By Ugyen Gyalpo
It’s funny how politics is being played. Just few years ago Modi scraped all Dalai Lama events to appease the Chinese leader. In the shores of Chennai against the backdrop of soft sounds of crashing waves of the Indian ocean, Xi and Modi had a cosy private dinner to the dance and tune of Indian classical music. Modi and Xi both heralded the summit as very productive and constructive. But as soon as Xi flew over the Himalayas, he threw away his promises like his used tissues papers in the soils of India. Modi flew back to Delhi brushing his grey moustache in contemplation and feeling assured of the promises Xi Jinping made.
In just a matter of months though, the hollow citadel of promises came crashing when Modi was caught off guard in his complacency and newly built charade of trust, when the Chinese armies brazenly ambushed the Indians in a deadly hand to hand fatal combat on the gates of heaven. The unapologetic Xi watched and stood silently, while Modi braced after being thrown into a reeling panic attack. India was stabbed yet again in the back by the Chinese like they did in 1962. Overnight unannounced India was thrown into a war on the corridors of the roof of the world.
Fast forward few years later from the days of snubbing all Tibet related events and the appeasement policy towards China, at a time of heightened tension at the Indo-Chinese Occupied Tibetan borders, at a time when India finds itself surrounded, a rudely awakened Modi stealthily lays out his stratagem and readies to plays the Tibet card. A precursor to all of this is the first private phone call the sitting Indian Prime Minister made, the first one ever in Modi’s already long term in office to wish His Holiness on his 86th birthday.
A well intentioned move it was and widely received with fanfare and also cautious optimism by the Tibetans around the world. It is about time that Modi should rise and recognize once and for all Tibet as an independent country. A precedence to which is already being set by a senator in the U.S which is sure to catch wind given the strong bipartisan support for the Tibetan cause. Unlike the 1950’s, where Nehru probably buried his conscience into the closet and swept Tibet’s legitimate place in the world under the rug of political conspiracy and sacrificed Tibet at the altar of geopolitical self interest.
It is truly tragic that today India is paying a huge price as a direct result of Nehru’s blunder in dealing with China vis-a-vis Tibet. Nehru’s two prominent advisers in Krishnan Menon and Panikar is also to be blamed for masterminding this bludgeoning policy that catapulted the cataclysmic death and destruction of Tibet.
Fast forward to 2021, times have changed dramatically. India is no longer the same India that it used to be back in the fifties. Modi can just as easily have used Xi Jinping’s rhetoric like in his recent speech at the centenary to warn China that no one can bully India anymore. India is a nuclear power and force to be reckoned with in the global scheme of things. With the coalition of western allies behind and Japan and Australia on its side, India also should wield its prowess and not let China trample all over the place. India must not also let China dictate their terms and let His Holiness go freely within the borders of India even if it is to sensitive areas such as the old historical areas of Tibet like the Arunachal Pradesh.
I think India should brush off the last remaining remnant of Nehru’s cowardice and should once and for all, come out with the spine of truth and break that wall of hypocrisy and declare and recognize Tibet as an independent country. I have always said that if Nehru is given a second chance to life, if he is resurrected from his grave, as retribution to his colossal moral failure, he would redeem himself quickly by setting the historical facts straight once and for all that Tibet was never part of China.
Even in the United States, a Bill initiated by Republican Senator Scott Perry last year and amended version of which is fast gaining steam, which aims to recognize the whole of Tibet, both the political Tibet and ethnographic Tibet, that comprises all of the three provinces as an independent country. The significance, the symbolism and the future the bill holds is beyond how Tibet is being used as tool for U.S own self interest. But that is not the point. This bill has the potential to set a precedence for the cause of Tibet and other nations to follow suit in declaring Tibet as an independent country.
If India is to follow suit, this one shift on India’s policy towards Tibet vis a vis China, will open the floodgates of Tibet support fronts hitherto fearing of China’s economic prowess to follow suit and cement this fact and resurrect Tibet back to life and place Tibet as a historical buffer zone eliminating all borders with China.
This will also help pave way for CTA’s policy to change, which has been hitherto banging on dead end wall for the past thirty plus years, stuck at an embarrassing crossroad, neither able to withdraw nor advance their policy of the middle way approach. If they have been waiting for the perfect tide to make a u turn on their failed policy, the culmination of all these change in winds is the perfect time to make that pivotal move. A fresh referendum using the arms of democracy should give Tibetan a right for an opinion poll that would reflect the true aspirations of the Tibetan inside of Tibet based on the manifestation of suffering amplified through horrific forms in self immolations. There is no way that Tibetans inside of Tibet would ever want to live along with Chinese let alone the case of autonomy which the CCP has made a mockery of. The disconnect from the ground reality and the policy framework of the CTA is there and we can’t ignore this elephant in the room any further. I truly feel that Tibetan have evolved with the changing times from our semi feudal days that we should deal with the world in our own terms, free of old religious clinging and dogmas and march forward and not backwards that has caused this fate mostly due to our own failures.
As for now, whatever favourable wind is blowing that might seem to help move the pendulum for Tibet, we must seize the opportunity to build our case upon. We have nothing to lose. Tibet for the past seventy plus years has been sucked to its core, mountains have been moved, our civilization thrown at the brink of extinction.
The sole purpose of the CTA should be to find a closure and a solution to the Tibetan cause ASAP… period! Otherwise with the vagaries and political theatre that our Democratic set up has become, sometimes I wonder do we even need our government that is moving farther away from our cause. Any movement can be sustained from grassroots levels too and ours is no different. CTA must heed the sentiments of the Tibetan people who are growing impatient by the day and are now questioning the very purpose of its foundation when they are always lost in endless feuds. Wake up before it is too late. It is already late!!!
(Views expressed are his own)
The author is a blogger at ‘The Roar of the Snow Lion’. He is a Tibetan living in Woodside, New York.