By Mila Rangzen
Over the years, Shugden protests have been angry but peaceful and democratic. They, however, must continue to abandon any of their past criminal behavior like stalking, warning, threatening, arson, aggravated assaults, murder and other intimidation tactics. There is overwhelming evidence that they did use these in the past and they cannot convince us otherwise. It’s not up for debate here. What many Shugden followers like Andruk Gompo who fought for independence from 1956 to 1974 is also a part of our history and I salute their selfless brave contribution. With this being said, as much as we wish, the credit earned by the parents’ deeds does not automatically pass on to their children. Every generation proves its own worth.
No matter what internal fights we may have now or in the future, they should not bow down to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or the Chinese state. This is the greatest blunder that they have ever committed in their entire history. When they embrace the political attitude of “My enemy’s enemy is my best friend” it then becomes a major cause of concern for all of us and a reason why secular Tibetans cannot trust their leaders and followers.
Of course, a majority of them are simple faith-driven and do not get paid by CCP as it is alleged by many Tibetans. Nonetheless, trust becomes an issue when they declared the Dalai Lama (by and large, the greatest contributor to our common cause) as their number one enemy. It gets even worse when they claim:-
a) Having political, economic, religious freedom inside Tibet
b) That their leaders visit Chinese embassy regularly and recognize the Chinese Panchen Lama.
c) That they don’t even care to protest Chinese brutality on our brethren, independence, and freedom since 1987.
They can practice their belief or not believe in anything at all but the bottom line is no matter what, if they can’t kick the CCP ass, at least they should not suck it for what it has done to us for the past six decades. A positive development, however, is Shugden followers for some years now are not using violent means which is good for both sides. They should keep it that way if they need the empathy from the Tibetan people and the international community. Should they, however, adopt violence then it cannot be guaranteed that it will not trigger a violent backlash. Such a cycle of violence can be vicious, senseless and is absolutely unnecessary. In such a scenario, neither Shugden followers nor Middle Way followers nor independence advocates but CCP will be the sole winner.
Gyen Tsultrim, an old Shugden leader recently challenged non-Shugden Tibetans on their talk show “Tibetan Public Talk” to come up with a new Tibetan national anthem as he explained that the current one was composed by Trijang Rinpoche, the highest ranking Shugden leader. I take up the gauntlet. Here is the New Tibetan National Anthem. It is short and simple. No religion in it and yet rich in meaning. Easy to sing in both Tibetan and English. At least twice better than the American national anthem!
Encircled by the Snowy Mountains
Stands Strong The Roof of the World
May Equality, Prosperity, and Peace
Radiate throughout Tibet,
For Thousands of Years!
As the Mountain Rivers Rage
Through Tso-Ngonpo in the North
To Kongpo in the South
From Dhartsedo in the East
To Ngari in the West
Tibet shall Rise
Until the End of Time!
May the Light of Evidence and Reason
Dispel the Darkness of Blind Loyalties,
With Honor, Courage, and Commitment
Tibet is Ours for Eternity,
United We Stand; Proud and Free!
Bestowing Love and Compassion
To Humans, Animals and Nature alike
May the Sun of Independence and Democracy Shine
For us and Our Future Generations
On the Roof of the World
For Today and Forever!
Independence advocates should be rightly proud that although we totally disagree with the Dalai Lama and CTA on MWA or any other issue, we have not resorted to violence and intimidation tactics in our community nor have we sold our soul to the enemy. We always believe in a rational democratic debate on important issues we intensely disagree with each other, and many Middle Way followers are now beginning to acknowledge that the demand for Genuine Autonomy has indeed degenerated into Meaningful Autonomy, Minimal Autonomy and now Nominal Autonomy.
Those Middle Way fanatics who talk so brave and tough and contemplate using violence on independence advocates must be aware of this and ask themselves how intimidation and violence would justify their peaceful Middle Path Movement. How does it sit with their vow not to use violence on our violent adversaries such as CCP or even some Shugden fanatics for that matter in the 1990s in our exile history?
In fact, it is ironic that Middle Way followers often express deep love for Chinese state which oppresses Tibetans and even lionized traitors such as Bawa Phuntsok Wangyal and Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, both of whom deserve the deepest hell for slavishness and cowardice that aided the enemy. This is not to argue that without their aid, CCP would have abandoned the invasion. However, their participation in the destruction of the Tibetan self-determination, sovereignty and independence, regardless of their motivation or intent, is an act of high treason. Had Bawa Phuntsok Wangyal raised a Bawa Army and uprooted the then Lhasa Lama government to pave way for a socialist Tibet or even create an independent separate Khamland I wouldn’t even complain.
By the way, the idea of a military take over of the Lhasa government wasn’t entirely impossible to accomplish. A politician cum battle-hardened warrior Miwang Pholha from Shigatse did it in 1800 ACE by recruiting 9000 soldiers from Western Tibet and even banished the 7th Dalai Lama back to Lithang. Yes, he did use Lhazang Khan but Tibetan independence remained intact. The 5th Dalai Lama also used Mongol Gushri Khan to eliminate Dhepa Tsangpa and consolidate his political power, but again Tibetan independence remained uncompromised.
The 1940’s Lhasa run army was small, poorly trained and ill-equipped. The reader might well recall Nyarong Gompo Namgyal, a chieftain, who brutally conquered almost all the districts of Kham in 1900 ACE and was on his way up to conquer the rest of Tibet but never for a moment did he bow down to China. Bawa Phuntsok Wangyal and Ngapo Ngawang Jigmey assisted, so to speak, CCP thugs in raping their own mother in order to transform her nagging personality.
MWA fanatics must take back their physical threats and correct their misperception that independence advocates are the soft targets to mess with. The scenario would be too ugly when independence advocates refuse to be the soft targets and make you swallow your own medicine. By then it would be too late to lament “In what direction is our cause heading?”
Tibetan society under the direct advice of HH cut all ties with Shugden worshippers be it social, political or economic sense since 2008. Therefore to sear this ostracization policy into our community for once and for all, a separate settlement for Shugdens in exile is the need of the hour.
My suggestion is CTA designate Bandara settlement for them. Bandara settlement is remote and quiet where they can practice their religion in peace. Also the weather there is unbelievably hot and the place is saturated with Naxalites who get help from China. Let them enjoy the heat and the banditry of the Naxalites!
Those non-shugden Tibetans living in Bandara must move to Byllakuppe where there are many empty houses in the camps and villages since many of the Tibetans there have immigrated to the west since 1992.
In Tibet, Shugden from different parts of Tibet should move to Chatring district bordering China and ask China for a separate autonomy for Shugdens only. Chatring is 100% Shugden for centuries and also 98% of the Shugden in the Tibetan world are Khampas. So Chatring autonomy is apt.
P.S. This post was first published in November 2014.