When the monks came marching

Forty eight years ago, on the10th of March in the year1959, Tibetans rose up to protest against Chinese occupation of Tibet and to re-assert their demand for complete independence. Millions of Tibetans since then have lost their lives in this struggle, and also thousands of them lose their lives every year as they attempt to cross borders to enter India and Nepal to escape from the Human rights abuses they are being subjected to by the army. Events that unfolded after that 10th of March led to His Holiness Dalai Lama leaving Tibet and coming to India with large number of Tibetan refugees. Since then the Tibetans have found a home in India and other countries. But their quest to return to their homeland and feel safe still remains unfulfilled.

Every year, 10th of March is observed as the Tibetan National Uprising Day. This year it was the 48th anniversary of this day. In Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka state in India, mass public demonstrations and rallies were planned on March 9th and 10th to observe this day. The photographs in this story document the events and happenings which occurred during these two days. As a prelude to this, around 150 monks who were mainly from the monasteries of Bylakuppe (located in Karnataka state) staged a week long ‘Peace march’ which began on 3rd of March at Mysore and culminated on 9th of March in Bangalore city.

Day 1: 9th march, 2007

The monks arrived in large numbers to the city. After a brief break, they began a rally from Chicklalbagh to Mahatama Gandhi statue.
When the monks came marching

They came from differents parts of India, where they have found a home to stay as long as their struggle lasts.
Thanking you India.

They marched on telling the people of the city about what they had been doing for a week: Walking on searching for peace.
And they came marching...

The principle of ‘ahimsa‘ or Non-violence is the core of their movement. This was evident for a stranger to their struggle, as it could be seen by the posters which depict the two apostles for peace from this sub-continent region.
The two symbols for peace

The Tibetan flags were all over the place: flying high, on the shoulders, people draped in them.
The flag shall one day fly high

All the while they recited ‘Janchup Semchok‘, a Tibetan prayer for peace where they request the people who have no kindness in their hearts to fill it with kindness and for people who have it, to spread it all over the world.
Janchup Semchok - A prayer for peace

And as they sang, they dreamed of the day they could return to their homeland.
In the distant horizons I see a free nation

The women leaders came out and read out the intentions of this march undertaken by these monks, their demands and the sufferings of their countrymen, to the people of Bangalore city
Reaching out to crowd about their struggle for peace and freedom

They continued to read repeatedly and tirelessly the message of the monks in English and Kannada languages.
Repeatedly and tirelessly reading out message for the city

Also, their message to the world was clear. It is high time United Nations intervened seriously to resolve the issue.
A message to UN which has turned deaf to their cause

The Tibetan leaders in the city later honored the monks who undertook the week long march, by presenting them white shawls.
Monks honored with white shawls

The Tibetan youth who came to show their support for the monks joined them in their prayer for peace.
The youth join the monks in their prayer for peace


Day 2: 10th March, 2007

They came from all walks of life.
The uprising day march

The message was loud and clear as they marched shouting slogans with painted faces,flags and banners
Oh brother, lets march on...

A Passionate Moment. Emotions were running high.
Rangzen! Rangzen! Passion runs deep

Even the mothers were out on the streets to remind the world of a fateful day in history.
Even the mothers came out on the streets

Everyone had a message to send across… The young….
Voice of tomorrow

…And the old. Some of then as old as the movement.. and some, even older.
A struggle as old as him

With blessings of His Holiness behind them, they marched on.
With His Holiness behind me I shall continue the struggle for a free homeland

Some decided to spread the message through the ‘sounds of silence’…
Can't be more peaceful.

The youth were kept motivated by their leaders. Some of them relied on words..
Passionate leader

Some, by just their very presence: Lhakpa Tsering La, youth leader who attempted self-immolation in the year 2006 when the Chinese premier visited India.
lhakpa Tsering La- An Inspirational leader

Even the bruises echoed their message.
Even the bruises echo the cries for freedom

Moment of silence as a mark of respect for all those who have sacrificed their lives for the movement.
In the memory of martyrs

They sang the national anthems of both their mother land and as well of their adopted home,India….
National anthems of Tibet and India

They listened to what the leaders had to say.
Listening to the leaders

With utmost seriousness
Painted but true

Once again, another March 10th passed by. Another walk, Another petition, Another protest, another year…. When will the issue be resolved?

‘Rangzen’ (independence) is what he wants. But the ‘holiness’ asks for true autonomy. But, will he get any of those?
Not every pain needs blood as proof

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Nishant Ratnakar

Photographer | Visual Storyteller at www.nishantratnakar.com
Nishant is a Bangalore, India based Wedding, Portrait & Editorial Photographer. He is available for assignments across India. He also conducts photography workshops and offers personal photography mentorship.
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malvika
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malvika

wow great great pics .

malvika
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malvika

wow great great pics .

prabhat
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prabhat

Dear NishantIt is great experience to go through images posted here. They not only narrate the story but leave a lasting impact. Congrats!!!prabhat

prabhat
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prabhat

Dear Nishant
It is great experience to go through images posted here. They not only narrate the story but leave a lasting impact.
Congrats!!!
prabhat

chendur
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chendur

lovely images….

Aqua
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Aqua

amazing pictures and lovely writeup.

i was there during the rally too and yes, it was a very moving experience.

thanks for covering it. do you have more pics of the rally in a flickr account?

Aqua
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Aqua

amazing pictures and lovely writeup.i was there during the rally too and yes, it was a very moving experience.thanks for covering it. do you have more pics of the rally in a flickr account?

Tenzin
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Tenzin

Hey Niks,

Words fall short to thank you enuf for this gr8 work….I truly appreciate your support.

Tenzin
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Tenzin

Hey Niks,Words fall short to thank you enuf for this gr8 work….I truly appreciate your support.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

People like you are the real hope for the future world, hope for humanity and more importantly hope for oppressed and subjugated people like Tibetans.

Thank you is so small a word to convey depth of our gratitude and appreciation for your great service to humanity.

Blessed are the poeple like you who work for other’s freedom, happiness and contribute to making the world a better and wiser place to live in peace and happiness.

The Voice of Six Millions Tibetans Dying to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

People like you are the real hope for the future world, hope for humanity and more importantly hope for oppressed and subjugated people like Tibetans. Thank you is so small a word to convey depth of our gratitude and appreciation for your great service to humanity. Blessed are the poeple like you who work for other’s freedom, happiness and contribute to making the world a better and wiser place to live in peace and happiness.The Voice of Six Millions Tibetans Dying to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT!

Vi
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Vi

Great photo essay.

Vi
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Vi

Great photo essay.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Brings tears to my eyes.(Amberwaves from Flickr).

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Brings tears to my eyes.

(Amberwaves from Flickr).

Anonymous
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Anonymous

hi nishant,tashi delek….eyes were at work,shedding their sad tears and the heart is thankful for the wonderful intention and honour u have for us.thank u so much.plz keep up your good work.tenzin k

Anonymous
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Anonymous

hi nishant,
tashi delek….eyes were at work,shedding their sad tears and the heart is thankful for the wonderful intention and honour u have for us.thank u so much.plz keep up your good work.
tenzin k

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I am so greatful for people like you making a difference in posting the truth about tibet. Thank you for sharing this wondering pictures and hopefully you still on continuing taking great pictures. This year is very critical so please take lots of pictures and post it on net if you can. Thank you so much! FREE TIBET!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I am so greatful for people like you making a difference in posting the truth about tibet. Thank you for sharing this wondering pictures and hopefully you still on continuing taking great pictures. This year is very critical so please take lots of pictures and post it on net if you can. Thank you so much! FREE TIBET!

Archana Prasad
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Archana Prasad

HI Nishant,Firstly, I’d like to say that your pictures are great! Im writing to you to tell you that I hope to use some of your images at the Artists for Communal Harmony program that Anhad is organising at Ravindrakalakshetra tomorrow. In quick introduction – I am a video artist, and will be projecting found videos and images in a special section of Lounge Piranha’s (www.loungepiranha.com) concert. I know this is very short notice, but i only just came across your blog. I hope you will not mind my using your images, and I asssure you that they will be… Read more »

Archana Prasad
Guest
Archana Prasad

HI Nishant, Firstly, I’d like to say that your pictures are great! Im writing to you to tell you that I hope to use some of your images at the Artists for Communal Harmony program that Anhad is organising at Ravindrakalakshetra tomorrow. In quick introduction – I am a video artist, and will be projecting found videos and images in a special section of Lounge Piranha’s (www.loungepiranha.com) concert. I know this is very short notice, but i only just came across your blog. I hope you will not mind my using your images, and I asssure you that they will… Read more »

Tessa
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Tessa

Thanks for writing this.

Tessa
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Tessa

Thanks for writing this.

chendur
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chendur

lovely images….