By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 21: The most resourceful repository of Tibetan culture and traditions in exile, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archive (LTWA) will reportedly be shifting base from Dharamshala to South India near Bengaluru city, the organization’s Director told an Indian daily citing safety and longevity of the library’s artifacts and inventory as the purpose of the move.
The LTWA is proposed to move to the campus of the already existing Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway although subject to funds for the same. “The project requires huge funding. We are looking at philanthropists, who can give us funds for preserving these ancient manuscripts. These are priceless collections and we cannot afford to lose them at any cost,” LTWA Director Geshe Lhakdor told TOI.
Citing the geography and the earthquake prone area as the key reason for the move, he said, “We’re worried about the safety and security of the invaluable manuscripts housed in LTWA, Dharamsala. The present location, where these ancient and priceless Buddhist manuscripts are kept, falls within the notorious sub-Himalayan zone 5 which is considered the highest risk belt for earthquake in the seismic hazard zoning map of India. In the long run, it may be dangerous to keep so many priceless manuscripts in one place.”
“Due to high levels of humidity, Dharamsala receives very heavy rainfall which stretches for several months. We need a better environment to store and preserve these manuscripts. What better place than Bengaluru which has technological advantages too to preserve these ancient manuscripts ” he said.
Dharamshala, which received upwards of 250mm this monsoon (2017), is one of the wettest places in India.
The Library which was founded in June 1970 under the tutelage of Tibet’s exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama holds more than 80,000 manuscripts, books and documents; over 600 paintings of statues (thangkas) and other artifacts of Buddhist heritage; 6,000 photographs; and many other materials. It is partly funded by the ministry of culture, government of India.
The repository of manuscripts and archives related to Tibet's history, politics, culture and art is part of the preservation and revival renaissance of Tibetan identity in exile in the aftermath of China’s occupation of Tibet and its reckless policies such as the Mao-endorsed ‘cultural revolution’ in the 1960s that saw thousands of monasteries holding priceless artifacts and texts destroyed.