By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, FEB 13: Students for a Free Tibet (SFT- India) held the “Majestic Walk” (A Street parade) to commemorate the 107th anniversary of declaration of Tibetan Independence Day by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1913.
More than 30 participants wore traditional attires and marched from Tsuglagkhang to the main square to pay tribute to the practice that is prevalent in Eastern part of occupied Tibet where common Tibetans assert their identity and cultural pride in the face of increasing political and cultural suppression by the Chinese government.
“China claims its ownership and control over Tibet, but both the present circumstances and the past history negate all their claims. They manipulate and distort Tibetan history through every means yet their efforts remain futile,” said Rinzin Choedon, National Director of SFT India.
Choedon said that Tibetans carry Buddhist flags instead of Tibetan flags during Monlam Chenmo Festivals whereas ‘the Majestic walk’ is intended to send out a symbolic message to the Chinese government as a “way of reclaiming our community and national identity and celebrating the unique inheritance of our proud ancestors”.
“The hope of independence is vital for Tibetan people to preserve our identity, culture and religion thus the hope of a free Tibet must always be preserved. By commemorating Tibetan Independence Day- a history that the Chinese government has spent 60 years trying to erase from the global consciousness- we are reclaiming our past for future generations while strengthening our struggle so that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all Tibetans can one day reunite in a free Tibet,” said Gyaltsen, Campaigns Director at SFT India.
SFT launched the Feb 13th campaign in 2013 on the centennial anniversary of the Independence proclamation on 13th Feb 1913. In 2020, SFT conducted the majestic walk along with a public talk on ‘Shimla Convention of 1914’ with the central theme of Rangzen at the core.