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.
They came from differents parts of India, where they have found a home to stay as long as their struggle lasts.
They marched on telling the people of the city about what they had been doing for a week: Walking on searching for peace.
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 Tibetan flags were all over the place: flying high, on the shoulders, people draped in them.
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.
And as they sang, they dreamed of the day they could return to their homeland.
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
They continued to read repeatedly and tirelessly the message of the monks in English and Kannada languages.
Also, their message to the world was clear. It is high time United Nations intervened seriously to resolve the issue.
The Tibetan leaders in the city later honored the monks who undertook the week long march, by presenting them white shawls.
The Tibetan youth who came to show their support for the monks joined them in their prayer for peace.
Day 2: 10th March, 2007
They came from all walks of life.
The message was loud and clear as they marched shouting slogans with painted faces,flags and banners
A Passionate Moment. Emotions were running high.
Even the mothers were out on the streets to remind the world of a fateful day in history.
Everyone had a message to send across… The young….
…And the old. Some of then as old as the movement.. and some, even older.
With blessings of His Holiness behind them, they marched on.
Some decided to spread the message through the ‘sounds of silence’…
The youth were kept motivated by their leaders. Some of them relied on words..
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.
Even the bruises echoed their message.
Moment of silence as a mark of respect for all those who have sacrificed their lives for the movement.
They sang the national anthems of both their mother land and as well of their adopted home,India….
They listened to what the leaders had to say.
With utmost seriousness
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?
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