News and Views on Tibet

Is the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day less important?

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An elderly women at the rally to commemorate the 64th Tibetan Women's Uprising Day, organised by Tibetan Women's Association on Sunday in Dharamshala (Photo/Kunsang Tenzing)

By Tenzin Nyidon

DHARAMSHALA, March 13: The processions of the 64th Womens’ Uprising day on Sunday let out a rather poignant reminder, in that- even in the context of the Tibetan cause, the stake of the women are significantly overlooked and undermined. Just a day before on March 10th, the local Tibetans of Dharamshala, the ground-zero of the Tibetan exile set up, filled up the Tsuglakhang courtyard to the brim and portrayed a renewed sense of resilience among the exile Tibetans.

At the rally organised by the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and regional chapters on Sunday to commemorate the 64th anniversary of National Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day in Dharamshala, less than a quarter of the March 10th crowd showed up, a chunk of which are school girls who were mandated to partake in the demonstration, and some 20 or so men.

Rinzin Choedon, Executive Director of the Students for a Free Tibet told Phayul, “I think there is a persisting misconception that Tibetan Women Uprising Day is solely for the women, by the women and should be participated only by women which is absurd and wrong.

“And I want to emphasise that Tibetan women rose for the cause of Tibet. This was for the Tibetan cause and for the Tibetan nation, and it is the responsibility of each and every Tibetan to take part in the historically symbolic date.” Also noting the participation of only female students, she further added, “when they (schools) send students to participate, they should not send only the girls but boys too because  they should be educated and informed about this important day.”

Girls from the TCV school at the 64th Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day rally organised by Tibetan Women’s Association on Sunday in Dharamshala (Photo/Kunsang Tenzing)

She also urged the Central Tibetan Administration to make this day an official holiday for the civil servants to participate and said it is not just solely the responsibility of TWA and a handful organisations to commemorate this day.

Fellow activist and TWA executive member Lhamo Chonzom also expressed her disappointment about the fewer demonstrators while emphasizing the significance of March 12, 1959. She said it is historically a symbolic date in the history of Tibet when thousands of women led by Pamo (female martyr) Kunsang protested against Communist China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. Many lost their lives in the brutal crackdown by the Chinese government; others were imprisoned and tortured without trial. “Tibetan’s freedom struggle is a responsibility of every Tibetan. Therefore, Tibetans from all sections of the society must contribute to the movement for independence,” Lhamo told Phayul. 

Another participant of the march Tsomo Yeshi, noted that if not for their country, men should join the rally, as a gesture of support for their wives, mothers and daughters. “Men who love their wife, mother and girl-child should come to the rally. Women who can influence their husbands should make sure their spouses join the rally and show support not just on household matters but for the most important cause of Tibet”.

At the culmination of the march, rally organisers urged support from the United Nations and condemned China for its atrocities in their homeland. Expectedly, there were no calls for support from fellow Tibetan women or men to their rally, or the movement at large. Women fending for themselves, unsurprisingly seems to be the underlying motif, even in the freedom struggle of Tibet.

Edited by Tenzin Dharpo

2 Responses

  1. It’s very disconcerting that the famous Tibetan Women’s valiant Uprising against the Chinese communist occupiers is suffering from low attendance! I have never heard of such a dispiriting news until recently! This is obviously very concerning. It’s not only the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day but even the Tibetan National Uprising Day might also face the same fate of relevance deprivation syndrome! The reason is, Tibetans have been lulled into a sense of China friendly dose of hallucination, that is now morphing up into embracing the regime despite untold misery, unspeakable butchery and despicable genocidal policies against the Tibetan people! Today, there are people among Tibetan diaspora who are more accepting and more friendly with the CCP than our own people of a particular community! The CCP’s attempt to divide us has received a boost by our own people who have been lambasting monks/Lamas and certain groups for which they have real hatred! This kind of brainwashing has eroded Tibetan resistance to the Chinese occupation of Tibet! That is why, many of the Tibetans, especially who are adherents of the U-May Lam have no issue with communist China any more! They want to embrace CCP and see no good reason to go and protest against them any more! This is how the resistance against the CCP and its vile occupation of Tibet has been inexorably diminished in the hearts of the Tibetan people! We are killing the movement by eroding resistance to the illegal occupation of our country!
    No wonder then that there are fewer and fewer participants for the Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day and there is lurking danger that the 10th of March Uprising Day might face the same fate in the not very long distant future! In the good old days, nobody needed to be exhorted to attend the National Uprising Day. Everyone went voluntarily and willingly, driven by the pain and heart ache the CCP inflicted upon the Tibetan people and driven us out of our own country by illegally occupying our nation. All that generation is no more and the present generation has never set their foot in Tibet nor they have ever faced persecution and violent oppression under CCP occupation. So, they don’t have any incentive to go and shout in the streets for a distant place they have never seen!
    The Tibetan Women’s Uprising against the CCP occupiers is a historical event just like the 10th of March, that must never be forgotten! It showed the courage of Tibetan women in the face of a ruthless communist regime for whom human life has no value. Brave Tibetan woman like Kundenling Kunsang la organised the massive Tibetan Women’s uprising against communist China in Lhasa! She and her Tibetan sisters, numbering in the thousands, put their lives on the line on that day 12th of March 1959! During Thamzing (struggle session) where prisoners were made to kneel whole day on rocks and beaten, spat at, slapped, their hairs pulled and made to bleed by punching on their faces, she still DECLARED TIBET’S INDEPENDENCE under such severe violence and intimidation! How can we forget such courageous woman? All men, women, boys and girls must attend this Occassion to honour the brave souls who sacrificed their life for Tibet!
    Here is what happened to Kundeling Kunsang la in her last day. She was dragged into the courtyard of the prison where she was incarcerated. Then her alleged crimes were read out. These were “opposing the motherland, engaging in counter revolutionary activities, sought to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat”!!! Her eyes were red and misty. From her facial appearance she seemed to ask for prayers since it was the day of her execution! The person who was in front her happened a monk! She and many other prisoners both lay and clergy were executed that day! The crimes the CCP has committed upon the Tibetan people is as vast as the ocean but through constant barrage of China-hugging rhetoric, our sense of vengeance and retribution have all disappeared and with it the resistance against the enemy who put to death our INNOCENT brothers and sisters for the CRIME OF LOVING AND STANDING UP FOR OUR COUNTRY! Remembering the stand Kundeling Kunsang la took while she was bashed and trashed before being executed, the TWA MUST CHANGE ITS STANCE BY DISCARDING ITS COWARDICE AND ADOPT INDEPENDENCE AS ITS COVETED GOAL! This will honour the courageous Tibetan woman who WILLINGLY LAID HER PRECIOUS LIFE FOR TIBET! HOW COULD TWA NOT HONOUR HER AND CARRY HER LEGACY FOR WHICH SHE DIED FOR?

  2. Shed some new light about the significance of Tibetan Women’s uprising day. Will make sure to go every year ✊🏼✊🏼

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