By Tendar Tsering
Guests and college students attending the fifth Students' Debate on Tibetan Culture Studies at the Sarah College of Higher Tibetan Studies near Dharamshala, August 24, 2011. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, August 25: The fifth Student’s Debate on Tibetan Cultural Studies began yesterday at the Sarah College for Higher Tibetan Studies, near the Tibetan exile seat of Dharamshala.
The four-day debate organised by the Sarah Working Committee of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC), Dharamshala is being attended by over 300 Tibetan college and monastic students from around India.
In inaugural address, president of the Sarah Working Committee, Tenzin Sonam said that the purpose of this fifth Debate was to have a detailed understanding of the erstwhile Tibetan government, Bhoeshung Gadhen Phodrang’s various aspects of administration during its 369 years of governance.
“This fifth Student’s Debate on Tibetan Cultural Studies focuses on the political, economical and religious achievements of the Bhoeshung Gadhen Phodrang administration since its inception in 1642 till its closure on August 8 this year,” Sonam said.
The chief guest of the inaugural function, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan parliament-in-exile noted that debate and discussion on the historic legacy of Bhoeshung Gadhen Phodrang is “highly relevant and necessary.”
Urging the students to persist with their studies, the Deputy Speaker said that the Tibetan struggle for freedom needed “scholars and not just literate youths.”
Apart from paper presentations and debates by the participants on various aspects of Bhoeshung Gadhen Phodrang’s governance, noted Tibetan scholars are also scheduled to give talks during the debate.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay will be holding a session on the future of Tibetan democracy on the penultimate day of the debates.
The opening day of the debate saw students from the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Varanasi speak in length on Tibet’s international relations under the Gadhen Phodrang government which was followed by a heated debate and question answer session.