The walls always tell you a lot about their city. It was a poster that pointed me to an evening of Tibetan Poetry at a local cafe, on my first day in Mcleod Ganj. From there, I followed the threads that have left me both enriched and better informed about the Tibetan struggle. .
Like a lot many other Indians, I did not really understand the gravity of the fact that in 39 settlement colonies, scattered in small towns and cramped city corners, there exists the cultural heart of an entire nation. The only free voices of Tibet are the ones that are in exile, and the settlements in India are their adopted homeland. .
Over the years, while China accomplished a conquest, decimated Tibetan spiritual heritage, outlawed their culture and terrorized protest, the ones who escaped recreated their cultural roots here in India. In a sense, a free Tibet lives on because the 120,000 people here have refused to let memories be obliterated, and who, in the rush to adapt, have not abandoned their tradition. .
Each Tibetan carries the enormous responsibility of keeping their nation alive in exile, while never having seen what remains of their own land. Tragically, Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue pointed out, the Tibetans of Tibet no longer understand the Tibetan spoken by their countrymen and women born in exile. The breach seems to have become a divide. .
Their predicament is extremely complicated, and the third generation of Tibetans in exile face heart-breaking choices. Insensitive and oblivious to all this, the average Indian asks them, 'are you Chinese?'
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