By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, April 29: Tibetan exiles on Wednesday commemorated the 11th anniversary of the Tibetan Martyr’s Day to pay homage to fellow Tibetans who selflessly sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet and its people.
File Photo of Pawo Thupten Ngodup. Tibetan Youth Congress commemorated Tibetan Martyr's Day on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, in Dharamsala, India.
Members of the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) organized a religious ceremonial function early this morning at Dharamsala’s Lhagyal-ri to pay tribute to Tibetan martyrs . Former leaders of the TYC and a large number of Tibetans took part in the function, which included incense burning and prayer offering.
Khata and butter lamps were placed before a memorial statue of Pawo Thupten Ngodup
, a Tibetan activist who immolated himself during a Tibetan independence campaign in 1998.
“As we observe Martyr’s Day to commemorate the 11th anniversary of Martyr Thupten Ngodup’s demise, we salute all those brave Tibetan men and women who have made selfless and supreme sacrifices for the freedom and Independence of Tibet,” the chief guest of the function and former president of TYC Mr Karma Chophel said.
“As we remember Pawo Thupten Ngodup and all the Martyrs of Tibet, it is a solemn moment for every Tibetan to uphold their spirit and dignity by rededicating oneself to the true aspiration of our suffering brethrens in Tibet,” he added.
“The struggle for Rangzen (independence) has remained the true aspiration and genuine will of those Tibetan who have laid down their lives for the cause of Tibet, and we must not fail to uphold the purpose and essence of their supreme sacrifices,” Chophel, a former speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, said.
The youth organization has also planned a candle light vigil here this evening to offer prayers for the Tibetan martyrs. A TYC activist said, similar events were also simultaneously being organized by its regional chapters elsewhere around the world.
On April 29, 1998, Thupten Ngodup, until then a silent activist, set himself on fire and died in Delhi while waiting for his turn to take part in a hunger strike unto death organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress to draw international attention towards the plight of Tibetan people.
In memory of the late Pawo Thupten Ngodup and thousands of other Tibetan martyrs, the day has since been marked by the Tibetan Youth Congress as "Tibetan Martyr’s Day".
Tibetan Youth Congress, headquartered in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in northern India, is a worldwide Organisation of Tibetans united in the common struggle for the restoration of Tibet’s independence as opposed to the Dalai Lama’s policy of seeking autonomy. It is the largest non-governmental organization in the exile Tibetan community.