News and Views on Tibet

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Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, On a free Tibet and his visit to the city

What brings you to Bangalore?

I am here to address the city’s Tibetan population. The number of Tibetans in Bangalore aren’t many, but Karnataka has the largest community of of 35,000 to 40,000 Tibetans.

Despite such trying times, how do you manage to keep the spirits of the people up?

It’s not about management. Tibetans are Tibetans and that’s their nature.

The second delegation is presently in talks with the Chinese government. What do you expect will be the outcome of that meeting?

I don’t think one or two delegations will resolve the issue; it will take time. But now things are looking up because there’s a new leadership. They have received a few, selected guests because of SARS, and yet they agreed to meet our representatives.

US President George Bush has shown great interest in freeing Iraq from Saddam Hussain’s rule. How come Free Tibet isn’t a mantra in the White House?

It is an important agenda in the White House because of several resolutions passed by the American Congress last year. The American government also passed the Tibetan Policy Act which requires them to take some action. For example, when they meet their Chinese counterparts, they ask for dialogue on this issue.

Would you like to visit Lhasa?

Of course, as a Tibetan I would love to go to Lhasa, but again India is nearer as I have spend 43 years here. I was appointed principal of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Vanarasi in India, and later appointed as director of the Institute since 1988. I went there because you need to study Sanskrit in order to know about Buddhism in depth, as it will help you understand Buddhist philosophy better.

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