Shimla, October 29 - At a time when India is visibly disturbed by China’s vehement territorial claim over Arunachal Pradesh a group of Tibetan scholars converged in the hills of Shimla from different parts of India to discuss independence of Tibet. Lukar Jam, an independent research scholar, called this meeting creating a unique platform called the ‘Young Intellectuals Forum’. Recalling the historical significance of Shimla as the place where the 1914 Shimla Agreement was signed he said “we have brought with our discussion a revisit of independence of Tibet to Shimla”.
The two-day conference was held at a hotel in Shimla on 28th and 29th of October 2009. On the inaugural day two prominent Indian supporters spoke in support of Tibetan independenc. Prof VS Negi from the Himachal Pradesh university is the president of Indo-Tibetan friendship society and Tarsem Bharati is the vice-president of Bharat-Tibbat Sahyog Manch.
The participants of the conference paid a visit to the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies which is believed to be hosting a copy of the document of the 1914 Shimla Accord. And by coincidence the young band ran into Indian historian Ramachandra Guha who spoke to the group and highly appreciated the "dignity and strength of compassion with which Tibetans are running the struggle, showing resilience in the face of difficult times".
Among the band of young research scholars, writers and activists the visible faces are the usual suspects: Lukar Jam, Tenzin Tsundue, Dhondup Lhadhar, Phuntsok Wangchuk, Chime Youndrung and several others. Serta Tsultrim, the youngest Member of the Tibetan Parliament was also present, while Shingtsa Rinpoche, a prominent lama from the Sera Monastery was the guest of honour. The presence of these young guns attracted much attention from the Indian intelligence and the media.
The topic of discussion ranged from challenges the Tibetan independence movement is facing to ways and means to achieve their goal. Responsibilities of the youth in the struggle was the focus of the two-day conference as there were some college students studying in different universities in India also participating in the conference.
The conference expressed confidence that the Tibetan struggle would not only survive but grow in dynamism after His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Dhondup Lhadhar, General Secretary of Tibetan Youth Congress who was there in his personal capacity said: “Our history and culture are pillars of our strength and the Tibetan struggle is not an issue for one or two generations, until Tibet’s independence is not re-established the struggle must go on”.
The group agreed that more such youth initiatives must be planned and the meeting should be considered a part of the process in creating a serious independence movement which can garner physical strength and ideological studies. One of the resolutions also called for organizing a large convention on the independence of Tibet in 2012 to mark 100 years of reclamation of the independence of Tibet by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.
Lukar Jam thanked all individuals and organization who supported his initiative and pledged to hold more such conferences in the future.