Tibet (SFT- India) also supported the campaign with their signatures undersigned in a letter addressed to PM Modi.
A former Special Frontier Force (SFF) personnel, Tsering Yeshi is the Vice-Chairman of TNMF Dhondupling Local Tibetan Assembly in Clement-Town, Dehradun. He was joined by Chime Tamdin from Shimla in Dharamshala, who also participated in #WalkAMileforTibet campaign from Chandigarh to Delhi in solidarity with activist Tenzin Tsundue. The duo is currently headed to Tashi Jong, Bir and Chauntra settlements for the signature campaign.