Thubten Gyatso, the Great 13th Dalai Lama
DHARAMSHALA, February 12: Exactly 100 years after His Holiness the Great 13th Dalai Lama declared the “Tibetan Proclamation of Independence,” Tibetans and supporters all over the world are geared up to celebrate the historic event, reasserting Tibet’s independence.
Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, was forced to take refuge in British India from 1910 – 1912 following the Manchu invasion of Tibet.
When the Manchu (Qing) Dynasty collapsed in 1911, Tibetans expelled the remnant Manchu forces from Tibet, paving way for the Dalai Lama to return and exercise a political authority not seen since the reign of the great Fifth Dalai Lama.
The overthrow of the Manchu forces and return of the Dalai Lama to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, proved historically significant for Tibetans as it marked the full restoration of Tibet’s independence.
The 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s independence on February 13, 1913 (8th day, first month, water ox Tibetan year) by making the ‘Tibetan Proclamation of Independence,’ a five-point public statement reasserting Tibetan Independence.
For more than three decades following the proclamation, Tibet was to enjoy complete independence, free from any foreign control, until the occupation of invading communist Chinese forces.
In the Indian capital New Delhi, Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, will be holding its fourth preliminary Rangzen Conference to mark the event.
After holding a series of similar conferences in Europe, Taiwan, and North America, the conference in India is planned as a build up to a major international Rangzen (Independence) Conference later this year.
As part of the commemorations, TYC has also commissioned an exhibition of documents, artifacts, and photos corroborating Tibet’s nationhood.
An image of the re-creation of the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Women’s Association, in a release said the largest Tibetan’s women’s group in exile “stands firmly for the undeniable truth that no one can rewrite and remake history.”
“As vividly described in the five points of Tibetan Declaration of Independence, Tibet was an independent nation from the time of King's reign,” TWA said.
“It is out of China's arrogance and shamelessness that she illegally occupies Tibet with the untruthful idea that this region is an inseparable part of mainland China.”
To mark the event, the 56 regional chapters of TWA, spread all over the world, will be distributing copies of the Tibetan Proclamation of Independence.
In the exile headquarters of Dharamshala, the centennial celebrations will be marked with a day-long programme organised by the Students for a Free Tibet, India.
The group will be organising a ‘Tibet Independence Exhibition: Reclaiming History’ at the TCV Day School followed by a talk on the topic, ‘His Holiness the 13th Dalai and Independence of Tibet.’ The celebrations will continue into the evening with the ‘Tibetan Independence Day Concert’ at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
Tibetan singing sensation, Karma Emchi, who shot into fame with his viral song ‘Shabhaley’ will be performing at the concert.
SFT, India in a release said, “Tibetans are countering China’s claims to their homeland and asserting their determination to be free” by publicly celebrating their history as a sovereign nation.
“At this time when the Chinese government is doing everything in its power to crush the Tibetan resistance, we believe that a commemoration of the 1913 Tibetan Proclamation of Independence will refresh our spirits, reaffirm our vision and strengthen the struggle to achieve freedom for the Tibetan people,” the group said.