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How free speech got trampled upon in Sonam Ling settlement
Phayul[Monday, June 17, 2019 23:02]
By Tenzin Lodoe

Clothed in facts
Truth feels oppressed;
In the garb of poetry
It moves easy and free.


Rabindranath Tagore, one of the finest writers and the literary figures of India, truly said long back and still holds true.

The day when a Tibetan writer being called for a public –trial like situations for his article published in Tibet Times was truly a nightmare for every budding writer.

How Ladakh CRO, the man in power, manipulate the very situation is beyond every sensitive and sensible man’s imaginations. The writer was called for a clarification for his recent article (བོད་ཁྱིམ་གྱི་ཐག་གཅོད་འགྲིག་རེད་) in Tibet Times. But guess what the man in power did, taking full advantage of the situation, stabbed and strangled, crushed and crumbled every meaning from his previous article to enrage the public. General public exist only to dance to his tunes. This may be the reason for the sorry state of our serene settlement. Surely such shouldn’t happen in our democracy which is so precious, unique and sacred. We all knew why? No healthy democracy tolerate such a state of society .Why we?

It is a clear case of blatant abuse of power and the man who is democratically elected could fall so low and succumb to his own avariciousness and arrogance itself bears testimony to the fact that democracy we so cherish and nurture is now at a risk of losing its pride in the hands of power-monger who sees nothing but his own vanity. This is the democracy we are living in; breathing the air of injustice yet celebrating it.

The holistic aspect of media shammed here on Saturday

Media is the fourth estate upon which solidly rest democracy. A number of cameras positioned in the hall that day ran to many, presumably for the occasion (Health Talk) that held prior to pandemonium that was soon to follow next. All the cameras stood tall and their lenses far outstretched their seemingly short neck were all busy with flashes akin to lightning before the arrival of rain. The camera men and their assistants were immaculately making the coverage of all the proceedings.

The camera men with their eyes rolled and narrowed down to capture the perfect details of the occasion were all dispersed off with an alarmingly lightning speed that would usually come to a person through rigorous practice and the pace and the tempo with which the entire media system (Camera and Video recorder) was packed up was a sight of immense hilarious gimmickry. A second later, neither camera nor camera men were to be seen. Such was the fright and such was the speed. And a minute later, everything is gone and disappeared – cameras and cameramen. All gone lest the truth is revealed loud and clear…!!!

Media plays a very important role in delivery of justice. It helps bring issue to limelight for all to see. This holistic aspect of media is shammed here on Saturday in our sacred Sonamling Hall.

The irony of the drama on that fateful day was that even though the public are called for writer’s clarification for his article but the man in power never moved an inch holding the microphone from the beginning till the end of the meeting and instructed the same to his few men who packed up all PA system very rudely and treated us as if we are not the settlers of Sonamling settlement. Observant people must have witnessed the day was nothing more than a trial day for himself!!

What democracy is to you is also for me and for others.
The writer was finally called up for his clarification and but interrupted when someone shouted, ‘’straight answer, no clarification”, and joined in chorus by irrational multitude.
What democracy is to you is also for me and for others. We are born free and the constitution that our founding fathers had eventually envisaged promises that our freedom is guarded from unruly ruffians and the notoriety of the man in power. The fear they wondered was to come in this fashion was too remote to fathom.

I will never forget that moment which shook the very root of our integrity. Who are “we’’ and who are “they’’? Are not we all “one?” Sharing common culture, common history and above all belonging to “one nation”. Pity indeed!! Have we fallen this much low? What is the use of our education if we blunt all our senses of analysis for sound judgment and critical thinking? True indeed. If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.


Wonderful souls gave an inner strength to move on

Few parents and elder people touched writer’s sentiments with their unimaginable act of moral support in such a heartwarming way like secretly placing chakne (གནས་ཆུང་ཕྱག་གནས།) and protection chord in writer’s pocket amidst the untoward and abrupt chaos in the Sonamling hall. On way back home in the evening, aged old man of seventy five years(སྤོ་ཕོ་ངག་སྲོང་།) approached the writer and sincerely thanked him by lovingly pinching his cheek, smiled and gave a big thumbs up!!! Such an act was truly a source of inspiration and silver lining in the otherwise dark and stormy clouds. Those wonderful souls truly gave everyone an inner strength to move on!!! Such a sweet gesture was nothing more than a larger than life gift for the writer. He deserved it and he earned that unconditional love and respect from common people. Unlike those who demands respect for nothing!!! Respect, as we all know should be earned and not demanded!!! I assure you all, with such a blessing the writer will surely rise like a phoenix and never let his pride as a writer diminish. You must keep the flame alive. No matter what!!! Our earth is enriched by those wonderful human but weakened by those unfortunate few who were nothing but a burden to this beautiful earth!!!

This is not the leader public wish to see and elected
He thinks he is the tribal chief of yester years. Being too remote to the idea of what governance is and being too antique in his ideologue that he could not see how civilized discussion and argument should take place. Being too naïve in the art of rhetoric he fails to see the metaphorical aspect of the language and being driven himself unto himself so much so that that he does not see the other person as a human who has a legitimate right to advance his yearning and opinion to put the matter across. He looked so comical in that he invited nothing but laughter!!! Writer was gentleman… an epitome of civility. Never ever did he once shout or showed his impatience when the man in power hurled abuses of lowest standards to him but the writer stood there with perfect magnanimity with the poise unmatched by the self-acclaimed demigod style of the man in power.

The man in power talked for almost one and half-hour. All that he said was nothing short of rambling and sonority. The babble that he went on with was a perfect example of what in the word of public jargon means snobbery and hypocrisy.

This is not the leader the public wished to see and elected. The person of his position and power should, ethically, rise above narrow partisan and be the symbol of equity and equality. Such is not anticipated from the man in power.


Free speech is stifled and strangulated

Our independent thinking and conscience has been muted by various obligations. Our self respect has been dented by various kinds of oppression. Cruel hands of few may be at the root of all these. Everyone should thrive on equal ground!!! Why only few people play with the power? Isn’t it the moral responsibility of the responsible man to calm down the heated issue instead of instilling fear and anger inside general public as if devilish conspiracy being hatched? If so did you know the gravity of wound you make on your people and the nation at large? You know not!!! When we realized may be its too late to lament!!! Leaving all important issues at bay, focusing only on one issue and for how long!!! Isn’t it not an act of moral corruption? A wrong motive not only creates outward conflict but inward frustrations. Any form of prejudiced mind, however noble is a form of ignorance. Isn’t it not self-bribery?

Retrospectively, the entire drama that took place on Saturday in Sonamling hall shook the audience and public alike, pushing them almost close to the reign of terror – where public stands at a receiving end. The flash back of the entire scene is unpleasant. Nobody wants it to recur in future. What is there in it – nothing but arrogance at its worst and free-speech stifled and strangulated.



The writer is a resident of Sonamling Settlement, and a student of Vidyapeeth University.


The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.
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