TYC President Tsewang Rigzin delivering the inaugural address at the 15th Greneral Body Meeting of TYC in Dharamshala on May 27, 2013. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
DHARAMSHALA, May 27: Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, today met for its 15th General Body Meeting in the exile Tibetan headquarters of Dharamshala.
130 plus delegates representing more than 40 regional chapters from the Indian subcontinent, the United States of America, and Canada are taking part in the highest decision making body of the organisation, which meets every three years.
The inaugural ceremony of the six-day meeting was attended by longtime friend of Tibet, Ajay Singh Mankotia, members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, former Central Executive members of TYC and leaders of Tibetan NGOs.
The meeting began with the proud rendition of the Tibetan national anthem and the Tibetan Youth Congress song. A minute of silence was then observed as a mark of respect for Tibetan martyrs.
In his inaugural address, TYC President Tsewang Rigzin expressed the organisation’s profound gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his tireless efforts in leading the Tibetan people.
Calling the Dalai Lama the “strength behind the Tibetan people’s unity and the life vein of Tibet’s courage,” Rigzin clarified that TYC would never intentionally do anything directly, indirectly or otherwise to upset His Holiness.
“TYC as an organisation has never intentionally slandered or belittled His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan administration,” Rigzin said. “If unknowingly, TYC has caused even the slightest of offense to His Holiness, through this Meeting, we tender our apologies and ask for His forgiveness.”
He also vouched the organisation’s support for the Central Tibetan Administration and asserted that TYC continues to remain “an important platform” for Tibetan youths to realise their potential cohesively.
“Thus, TYC is blessed with the compassionate care of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Rigzin added.
During the inaugural function, three regional chapters with exceptional contribution to TYC’s work were felicitated with excellence award. The awards were given to RTYC Dharamshala, RTYC Poanta Sahib and RTYC Puruwala.
TYC’s “Rangzen” (Freedom) award was given to late Jigme K Norbu, son of Taktser Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother. Jigme Norbu was on a 300-mile ‘Walk for Tibet’ in Florida when he was knocked down and killed by a passing car on February 14, 2011. Jigme Norbu has walked many thousands of miles across the world in honour of the struggle for independence of fellow Tibetans in Tibet and to raise awareness of the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Over 130 delegates from more than 40 regional chapters attending the 15th Greneral Body Meeting of TYC in Dharamshala on May 27, 2013. (Phayul photo/Phuntsok Yangchen)
TYC’s “Martyr’s” award was dedicated to the unprecedented number of Tibetans who have set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Ajay Mankotia noted that with dedication and devotion, Tibetans will achieve their final goal.
“It is a historical fact that Tibet was an independent nation; nobody in the world can deny this,” Mankotia said. “You will achieve what you have set out to do for your nation. There is no denying that it takes long but your faith, perseverance, and hope will see you succeed.”
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to discussing His Holiness the Dalai Lama’ recent remarks concerning TYC and the demand for complete independence, following which a handful of regional chapters had made calls for a change in the position of TYC from independence to seeking genuine autonomy.
According to insiders, a resolution, reinstating TYC’s goal for complete independence of Tibet was adopted on a majority vote.
In the next five days, the meeting will discuss issues related to the organisation’s working objectives, and its future plans and programmes.
At the end of the meeting on June 1, the members will elect the organisation’s new executive members.
Elected for a term of three years, the executive body, called the Central Executive Committee (CENTREX), supervises the entire functioning of TYC, provides guidance to the 'Regional Working Committees' and represents TYC in all national and international forums.