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Tsunami's Pay Back Time for Tibetans
Phayul[Monday, January 17, 2005 00:27]
By Tenzin Gaphel
Dharamsala, January 16 - The charity show organized by Tibetan Youth Congress was the latest in the line of solidarity gestures by the Tibetan refugees for the Indians in their hour of loss and pain. The devastating Tsunami waves killed thousands of people in India’s southern parts.

The show opened at the main hall of Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts on 14 and 15 January to an average attendance of audiences. The performers were all Tibetans. The local favorite JJI exile Brothers Band with their usual stage antics had the audience shouting for more. Many other independent bands and solo performances did the rest. The heartening thing about the show was everything from the hall rent to performers’ pay was excused for the greater cause this show supported. One of the performing troupe were college students who had come all the way from Chandigarh to offer their contribution and in the process interrupting their studies.

At a time when charity concerts and shows are organized for the Tibetan cause every now and then, the Tsunami has put the Tibetans in the reverse side of things. There is this strong feeling of “owing it to India” in every Tibetan hearts which has, time and again, prompted Tibetan refugees to share the grief and loss of their host country. The Tibetan Government in Exile had its employees contributing a day’s salary for the Tsunami relief fund. The TGiE through its Welfare Office in Dharamsala was seen collecting funds from Tibetans interested in making personal donation. Already there are talks of sending groups of Tibetans to worst hit regions like Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu for relief assistance. Indian dailies reported of a group of Tibetan monks from southern Tibetan settlement providing relief in the form of mental and physical exercises. That a missionary of Scientology trained the monks in this form of treatment was another matter about which there is already some subdued talks, given the controversial nature of the religion or ‘sect.’

And at a time when powers-that-be of the world are jostling to up their aid donations in millions of dollars, the Tibetans in India are quietly expressing their solidarity and offering their contributions in their own capacity. When a philanthropic cause like this is being politicized among the superpowers, led of course by China in its bid to show its geo-strategic dominance, gestures like this small charity show is like a breath of fresh air for obvious reasons: the sympathy is genuine, the pain is shared deeply and the loss acutely felt.
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