By Thubten Samdup
Dharamsala, March 22, 2009
Four months ago a website launched to facilitate the nomination process for the next Kalon Tripa generated considerable excitement through out the Tibetan diaspora. Despite this initial enthusiasm, Tibetans have taken little to no concrete action with regards to the actual nomination process; no contributors have stepped forward, no candidate names have been submitted.
It begs the question: why?
For the first time in our history we have a parliamentary system and an evolving democratic structure intended to grant representation and freedoms. A representative political system is a tremendous achievement, but it also implies a responsibility to choose our leaders.
Tibetans in diaspora now have a precious opportunity to participate more directly in the democratic process: to choose worthy candidates from among our people to stand for the highest office in the Tibetan government-in-exile - the Office of the Kalon Tripa.
The announcement of the Kalontripa.org website met with a profusion of phone calls and email messages, all declaring an overwhelming support for the project, yet, to date, not a single nomination paper has been submitted. What are we to make of such a discrepancy between the initial verbal support expressed and the inertia that followed? Is it that there are no qualified individuals to stand as candidates in our communities, or are we just being lax, and passive?
As Tibetans in diaspora, we have 'talked the talk' of the perfecting the democratic process, and building our government-in-exile. We must also, now, 'walk the walk'.
The incumbent Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche's term ends in August 2011. Why do we fail to exhibit the appropriate motivation or concern to find his successor?
In the last 3 years, we have been sufficiently motivated to hold 14 'long life' prayer services for His Holiness. We all want His Holiness to live long. For this, we must also sensibly see to it that his workload is lightened; affording him some much deserved rest in his later years. The next Kalon Tripa's term in office is likely to prove a crucial transitional period. During this 5-year span, His Holiness will be between 76 and 81 years of age. Mindful of this, let us in addition to offering our most earnest and sincere prayers also apply ourselves to the necessary task that will produce the optimal candidate.
We cannot afford to be lax; nor can we entertain fuzzy beliefs that would leave our democratic development to 'some ill-founded notions of 'fate' intervening for us: hoping unrealistically that 'something good' is going to happen. The next step is clearly that of working as a community to find the Kalon Tripa's successor.
Please treat this matter seriously and discuss it among your friends and in your community meetings. Let us all work together. With some effort we will surely find great candidates to run for the next office of Kalon Tripa; someone to lead us forward after Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche leaves office in 2011.
Nothing good is going to happen unless we make it happen.The writer is a former member of Tibetan parliament. His website invites readers to file their choice of possible candidates for the next Kalon Tripa. 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.