By Tenzin Monlam
Tenzin Dorjee, Head of Academic Section of Department of Education addressing the students before the debate on Tibetan Identity at CHTS, Sarah on November 14, 2017. Phayul photo
DHARAMSHALA, November 14: The Department of Education of the Central Tibetan Administration in association with College for Higher Tibetan Studies (CHTS), Sarah, organized a debate on ‘Tibetan Identity’ at the college today.
Along with the host college, the debate was participated by four other Tibetan institutions – Norling College for Higher Studies, Men Tsee Khang College, Sherab Gatsal Lobling and Dolma Ling Nunnery.
Tenzin Dhundup, representing Men Tsee Khang College, said that from one end this debate gives an opportunity to remind “ourselves of our roots and on the other end it also serves as a reminder of the dire situation Tibetan identity faces.”
“For me Tibetan Identity is like a bowl of Thukpa, which includes various ingredients such as broth, flour dough and cheese. Similarly, Tibetans are identified by their language, customs and unique characteristics. Out of all the most important is the broth, which represents the bloodline or the lineage,” said Dhundup.
On the birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru, celebrated as Children’s Day in India, around 300 students from the five institutions attended the debate.
Yonten Chomphel, a monk student from Dzongsar Shedra representing CHTS, Sarah said, “As per my understanding, Tibetan identity is our religion, traditional culture and language, and how it can be preserved and developed. However, I feel that this terminology (Tibetan identity) does not cover all these aspects.”
Before the beginning of the debate, Tsangtuk Topla, Senior History Professor at CHTS said that the basis of the Tibetan identity lies in Tibetan lineage, language and culture, courteous nature and mannerism in his introduction to the debate.
Tenzin Dorjee, Head of Academic Section of education department, who attended as the chief guest said that with the third generation of Tibetans in exile coming of age, the department would be organizing such debates in Tibetan institutions across India.
Last year, the department published a bi-lingual book, Tibetan and English, on the same topic ‘Tibetan Identity’ consisting of essays and poems written by young Tibetans to share their views on the topic.