Waiting for Mangtso


I started pecking out this piece over a month ago in the garden of Nalanda Koti, my old bungalow in McLeod Ganj. On this particular visit to India I was struck by how the issue of the 2011 Kalon Tripa elections, and additionally the “20 Questions” on Prime Minister Samdong Rimpoche’s resignation, somehow elbowed their way into every conversation, not only with Tibetans but also Indian and Western friends, and even the few journalists that always seem to be hanging around McLeod Ganj.

I had, a week or so before my departure for India, speculated on Radio Free Asia (RFA) that there was, perhaps, some tension between the Prime Minister’s office and His Holiness’s private secretariat. Last year when I was in Dharamshala for the “Special Meeting” someone told me that Rimpoche had become increasing frustrated with how little say he had in matters relating personally to His Holiness. In one instance I was told that Rimpoche wanted to vet the Dalai Lama’s travel schedule, and that officials at the private secretariat regarded that as an act of lèse majesté.  This was, of course, all speculation coming from the backwoods of Tennessee, with no first hand information to back it up, as I admitted to Karma Zurkhang, the RFA interviewer.

I wasn’t on any more solid ground, information-wise, with the semi-official explanation I received this time around at Gangkyi. Rimpoche had given a talk to TGIE officials and staff explaining the reasons for his resignation. He revealed that he had suffered from depression (sog-lung) since adolescence, but had gained a remission after coming into exile. Rimpoche now felt the condition returning, making it difficult for him to continue in office and carry out his duties.

In a noticeable break with the mealy-mouthed tradition of officialdom, the former speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, Karma Chophel la, offered a blunt explanation for Rimpoche’s decision. In a radio interview the ex-speaker declared that Rimpoche had little choice but to resign because of the abject failure of his major policy initiatives, including his role in the promotion of the Middle Way and negotiations with China. He was supported in this analysis by Sonam Topgyal la, the former kalon tripa, who was also being interviewed in the radio program.

At Dharamshala I also learned that supporters of the Prime Minister were calling for the amendment of the Exile Charter so that the two-term limit could be rescinded and Rimpoche could serve for third (and perhaps even a fourth or fifth) term. An informed acquaintance of mine told me he suspected that Rimpoche’s resignation might actually have been a ploy to raise the amendment issue. Such a development would allow Rimpoche to launch the campaign for his third term while still in office, giving him a definite advantage over future competitors. To be fair, Rimpoche himself has publicly stated that he was against any amendment of the Exile Charter for this purpose.

As critical as I have been on occasions about Samdong Rimpoche, I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and not assume his resignation was a political ruse. I could be wrong about this, but I suspect that Samdong Rimpoche has had an epiphany. He has finally realized the fundamental limitations of the democratic process in exile politics. In his statement at a panel discussion in Dharamshala on June 21, (organized by Gu Chu Sum, TWA and SFT), Rimpoche admitted that the Kalon Tripa did not have the freedom to operate in the usual manner (“free style” was how Rimpoche put it) but had to work within a framework where besides the presence of other institutions (and this was repeatedly emphasized throughout the discussion) the Dalai Lama’s wishes were absolutely and unquestionably predominant. In response to a question from the audience about the priorities of the Prime Ministers duties, Rimpoche responded, very clearly, that it was important for the kalon tripa “to even anticipate the Dalai Lama’s unstated thoughts and direct his efforts to their realization.”

Which is essentially saying that the role of the kalon tripa in the exile Tibetan government is not that of a prime minister in  a democratic nation as India or the UK (who actually initiates and formulates national policy) but rather that of a “first minister of the crown” in a pre-democratic monarchy or theocracy. The latter statement about anticipating His Holiness’s thoughts echoes the fawning of the grand eunuch in a decaying Oriental court, than the free and candid expression of a democratically elected leader.

This was definitely not the view that Rimpoche appeared to hold previously, judging by his earlier statements. In his first term he had been much more effusive about the authenticity and significance of Tibetan democracy, and enthusiastic about the democratic role of his office in Tibetan governance. There is no fundamental or substantive disagreement between the Dalai Lama and his prime minister on His Holiness’s highest-priority policy goal as defined by his Middle Way Approach. In fact Samdong Rimpoche has been unflinchingly loyal in this, even setting himself up as a kind of theoretician or ideologist for the Middle Way – writing articles and speaking on the subject.

Rimpoche has carried out a number of his own policies, namely the privatizing of all Tibetan government businesses (whether profitable or not) making farmers in resettlement camps adopt organic methods (causing financial loss and conflict in the farming community) and converting the Gangkyi staff mess to vegetarianism. But traditional prime ministers throughout the ages have been allowed some latitude in secondary policy matters. Of course if Samdong Rimpoche had ever expressed any misgivings about a fundamental policy matter as the Middle Way Approach, there can be no doubt that his career would have been effectively terminated. The job of the prime minister in the exile Tibetan government, even if he has come to his position through an election of some kind, is, first and foremost, to carry out the policies and the wishes of the Dalai Lama, as Samdong Rimpoche himself has finally admitted.

All this is perfectly traditional and legitimate (even the sycophancy) – as long as we do not insist on calling this system a democracy. It is when we do, and when we start believing our own propaganda that misunderstanding and confusion ensues.

Some months ago Thupten Samdup of the Canada Tibet Committee and newly appointed representative of the Dalai Lama in London, started a website to “facilitate the nomination for the next kalon tripa”. He was tremendously disappointed when people showed very little interest in coming forward as candidates or proposing new nominees. He posted an article in Phayul.com “Walking the Talk” where he expressed his frustrations but also laid out his reading of the current Tibetan political system. “For the first time in our history we have a parliamentary system and an evolving democratic structure intended to grant representation and freedoms….Tibetans in diaspora now have a precious opportunity to participate more directly in the democratic process: to choose worthy candidates from among our people to stand for the highest office in the Tibetan government-in-exile – the Office of the Kalon Tripa.”

I also came across other comments on various websites by Tibetans expressing hope that a transformational leader like Barak Obama or at least an honest and capable prime minister like Manmohan Singh, would be elected as a new kalon tripa, and our political system would thus become fundamentally reformed. In one discussion on the Internet, an expectation was voiced that the election of a “rangzen” candidate could change the current exile-government policy and bring a new direction to our freedom struggle. I do not want to pour cold water on these hopes and initiatives, which are probably well intentioned. Nonetheless they are naïve and misguided in assuming that our political system is a democratic one where an elected prime minister would have the constitutional powers to make fundamental changes in our body politic.

Our system resembles nothing more than the “Party-less” Panchayat system of Nepal, formulated by King Mahendra in 1962. He declared that this “Panchayat Democracy” was closer to Nepalese tradition and culture than Western democracy. Elections were held for seats in the Rashtriya Panchayat, as the Nepalese parliament was called. In 1980, under King Birendra, even the prime minister was elected by the rashtriya panchayat. Nonetheless Nepal remained very much a monarchy where the real political power was held firmly by the king and his royalist supporters. Only in 1991, with multiparty parliamentary elections held throughout the country, could Nepal actually claim to have become a real democracy.

Even those Tibetans, fully aware of the stagnant and ineffective nature of the Tibetan political system, often cling to the hope that the election of a transformational political leader could bring about a major change in political direction. There are a number of reasons why this hope is unrealistic. Even if, by a very long shot, such a prime minister were to get elected, he would be up against a parliament whose members have no institutional requirement to work with him. He might be able to pull the kashag in his wake, since the ministers would be his own appointees, but these appointments would require the confirmation of the Dalai Lama and the Parliament. Then, of course, he would have the ultimate and unenviable task of informing His Holiness that His Middle Way policy had failed and that a new course of action set out.

There is one more final and awkward fact that is never mentioned in any public discussion or even acknowledged as existing – the reality of the other center of political power in the exile world, besides the Dalai Lama, the kashag and the parliament. Our “party-less” democracy is in fact not quite as party-less as it is professed to be. In truth, whenever such claims of a “party-less” system are made in any undemocratic country, what is never mentioned is the party representing the status quo, the established power, that is always there in the shadows. In the case of the Tibetan exile world this undeclared party is more a loose coalition of organizations than a single political party. But it nonetheless represent the political machine that has, since the beginning of exile history, maintained a formidable control over the election process and has otherwise ensured unquestioning loyalty of the exile public to His Holiness and the first family (Yapshi).

Probably the first of these organizations, in what I will call the religious-right coalition, was the Cholsum Chigdril Tsokpa or the Three Provinces United Association, created by Gyalo Thondup, the Dalai Lamas older brother. It had an initial membership of largely junior monk officials. This organization was used effectively in Gyalo Thondup’s power struggle against senior members of the early exile government, largely aristocrats, who were nearly all driven out of office. The formation of this organization might have been influenced by Gyalo Thondup’s student days in Nationalist China. There was a bit of the Guomindang in the  makeup of the United Association. Unquestioning loyalty to the leader figure being the paramount duty of its members .

The first elections for the Tibetan exile parliament (then called the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies) were held in 1960 – along provincial lines. Besides the Three Provinces United Association, other organizations claiming to represent each of these provinces sprang up in the following years:  U-Tsang Tsokpa (for central Tibet) Domey Tsokpa (for Amdo)  and Dotoe Tsokpa (for Kham). The claim by these organizations to be sole representatives of the provinces of Tibet were shaky at best. Even within exile-society the claims of these organizations have been challenged by outside groups, and even among themselves, in the form of divisions and internal conflicts.  There was little transparency in the leadership selection process and finances of these organizations. After the founding of the Tibetan Youth Congress, the only genuinely democratic organization in exile, the various component groups of the coalition began to adopt some of the vocabulary and organizational structure of the Congress, but they remained essentially non-democratic and reactionary.

I am not going to go into much detail here about the coalition. A full history of exile politics is really needed. The origins of these organizations are murky and their history convoluted and often baffling. It should be stressed again that this coalition of various organizations is not a monolithic structure like the Chinese Communist party. There have been messy internal differences, and in fact most of the major crises in exile society have come about because of rifts and conflicts within the religious-right coalition. At least a couple of these have ended in fatalities.

The initial attacks by the religious-right coalition were directed against those perceived as opposing Gyalo Thondup. I had earlier mentioned those aristocrat ministers and secretaries in the early exile government, but there were also Khampa leaders as Markham Thosam, Manang Abo and others who were seen as questioning or criticizing Gyalo Thondup or supporting his opponents in the government. The fact that Manang Abo had been a leader and participant in the ’59 Uprising, did not save him from being branded a traitor. The coalition also succeeded in shutting down an embryonic political party set up by the former Tibetan representative to Nationalist China in Nanjing, Thupten Sangpo (a.k.a. Tsatora Khenchung). Another incipient political party called the “Social” party, started in Dalhousie, was also shut down. It is possible that the Dalai Lama’s proclamation of a democratic constitution for Tibet in the early sixties inspired these short-lived efforts at democratic participation.

Later attacks (often physical and violent) were directed against Tibetan intellectuals who wrote anything that could be remotely construed as critical of the Dalai Lama, Buddhism or Gyalo Thondup. The late Professor Dawa Norbu was threatened with violence for an editorial in the Tibetan Review, while Karma Zurkhang, the editor of the Tibetan Youth Congress magazine, Rangzen, was attacked for publishing a letter-to-the-editor, deemed insulting to His Holiness. A well organized and extensive hate-mail campaign was directed against a Tibetan academic in Japan, Tsultrim Kalsang Khangkar, who was alleged to have criticized His Holiness in his writings – but which he has consistently denied doing. Alo Chonze, the leader of the anti-Chinese Mimang organization in Lhasa during the mid 50’s, was also mobbed in Dharamshala and humiliated in the Cultural Revolution style with ink and spittle being smeared over his face. His daughter, a Tibetan government official, was also briefly held hostage.

For a while the Tibetan Women’s Association was a major participant in the coalition witch hunts, but that organization has now, gratifyingly, moved on to more constructive social and freedom activism, and to working for the empowerment of Tibetan women.

Pro-establishment Tibetans have often tended to dismiss such incidents as unfortunate but spontaneous incidents stemming from the devotion of an uneducated Tibetan public to the Dalai Lama. Such a viewpoint is not entirely wrong on the surface of things, but even a cursory investigation of the incidents clearly reveals political motives and direction behind them. His Holiness has, unfortunately, never once condemned these acts of violence and intimidation being carried out in his name, and has perhaps unintentionally provided an incentive for loyalists to carry on in this thuggish manner.

A scholar from Amdo, Pema Bhum had a fatwah or sorts declared against him for an academic paper on Tibetan literature that was denounced as anti-Buddhist. The president of the Three Provinces United Association, went so far as to offer a reward of Rs.200,000 to anyone who would murder the scholar, and even repeated this offer in an interview with the political journal Dasar. Pema Bhum was a director of the Amnye Machen Institute, with Tashi Tsering, Lhasang Tsering and myself.

At Amnye Machen we published the newspaper Mangtso (Democracy), that attempted to report on Tibetan politics in an open and truthful manner. Our staff members and some young men who sold our paper on the streets were constantly bullied and threatened. The editors received death threats on a regular basis, and gangs and mobs often poured into our office, scaring the girls at the reception desk and harassing everybody else. All these incidents were clearly organized and instigated by the religious-right coalition in order to shut down the paper.

Things went from bad to worse after we published an editorial condemning an underhand move by the coalition to gain full and official control over the selection process of candidates for the parliamentary elections. The stated reason for this move was to ensure that no disloyal person or secret Chinese agent would slip in as a candidate. We managed to stall that political move, but even without resorting to such a Communist Chinese or North Korean electoral procedures, the religious-right coalition had pretty much sewed up the electoral process.

Since exile Tibetans can only vote on the basis of the province they had come from and, the provincial organizations claim, with official approval and support, to exclusively represent everyone from that particular province, tremendous control is maintained over the electoral process and the outcome of the elections. The system is skewed against the young and those born in exile since they have little affinity or connection with the provincial organizations. Furthermore many young Tibetans born in exile are of mixed parentage, Toepa/Khampa, Amdowa/Lhasawa and find it problematic to join these organizations. We should also bear in mind that all monks have two votes each in these elections, giving a tremendous advantage of the religious-right.

The religious-right coalition has never been energetic in Rangzen or human rights activism. They have largely focused their efforts in maintaining political power through the parliamentary (and later Kalon-Tripa) elections, and through ostentatious public displays of loyalty to the Dalai Lama, and sometimes Gyalo Thondup.  A noticeable feature of many of the religious-right leaders has been their habitual mahjong playing.

I recall just one campaign, a Peace March to Tibet in 1995, organized by the religious-right coalition.  A large sum of money (about 80 lakh rupees) was raised from the public, but just at the commencement of the march it was announced that the goal of the Peace March (initially Tibet) had now been changed to Delhi. Halfway to Delhi, at Ambala, the march-leaders hustled everyone on buses claiming that they had to meet the Dalai Lama (on his return from a foreign trip) in New Delhi.

In fact last year’s momentous campaigns by the Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet, the Tibetan Women’s Association and other groups have been condemned by the religious-right for causing the failure of the negotiation talks with China, and upsetting His Holiness. Even the numerous campaigns against the Beijing Olympics and the Torch relays, have been denounced by the coalition for deliberately provoking the Chinese government and antagonizing the Chinese people.

This right-religious coalition now serves as the main force to promote the Middle Way policy in Tibetan Society.  A special sub-organization, the Tibetan People’s Movement for Middle Way, appears to have been created some years ago which has organized “workshops” and meeting to educate the Tibetan people about the Middle Way Policy. Less peaceful methods have also been adopted to deal with anyone even questioning the Middle Way Approach.

For instance the speaker of the Tibetan parliament, Karma Choephel, attempted to introduce a resolution for a parliamentary review of the Middle Way Approach. He immediately faced a barrage of opposition not only from within the Parliament but from the coalition, calling for his ouster and even for physical violence against him. He had to withdraw his resolution.

Most recently an intellectual from Amdo, Lugar Jam, gave a public lecture in McLeod Ganj analyzing the failure of the Middle Way Approach and Gyalo Thondup’s role in this fiasco. He was immediately fired from his position as an analyst in a TGIE research office, and has since then been constantly harassed and threatened in the time-honored manner. Late the Amdo provincial organization has started a process to remove him from membership of the Amdo community, with the likely aim of disenfranchising him.

It doesn’t require undue perspicacity to see that no single person, even if elected to the position of the prime minister would be able to alter our present course. Especially since the Tibetan parliament itself has unanimously passed a resolution supporting and praising the Middle Way Approach as the only guiding principal and sole policy direction for the Tibetan issue. The present speaker of the parliament, Penpa Tsering, stated very clearly at the public discussion in Dharamshala on June 21 (where he was also a panel member with Samdong Rimpoche) that only someone supporting the Middle Way was eligible for the position of Kalon-Tripa. Penpa Tsering did acknowledge that a Rangzen supporter could try and get nominated, but (he added with a smirk) that the potential nominee would be wasting his time.

I am not saying, that even under the present political system, the election of an honest and competent Kalon Tripa would not be a small improvement on things. Of course it would. But the improvement would only be in areas that did not encroach on the Dalai Lama’s policy of the Middle Way. Rangzen activists and supporters who feel that the hopeless, even suicidal, negotiation policy of the exile government could be changed by the nomination of a rangzen candidate, should modify their expectations.

Sometimes it appears that even His Holiness himself is stymied by this system that was presumably created to serve his interests. Last year after the great uprising in Tibet, the brutal Chinese crackdown, and the disastrous and shameful ending of negotiations with Beijing, the Dalai Lama publicly expressed his loss of faith with Chinese leaders and called for the Special Meeting in November, apparently with the aim of finding some new direction in Tibetan politics.  But then the machine of loyalist politics was cranked up. All sorts of phony surveys and statistics, a plethora of loyal resolutions from purported public meetings, were churned out to give His Holiness the impression that the Tibetan public enthusiastically and near unanimously supported His Middle Way policy, and would never loose faith in Him or question any of His decisions.

On occasion the coalition has even been known to exercise their loyalist zeal in a loose-cannon manner that can only be described as disrespectful, even insulting, to His Holiness’s preeminent role as sovereign of the Tibetan nation. In 1966 or thereabouts, the daughter of Yarphel Pangdatsang came to Dharamshala for an audience. Earlier, Pangdatsang had been a close family friend of the Yabshi, His Holiness’s mother (Gyalyum Chenmo) even staying regularly at the Pangdatsang mansion in Kalimpong. But then Pangdatsang fell out with Gyalo Thondup and found himself the target of a vilification campaign. Inexplicably, this only Tibetan millionaire at the time, suddenly departed for Communist China, opening himself up to more accusations. When his married daughter Wangmo requested an audience for herself, before her departure to the USA, it was granted by the Dalai Lama’s principal secretary, Kungo T.C. Tara.  The coalition heard about this and soon a large howling mob assembled before the Dalai Lama’s old palace at Swarg Ashram, screaming (in earshot of the His Holiness) for Kungo Tara to be dragged out of his office. A tearful Kungo Tara went before a very upset Dalai Lama to offer his resignation.

The right-religious coalition sometimes reminds me of HAL the schizophrenic computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, whose deformed sense of loyalty to its mission made it incapable of realizing that its actions were destroying the crew (and captain) of the spaceship it was supposed to protect.

So this is where matters stand. As depressing as the whole thing sounds, I believe there is a way to bring about real and effective democratic governance in our exile society. It is going to be more complicated and strenuous than just voting for a nice Kalon Tripa and then crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. We have to commit ourselves to an extraordinary and far-reaching purpose — a democratic revolution. Nothing less will succeed.  Some ideas on how to go about this will be posted on this site in the near future.


169 Replies to “Waiting for Mangtso”

  1. dear author,

    It is fascinating to read about the TGIE and exile Tibetans situation on political terms, where still it is intact with rightist-religious.
    What do you think about the ‘Choe-rig Kalon’ which comes after the ‘Kalon Tripa’ in the TGIE where as normally in the democratic or totalitarian Govt. the home ministry comes after the chief of the cabinet. Do you think, it is one of the strong persistence of the religious-rightist?

  2. Agreed Gen JN la, Rimpoche has carried out a number of his own policies and most of his ideas are failed so far. The CRAP idea of adopting organic methods of farming in Kollegal settlement was biggest failure in his term. He and former Kollegal settlement representative Mr.Wangdu(kungo Gochen) put lots of effort to convinced and cheat the poor people of settlement and made them to go for Organic farming however it was idea was failed and end up losing crores of rupees of our govt. But i am quite sure that Kungo Gochen must have made lot of money and also got promotion for obeying Rimpoche’s direction.

  3. Is there an analogy between the Tibatan and the Iranian political system?
    Political systems, that can`t be changed but only can be removed to build up secular democratic political systems?

  4. I don’t think you mentioned the high profile murder of Gungthang Tsultrim of Dehra Dun. Is the religious right responsible for it?

  5. Hi Jamyang,
    The article seems to be a thorough analysis of the political mechanism of exile government. I do appreciate you for bringing this issue, as democracy is institution founded on the principle of public discourse and participation. The criticism is a force that shapes a healthy democracy by serving as ”power check”. Yet, you should also understand the maturity of our democracy and moreover the political reality of contemporary world. Successful democracy lies in the heart of public intellect, (education) without which role democracy is in doubt, to do good or harm. I am not really sure about the level of our public intellectual capacity and political consciousness to pursue a path that you and me desired. I would caution that diving into a pool without knowing the depth is sometimes dangerous.

  6. Without a doubt majority of such “Religious Right” group innately wish to serve the “Best”. To which it ironically impoverishes the strength it has. This must Change, but HOW?
    Given the community of Diaspora and the present situation, any well-minded people like yourself would not entertain revolution sort of Change. Which itself has shortcomings on such as Tentative union of Exile structure.
    To this Dilemma, i think formulation of “Choerig Lhantsog” in sept session of ATPD last year was a milestone which has the potential to regulate various monastic institution under Kashag.
    A popular and Charming next Kalon Tripa would be armed to deal with this issue, given he has the courage to withstand first disgruntled wave.
    In nutshell, Tibetan history has no Ideological martyr to which every common man can sentimentally relate to.

  7. I still believe rangzen candidate needs to stand for office, if simply to test this ‘democracy’ and send a message that it has a lot of supporters and are not merely a few fringe intellectuals yelling on the street corners. Sometimes, you fight not because you think you will win the battle but because it is the right thing to do. Aside from Jamyang La and Lhasang Tsering La, I don’t know of any serious candidate who has both the intellectual and the leadership qualities. I mean candidates who are staunch rangzen proponent and not flip-floppers who do whatever is best for their own political careers. This is just my opinion.

  8. “even for physical violence ”

    I find it sad that our politicians do not have the honesty or the guts to protest and protect against such mobbing behavior. I do not find them deserving any support. On my part, i will not vote for any candidate for the kalon election. It seems an exercise in futility. Our society needs to learn a lot before we can really have Tibet back.
    We are not ready for Ragzen yet.

  9. conundrum of Tibetan Exile Politics…..after reading your article I realized how naïve am I about our exile politics. The ghastly attack incidents on our intellectuals are shocking as well as saddening.. ….kadrin chey Jamyang la for this great article.

    I think its unfair to blame His Holiness alone for the Middle Way Policy or Samdong Rimpoche for the privatization policy. I agree most of the common Tibetan people are ignorant of the implications of these policies and not to say their reverence for Kundun and maybe for Samdong Rimpoche too being a Rimpoche, overshadow the political matters but what about the 46 MPs or chetuzzz…..am sure these policies must have been discussed in our Parliament and only after getting the green signal they must have been executed. So in my opinion, it’s the blunder of our elected MPs who didn’t enforce the check and balance.

    I doubt Amdo Lugar Jam’s public lecture was the overture to his not working in research office. It is really shameful if the so-called amdo provincial organization is planning to banish him…..idk whats the matter with these morons……..

    The question why our monks and nuns have the right to cast 2 votes…cholka n choelook was bugging me for a long time and today after reading your article Jamyang La I got my answer. Thanx again.I strongly believe in ONE MAN ONE VOTE…no matter what….

    Time for a radical change and its legitimate and understandable too.……

  10. Personally heard from one of the yabshi right wing, young aptuk guy how much he hates those criticize Tibetan govt. He had been telling he had once beaten up Tashi Tsering of Amnye Machen!!

  11. Dear Jamyang Norbu la,

    I am in the middle of flipping through the pages of your wonderful book “Shadow Tibet” and i must admit that i am beginning to develop a kind of respect and admiration for your critical jabberings ( backed with logical reasonings) and your writing prowess( witty,clever and ‘delicious’)!You are the first Tibetan writer (par excellence) i am reading and i am truly proud of the fact that we have a home-grown writer-in-English who has the potential to rub shoulder with other international writers.Hats off to you and your spirit!You are an inspiration for me and please keep inspiring us through your writings.

    Tashi Delek

    Chime Tenzing

  12. Your article is partly acceptable, but not fully if I say frankly.
    I am also not fully supporting for the double vote right for the monks community, although it doesnot mean that I am not respective for the monks. Democratically, one person one vote is the motto of election.

    I didnot accept fully about the assault or threatening incident as you wrote as seriously. I also read those Mangtso papers of 90s, which had aroused many conflict and sometime even hatred due to its divisive and racial contents.

  13. JN, I really appreciate on how well you express, excites, interests and then also, incites and depresses people with your articles. Surely many people here in your blog seems to be your fan but don’t get carried by that. Am from the new generation of youngster who are taking over the responsibility of the future Tibet. With all the exposure and education we had many your critical seemed unjustified and irresponsible, since there is no authority to disprove you. Will eagerly wait for your idea on alleviating this pathetic and rotten Tibetan community. Last but not the least, this is surely an article that may bring some mopping. So be careful with your next visit to Dharamshala.

  14. I thank Jamyang la’s for his lucid article and as an ex government worker, I can vouch for his authenticity is describing the status quo that exists even to this day in Dharamsala despite the fact that we have been allowed freedoms, to describe it as “democracy” is a misnomer. Clans and factions among our Diaspora still cater to the whims of their secretive bosses and the question of faithfulness to the cause of Tibet, Tibetans and to HHDL are way down on the bottom of their list.
    One way that these mini agenda’s can be neutralized is by electing political parties to power and not have a zillion elections to choose individuals whose allegiance are to their bosses and not Tibet or HHDL.

  15. The first question that comes to my mind after reading this post: is His Holiness aware of this discouraging state of affairs? Since years, the Dalai Lama relentlessly insists that he is “a staunch believer in freedom and democracy” and that “the Tibetan people themselves must be the ultimate deciding authority.” Why then, when the Tibetan democracy turns out to be a farce, when intellectuals face the risk of being banished or assaulted for their unorthodox opinions, no alarming sign can be heard from Thekchen Choeling? Does His Holiness condone this masquerade or is he completely unaware of it?

  16. There is no ‘democratic revolution’ without a clear agreement that the institution of the Dalai Lama can only exist in a spiritual role.
    Just imagine Congressman Joe Wilson as a Tibetan MP in ‘Dhasa’ and His Holiness as Obama?
    Our devotion towards Kundun does not allow for a healthy democracy.

  17. JN Sahab, I agree that the right wing coalition you had coined out is something undesirable and destructive force if we look at it from western democratic point of view. However, it is largely due to this coalition that we are able to continue our exile movement to this day. In the first place, ours is a different situation where we do not own an inch of land. We live on foreign soil as a refugee. On the contrary, I think at this point of time, we should be thankful to this coalition group for their commendable work. I agree that this coalition group is going to be a destructive force if we were on our own soil. Thanks for your writing.

  18. Isn’t Tibetan people waiting for true mangtso similar to His Holiness waiting for meaningful autonomy? The former can’t do much out of reverence and the later can’t do much because of opponent’s military/political/economic might.

    Somewhere in his book, Red Star over Tibet-Prof Dawa Norbu writes it was only his Holiness’ intervention that saved his life from the mob. Heads up!

    How does it sound running around collecting signatures on a petition “How much longer is our leadership going to wait and expect China to give us something? ” When will our leadership heed to the calls from Tibet(Tibetans risking their limbs, lives and families) for independence?
    (Struggle for independence being a luxury, what can we do for this struggle for survival?)

    Not much hope given the fears/suspicions they express when I went around to collect just green book numbers from 90 Tibetans(mostly acquaintances) to just endorse 4 new nominees on a 2011 Kalon Tripa website.

    Eagerly waiting for your ideas about how to achieve true democracy with multi-party system and more…

    But in the mean time, however powerless he/she might be before/under a spiritual giant, it’s definitely better to have a staunch independence activist/supporter as kalon tripa than a blind middleway believer. This kalon tripa will select 5 to 7 staunch independence activist/supporters as ministers in his cabinet. Our people will be waken up and they will elect only staunch independence activist/supporters as MPs. All 40 of them!
    All those tsokpas will be depoliticised!

    But can devotion or reverence for some one be blamed for being a rock on the road to independence or democracy? Is it fair?

    Any one please throw some light.


  19. JN addresses the issue that is prevalent in many other societies also but in our case it is all the more urgent since we (a small number) represents rest (majority) of the Tibetan population.
    It is sad state of affairs when the speaker of the parliament has a smirk for Rangzen advocates who might want to run for Kalon Tripaship. From the recent acts of bravery by Tibetans in Tibet, at the cost of gods know what, there is no ambiguity in what the Tibetan people want.
    How many people are lucky enough to be told to have democracy. Let’s stop this sycophancy which doesn’t add to anyone’s glory if not take away from it. His Holiness supports democracy for the Tibetan people; let us make him proud.
    I will vote for the one who will support Rangzen. By the way, if I shave my head and wear a robe for a while do I get to cast to votes?

  20. @pema,

    my question was not on the inception of CTA’s departs. even, when we look from the angle of inception of the “Choerig” as first and “throeten” (health) as last. this, itself shows that, our CTA first major focus was/is on religious-rightist. so, i wish that, CTA will change it formation according to the practical level like, health and education, internal and external affairs and finance as the basic of the policy and administration, to rather then “Choe” or “Choerig” as the priority.

  21. BTW to post 18- President Obama being heckled by a feckless Joe Wilson is no good example of how democracy works; unless FOX news is one’s source of information.

  22. @Tenpa:

    Of course religion is every thing for ignorant Tibetans. We wasted all our resources on butter lamp yet we have to beg the world to arms and we cannot pay meager salary for our soldiers.

    We are still ignorant bunch.

  23. To post 24. Dawa

    You assumption of a person’s TV habits or what is or not good democracy is simply astounding!
    All these based on four lines of a simple note?

  24. I am just saying that in America we don’t have a parliamentary system of government so you can’t just shout back at the head of the government just like they do to Gordon Brown in Britain.
    All I am saying is what Wilson did to Obama is not a good example of how democracy is excersised although Fox news will have you believe otherwise. It’s a well known fact that FOx doesn’t carry real news. They don’t have credibility in the mainstream America.
    And for me, personally, I don’t like it because it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch who is a Chinese running dog and had said HH is a monk who shuffles in Gucci shoes as though HH knows what’s a Gucci or cares about it.
    Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.

  25. and yes I think them to be sorry asses who chose to make Fox news their sole source of News although there are plenty of other credible sources.

  26. A healthy democracy is one that accepts dissent however crude or irrational it may seem to some.
    The Joe Wilson incident was a recent example.
    We Tibetans for obvious reasons are not at that stage.

  27. Yeah, you are right. Dissent should be allowed.

    I just didn’t like the way Joe Wilson shouted back at Obama. He is not a proponent of democracy when his group is in power. There are many people in this country who cannot except a minority for a president.

  28. HI Jamyang la,

    Yes, Exicle Goverment has some flaws but we should not forget their good contribution over entire tibetan.
    To be honestly all we have now for Tibetan is excile Tibetan goverment and His Holiness Dalia lama.
    Without these two You kind of privilage section likely to face lesser dgree tantrum., but am very sure that oridanary tibetan will suffer to death in evry aspect of life.
    Lugar Jam was not evicted by Tibetan Excile Goverment but he was given citation of choice as per the norm that had benefit hundreath thousand people.
    He declared himself that he can not stay silence for tibet cause as if wider goal of excile goverment is some different. this matter is often using against the Excile goverment as instrument.

    I am suggesting you to hunt for goods side Excile goverment so that you will see good thing.
    generally this is sort of fashion with tibetan mentality that when one reach at certain level they will tend to think bad about Excile Goverment and His holiness Dalia Lama.
    So I repect you but this is my another way to repect you in some situtaion.

  29. Hi,Pema, Do you have a link to it? It will be more effective to shame him on a larger scale like on one of the three networks or CNN and MSNBC.
    I want to add that it won’t harm any of us to register with major media outlets and participate with their discussions. And when topic of Tibet comes, which it does once in a blue moon, then we can say what we know of our own situation instead of letting others do it for us. Some of these sites have thousands of followers who will see what’s in our minds.

  30. Pema and Dawa,

    Regarding Obama and Dalai Lama’s meeting, don’t underestimate Prof. Samdhong remarks during an interaction with a group of media persons in Dharamsala:

    “I feel President Obama should meet Chinese President Hu Jintao first and then His Holiness”. He also added: “Cordial relations between the US and PRC in the present situation is very important. There should not be any hostile relations and confrontation between these two… In order to strike a good relation with China, he should not irritate the Chinese leadership.”

  31. ..and in that spirit of grovelling appeasement has the Tibetan Government in Exile once more sought to dilute protests planned for Hu Jintao, during his trip to the USA. Will the streets of New York and Pittsburgh be filled with desperate messages such as ‘Save Tibet’, ‘Negotiate Now’ or ‘Autonomy for Tibet’, rather than ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘Independence for Tibet’? Samdhong sought to suppress Tibetan demosntrations previously, has he been at it again?

    Why not ask the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of New York and New Jersey, who its reported seemed to be a little hesitant and reluctant to agree on featuring banners promoting independence for Tibet.

    More here:


  32. So, basically, TYC in NY/NJ is beign run by pro-middlepath advocates who masquerades as Tibetan Youth Congress leaders until they can springboard to a safe govt. position in exile? If they can’t even pull a poster calling for independence, then they don’t deserve to be members of TYC, least of all leaders of the organization.

  33. Tenpa Dhargyal Gapshi

    Let us hope that your speculation is not correct, if such a self-serving process exists then it would be a contemptuous betrayal of the Tibetan cause of independence. What has not been seen yet is a public statement from the TYC (NY/NJ) asserting clearly that they will be carrying banners and placards calling for Tibet’s rightful independence.

  34. Thank you JN la for this searing insight into the demo(b)cracy thats our exile system. It is heartening to see that there are many Tibetans out there who are constantly on the watch, scratching our collective heads to get us out of this rut.

    I think we as an exile face a strange task of trying to move towards a democratic system and struggle to keep our unity and preserve our culture in exile. Somtimes I feel like pledging one’s loyalty to His Holiness or re-electing Samdhong Rinpoche twice is an affirmation of our unity, of trying to hold together in exile to the dream of a Free Tibet. I am not trying to make excuses for the lame initiatives by some people to even amend teh Charter to make it possible for Kalon Tripa to stand for more than two terms. I definitely dont want to go teh route of many latin american democracies.

    I think the challenge for the next kalon Tripa is huge, no denying it. I am torn between trying to think and support someone because I think is the best candidate from the democratic ideal that I hold dear and the dilemma that I face is what about the Tibetans inside tibet. What kind of leadership are they looking for? The question of Kalon Tripa, with or without the towering shadow of the Dalai Lama is complex to me. And I still have no idea. Being in exile throws up strange complication in our tryst with mangtso.

    thank you JN. waiting for the next chapter.

  35. Hi
    All Tibetan -American come to join for the protest against the HU JINTAO for his brutal supression of Tibetan revolt in 1987-1989 that time he was secretary of CPP. aftermath of force 500 live were lost directly and indirectly.
    ( Tibet area)
    His thoughtless supression of Tibetan has brought him much acclaim as real CCP hardcore.
    After 20 years last year 2008 protest was again handle in so inhuman way that still much Tibetan in Tibet were in living hell in the world.
    So everfy Tibetan in the land freedom come foward to the New York and lets “BEAT HIM WITH WORST OF WORST SLOGAN AND PROTEST”
    lets grip this opportunity to strip off his black suit to reveal his human crime.

  36. Thank you for this long overdue article. I think it would come as a shock for many Tibetans to learn of all the behind the scene dirty politicking that went on ever since the beginning of our exile history and still goes on to this day (50 years)where literatures are censored, people are “black marked”, beaten or threatened.
    In part, I blame the exiled Tibetan educational system for keeping the young Tibetans like “robots”. They are not offered and encouraged to read books, especially history books written by different people to trigger their minds to ask questions and participate in healthy debates. The early Tibetan history that is taught are mixed with mythology where one king is deemed the Darma King and another the Devil etc. In short, everything that is taught is in black and white with no shade of “grey” in between. It seems the establishment wants to keep the Tibetan people this way, “like robots”, still drunk in the world of socerers and oracles and witches and devils to fulfill their ambitions and take the Tibetan people every which way they want to take them.
    Don’t you think if true Mangtso is to be achieved, we should first get rid of our “State Oracle” and other oracles that gets in the way of our decision making and logical thinking process? They also play a major role in dividing our people when we should be united at this very difficult junction of our history. The Greeks have “abandoned” their Oracles centuries ago and the stories of these oracles, their various Gods and heroes are all referred to in “Greek Mythology” which the Greeks are not ashamed to admit as being myths and the whole world knows them as “Greek Mythology”, but we have not gotten there yet!!!!

    We have long ways to go for true “Mangto”, but there is hope thanks to writer and Tibetan activist such as yourself. Your article made me aware and hopefully had made many others aware of how urgently we need to clean out our closets, be brave to voice our concerns when necessary and be proactive towards our journey towards “Mangtso” rather than reactive.
    Bod Rangzen!!!

  37. Angela,

    Getting rid of oracles won’t be sufficient to achieve true Mangtso. What is really needed is secularization, as argued by Prof Samten G. Karmay in his essay “Tibetan Religion and Politics”:

    “Unless and until the Tibetan people come to comprehend the need for the separation of religion and state they will never be able to create a healthy and unified community under a truly democratically elected leader.”

  38. Angela,

    history of Greek mythology and and related matter are secondary and not the prime matter to be copied. but we can draw some kind speculative conclusion and it is just hypothesis.
    Not the enlightining path. one of the greatest fault committed by todays tibetan youth is often carried away by the hype of modernitie faulty notion like blaming everything on the relligion and aristrocrates. that not fair.

    Do you know one time CCP leadre was asked a question that why big country like China can’t govern by democratic systerm as India Does?
    Answer was ” because India has religion to bind them in single unit as a nation, but china has’nt it. that was true reflection one veteran CCP leader whose beneath heart has space for religious matters.

    Learning history remixed with mythology is our histroy and America histroy is essential for leaner in america. same way tibetan history has to learn as it is. history can not be reshaped.
    every ancient history is not free of myth and reality.

  39. TY Senge,

    True, India is a country where religion is very central to the life of people. Yet the Preamble of the Constitution of India declares that it is a secular state, and much is being done to prevent religious philosophies or bodies from influencing governmental policies.

    The main question is not about abandoning the practice of an established religion. It is about the separation of church and state. It is about making sure that policies of the Tibetan Government are no longer dictated by religion, and that government and religious institutions being kept independent from one and another. It is about an essential step towards a true democracy.

  40. I agreed what you wrote in your blog but it was not Renpoche alone failure in his initiative taken with regard to converting chemical farming to organic farming and privatization of exile government run small scale industries. It is corruption among our bureaucrats and other influential officer that led to failure. Because of Renpoche, we are having revenue budget and our exiled government able to save more money and use it economically.
    i must say that Renpoche is in depression(sog lung)because he alone can handle the government unless and until there is no moral support from official. Nepotism and corruption are two threats that our government facing.
    Tibetan’s nature is to back bite, even within their own family. so united we stand and face that two problems.
    Free tibet

  41. To All Modernist,

    The “rationality of the Enlightenment” promised “the disenchantment of the world, the dissolution of myths and the substitution of knowledge for fancy”. But as the course of history since the Enlightenment has shown, scientific rationality has failed to live up to the expectation that it would not only subsume, but also transcend natural and human existence. Instead, it increasingly betrayed its limitations in coping with complex problem humankind. Diverse cultures and histories have not, and cannot be contained by particular way of reasoning, be it scientific or otherwise. Serious Challenges to scientific reason’s applicability to and capacity to resolve all human dilemmas were only raised after the unbridled faith in ideas of science, progress, and freedom began to turn against itself, and transforms Enlightened rationality in an “Instrumental Rationality”.

    It would require more than googling and few essays to fathom the essence of our existence.

  42. well, senge, that communist was talking out of his ass. Sure, India is a religious country but it has many religions in it, which, more often than not, acts as the force that tears the country apart. Whole of Europe was religious in the middleages but they still had their own country. China was a very religious country before the commies took over. What does that say? Nothing really.

    The point is not that religion is bad and in that respect I am a devout buddhist to the core and have the utmost respect for its philosophy and believe in its path, but rather it is bad when it is mixed in with politics. Europe has learnt that lesson many centuries ago and the mixture had proven fatal for advancement of the human race. It is that when people are in the grips of religious stupor, it is really easy to manipulate, as can be seen by the chinese attempts to ‘proclaim’ the discovery of Panchen Lama, Karmapa, and quite possibly the future Dalai lama. This is a serious flaw and holds our society hostage and doesn’t help in the development of our nation. Furthermore, the murky world of politics tarnishes the flawless teachings of buddha and makes a mockery out of such peerless wisdom. Until and unless we are willing to let go off our baby blanket, Tibeatns will never grow and our nations will disaapear into a story, a myth, maybe even a movie (played by a chinese..oh, the irony, who I am sure will be repentant of the past of course)and they will create a special section in the archives for the race that destroyed itself.

  43. Dear Jamyang NorbuLa,
    I am hereafter posting my comment on your very interesting and useful article, I did post it on Phayul already and I want to share with you, and the readers, some of my thoughts.
    As every one will agree, one of the most important thing for Tibetan future (if we want to have a future as a tibetan civilization and not a disneylanded image of tibetaness within chinese culture) is the election of next Kalon Tripa.
    I use the term of Kalon Tripa, because all will know what it means, but I disagree completly on the term, and moreover, on the function.
    If Tibetan Government is to be a democratic one,as it claims to be, then there is a move to implement as soon as possible, or at least BEFORE the election happens; that is to separate the religious and political field in tibetan affairs.
    Therefore, it should be most useful and important to change the election and make them the election of a PRESIDENT of TGIE and not a Prime minister. After all, it is exactly what His Holiness has said it would be if and when Tibet regain her Freedom, right?
    That President , head of the State, should be responsible (and accountable) for the fight for a future FREE TIBET, and should pursue the aim of Tibetan People, till the goal is obtained.
    That President should be independant and should work with His Holinesss advices, but according to the wishes of Tibetan People, especially (if not exclusivly) the wishe of our brothers and sisters in Tibet, suffering chinese opression.
    That President (we can call him Gyalpo, to follow our tradition, which we should not underestimate, even if it looks backward in present mad world, our tradition adapted to modern world will be wonderful!) shouldn’t be a monk or Rinpoche, as the separation of religious and political fields is essential to implement independant and realistic policy for having a future as a Nation.
    As long as our Country is not free, as long as we have to fight and sacrifice for Independance of our sacred Land (our people is not doing something else in Tibet) we have to rely on a Gyalpo, we have to reclaim our country past dignity of the Great Tibetans Emperors ‘time, and only when our Freedom and Independance is firmly and definitivly build among nations of the world, we can rely on a temporal AND spiritual Leader–if Tibetan People decide so, (like the time of Great Thirteenth) because after all, as GhandhiJi said “To think that religion has nothing to do with politics is to understand nothing to religion””
    Now there is a great question that we cannot escape, with all respect and veneration due to His Holiness; Why is He not implementing that necessary separation which would give real democracy now, with a President of Tibet , since He is stating that it is the political system that He wants for Tibet after?

  44. White Crane #52,

    When you quote so extensively an author, providing references to the original source would be courteous. Apart from the last line, your comment is a copy-paste of “Aesthetics and Marxism: Chinese aesthetic Marxists and their Western contemporaries” by Kang Liu…

    Golok Ambum, Webmaster

  45. On the theme of the urgent need for a more open and secular Tibetan society, I recall some years back having a public exchange with Samdhong, during which I raised with him the sacrifices of countless Tibetans, such as those in Chushi Gangdruk, who had given their lives for Tibet.

    His response to this was to claim that Tibetans had not died for nationhood, or Tibet’s independence, Rather, according to The Kalon Tripa:

    “Their aspiration was to preserve the spiritual heritage”.

    What chance the shoots of secularism, when such thinking prevails within Tibetan hierarchy?

  46. Regarding Jeff comment, it’s unfortunate that Samdhong did not read the Dalai Lama’s letter to Gompo Tashi Andrugtsang, the Commander in Chief of the Resistance, sent in March 1959 from Lhuntse Dzong:

    “You have led the Chushi Gangdrug force with unshakeable determination to resist the Chinese occupation army for the great national cause of defending the freedom of Tibet. I confer on you the rank of ‘Dzasak’ (the highest military rank equivalent to general) in recognition of your services to the country.”

  47. Did someone mention factionalism here?
    It makes me laugh. Tibetans have often heard this advice(not to be factionalistic) from people from various walks of life. It’s a good advice but one without practical support. Hence, not much help.
    Our parliamentary system in itself is factionalistic based on the so called province and sect. Nothing new.
    The following solutions if and when applied will greatly minimize such tendencies.
    1. separation of religion from politics
    2. multi-party system
    3. population/locality based voting system

    Will those who accuse others of factionalism support the above view point? ! Action speaks louder than words!

    A petition asking exile govt for genuine democracy is on the way!

    P.S. In these dark times do not expect any official to be honest and fair. But create benefits(and consequences) where he sees good reasons to be honest and fair!

  48. White Crane,
    I really didn’t understand why you posted that quote. It sounds like a search for a Utopian society which it claims cannot be fulfilled by scientific reasoning or modernist views when onone here claims to hold that position. Isn’t that what you call a strawman logic? What does that have to do with adopting true democracy or separating religion from politics? We are not saying religion is bad, culture is bad, or even that the old tibet was bad (It is what it is and all in all, despite its many misgivings, it sort of worked for our nation for that time). Or rather, I should say I am saying. It simply makes sense to separate the two if you look at world history and political systems. Nobody is saying the idea of democracy is without fault, rather that democracy takes into account the frailty of human nature and puts in safeguards to create a balance, for example, 2 term limits (hint hint). Every other kind of rule eventually falters under its own magnanimity or utopian ideals which are simply unsustainable due to one simple fact: HUMANS. We will find a way to screw it up eventually and in that way we are resourceful – immensely.
    To that end, I support democracy despite its awful arthritic limbs and gragantuan buttocks, as it is the best political system out there to date, and not because it is a modern thing to do.

  49. Dear Gen JN lak,

    I am a big fan of yours, i hold you up in high esteem and i have been reading almost all your write-ups. All your writings are sheer joy to read. And this article by you this time is no different from all your other writings, precise and convincing.

    Every Tibetan, both in and outside Tibet, is in the know that you have a keen interest in our democracy, governance and love for our ‘fatherland’. Your patoriasm is unquestionable. But in this article, as you have written, you ‘,,,, wasn’t on any more solid ground, information-wise, with the semi-official explanation I received this time around at Gangkyi’. I felt highly respected people like you, though it’s appreciable to think and write for our common good, should write on the basis of reliable and confirmed information, rather than ‘ ,,,with no first hand information to back it up ‘. Because your writings are being followed by many nationalists, and some may get convinced by all the things you write (like those who have commented to thanke you for the article), and may form wrong views against our TGIE and create alot more street rumours, on which your this article is based, at least partially.

    As far as i know, Lugar Jam was not fired from the office u mentioned in the article, rather he was offered a two choice option, and he chose to resign. (note: not fired). And the main reason of his disassociation with the office was not the talk he gave at Mcleod Ganj, though it might be part of it. The main reason for Lugar Jam’s disassociation with the said office, i don’t wish to specify here, but isn’t it best to ask Lugar Jam himself. He is very much around Dharamshala, contributing his mite for our common cause with his full intellectual capacity. These days he is doing research at individual level and he is being facilitated by all the institutes and individuals in his work with utmost willingness. Nobody is distancing from him.

    Regarding Samdong Rinpoche not having ‘freedom’ in his excutive role and having to follow the ‘dictates’ of the Dalai Lama. I do disagree. Rinpoche definitely might have said as you have quoted in the article, ‘,,,the Kalon Tripa did not have the freedom to operate in the usual manner (“free style” was how Rimpoche put it) but had to work within a framework where besides the presence of other institutions (and this was repeatedly emphasized throughout the discussion) the Dalai Lama’s wishes were absolutely and unquestionably predominant)’, but this can not be used as a tool to creat an impression that Rinpoche is lamenting for not having ‘freedom’ and ultimate execution power as it is enshrined in the principles of democracy. Actually this argument should have been put to rest when Rinpoch himself said, “,,, it was important for the kalon tripa “to even anticipate the Dalai Lama’s unstated thoughts and direct his efforts to their realization “. Our political set up is democratic, that too embryonic, but this does not necessarily mean that ours should be an exact reflection of western democracy. We came through a unique history and presently our situation is all the more unique, so should be our democarcy.

    Regarding MP Karma Choephel lak’s proposed resolution having rejected. As we all know the Middle Way was proposed by the Dalai Lama and has MAJORITY Tibetans’ support, which was duely reaffirmed during the Specail Meeting last year. So the Middle Way is the Official stand of the Tibetans. Although MP Karma Choephel lak has full democratic right to hold a different view, yet what is the sense to have resolution against the democratically declared official stand. Or are you saying democracy is all the fools on one side?

    Yours sincerely

    With utmost respect


  50. JN,la, as stated in your article,during the early part of our exile history, various senior Tibetan government officials were “nearly all driven out of office” by Gyalo Dondup in his struggle for power and with support of the organizations that he help start, e.g.”Cholsum Chigdril Tsokpa”, etc.

    I heard one of the key personalities that was affected by this hate campaign was the brilliant and shrewed politican, the late Kalon Surkhang. It is sad that not much is known about him in the exile community. He was one of the “brain” behind the March 1959 dramatic escape of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, coordinating the escape closely with Phala and prominent members of the then “Chushi Gangduk”. I believe he was a staunch “rangzen” advocate and was considered as the number one enemy by the Chinese Communist government.

    In early exile, he was against the Tibetan Government investing in industries such as the “iron mill” at that time since we have to rely totally on Indian employees in the major areas, but his advice was not heeded and as a result, so many people including labrangs ended up loosing their money in this bad investment and the factory had to be closed because the Indians were cheating and Tibetans at that time had no knowledge of “running an industry”.

  51. No one has replied to the assasination of Aku Tsultrim.
    Who did it and why? He was shot in broad daylight in Dehradun in the backside of his house… the first and only real successful assasiantion attempt. Gyalo and/or the establishment were probably behind this.Why were they so threatened by him that they had to take this extreme step….? Any answers???

  52. How democratic is our Mangtso. Some dubbed our Mangtso as Pey Ley Chen ghi Mangsto (flattery) and others as Sod sen Chen Ghi mangtso (very self restraint).

    These two words I heard in the recent Chitue meeting.

  53. Again another brilliant article from the maestro. I think you forgot to mention the imprisonment of Dudjom Rinpoche (at Siliguri, if I am not mistaken) allegedly by Gyalo Thondup and his Gelug rightists.

  54. I think it is of paramount importance that we separate Church and State. Our only “salvation” lies in this separation. Without it, we are just building castles in the air.

  55. What can I do to stop this absurd and preposterous practice of 2 votes for a member of clergy. Cant believe this is happening in this day and age. No wonder we are in this situation. Unbelievable!

  56. Isn’t it time to introduce real democracy instead of real theocracy. Theocracy has never worked and never will as is evident all over the world. Why do we Tibetans keep insisting on maintaining status quo, in the name of “loyalty” when in reality isn’t it herd mentality and “organized religious blackmail”? The Dalai Lama should resign from all political activities for the good of Tibet. In the future we should never let religion interfere in the politics of our “country”.
    I am ashamed to be a member of this generation that will be remembered in history for complacency and cowardice.

  57. Gen Jamyang Norbu La,
    You are hereby requested to write an article on following:
    1. democracy
    2. separation of religion from politics
    3. one person one vote system
    4. multi party system
    5. opposition party
    6. lower house and upper house
    7. prime minister and deputy prime minister
    8. or president and vice president
    What obstacles can we expect in trying to achieve genuine democracy and how can we over come them?

  58. thank you so much for this article, JN la! as much as it is disheartening to know about the dirty politics that is going on within the government, it is encouraging to see all these young tibetans now taking part in constructive and open dialogue, something that wouldn’t have been possible had you not written this piece. i know this is redundant and absurd to many, but we need somebody like you and Lhasang la to lead us, kalon tripa 2011 sounds like a futile effort otherwise. which is i know, not going to be happening anytime soon 🙁

    in any case,looking forward to reading more of your insightful posts.

    ps totally irrelevant to this post, but my mom says you used to play guitar and mouth organ together.. to bob dylan perhaps. i wish i were born earlier =(

  59. and many more in your next article. We urgently need to bring about a dramatic change in the “democracy” system we have now and time is now in exile(so in a free Tibet we will have a walking/running democracy!) however long it takes and whatever the price is! I believe deep down HH supports it. There sure must be many hurdles but statelessness can not be made an excuse not to implement it.
    Thank you.

    Long live Independence and Democracy Gen. La!

  60. Even 13 groups problem was mainly politicoreligious forced into being but gyalos machinations but it was hounded as being a regional groupism.These have to be sooner or later addressed…We are living in a cocooned world away from the realities past and present..
    Eventually i hope historians will shed light on what really happened

  61. Thanks for putting out there what goes on inside. Many people know about them but the problem is no one dares to talk about them.Too much reality brushed under carpet to have things going smooth. Questioning must be accepted as part of process of democracy not a challenge. You question Rinpoche in the public once..(eg. education policy, organic policy or his philosophy in general) no one needs to tell you where you stand after that.

    One thing if you can write or talk about is….Do we really need a LAMA to lead us as Prime Minister at all? We the Tibetan people must have faith in and be willing to try and give chance to capable lay men and support them.

    Politics is a dirty game..we have China to deal with and play the rules of the game…a LAMA will be caught between righteousness and reality…and just because he was born a LAMA he will always have that edge against other hard working ordinary people..not fair. Ofcourse the less educated/far (deep) sighted people will blindly believe that the LAMA is always right..and thats a huge peoblem.


  62. Mila Rangzen

    It seem you been so much carried away by the article of JN about the Democracy in Exicle” waiting for democracy”
    Jamyang Norbu writes very effective,detail coherent and one will find well much point to follow. But at same time he is not one who is free of blunders. He has also eronous nature of human mind too.

    1) His little time in Nalanda Cottage brought him all the bitter memories he had while was in Dharamsala: where his writing got the maturation.
    Recent article is intellengsia revenge against loophole of “Excile Tibetan Goverment”
    His reflective thought, speculation and Assumption will tattred the ultimate goal of Tibetan. CCP telling white lie against the Excile Tibetn goverment and His Holiness Dalia Lama. They frequently making baseless allegation and attempting to shatter the hidden unity that bind the Tibetan everywhere into hub of Excile goverment. If one has eyes to make fairest remark over the performance of Excile Govt, It is time now will not be another day.
    Norbu ‘s that kind of writing-overview bring sort of ill notion against the Our Excile Govt, and to some extent it bring the rift over the unity of tibetan.
    Maturatin of Democarcy takes time and it can not be well functioning in a day a few years. While his gloom days in Dhramsala are refection of maturing Democarcy in excile.

    Practically speaking multiparty systerm, other feature of High democratice Form of Goverment is really not apt and feasible,( one should know that excile Govt, is based on so fragile plate-form of Excile) So in such one has to give move.

    2)Aang Sang Sukyi( Burma) remaind most of her life either house arrest or imprisonment for the cause of Democracy in Burma. Junta Military curb every head for democracy. Much struggle is going on to establish Democary in Burma. Many other country in the world pay blood for the country’s democratice form of Goverment. Chinese pro demcarcy are struggling too.
    But Tibetan’ democracy is giftan free-fall and I think greatest gift for the masses from the leadre is “Democracy”
    From every angle and aspect Exicle Democarcy is enough for time being and unity is more needed.
    read and make fair judgement.
    I like JN”S work since high school. but i am not following: am just learning.

  63. Hi Christrope!

    What so special about the europen separate state from the religion?
    What is wrong with Tibetan system of relegion and politic governing? one advantage of Tibet is that 99% of Tibetan are Buddhist and Budhism is the common roof even when Tibet rule by various small kingdom.
    What is the hidden thing that hold the invisible and invincible link between tibetan in Tibet and tibetan in other country?
    Every attempt made by china to root the tibetan’s culture is infallibly failing; Why religious faith that travel through the evry pathless route and hold the tibetan every where under one unit of belief.
    tibetan unique Form of goverment is something to learn by other if feasible and it is just bla, bla to air voice of antigonism.

  64. CHristrope

    I read the Karma G Samtan and his writing seem to be inherited from the same same old frustrated voice of Anti Tibetan elements who were either political failure (Dharamsala) or running dog of china.

    There are section of Tibetan who had fail miserably in the contest of excile Dharamsala and seek protection in the negative side of Excile goverment to vent their conflicted thought and faulty notion.

    In the case of that meeting regard with Tulku recognition, It is highly scare issue and lay man’s partispation is gona be symbolic.

    Tibetan assembly is the fully function legal unit of Democratice govt, and I work close to excile goverment and never had witnessed any kind of religious force there.

    One thing that you have to know is that tibetan Excile govt, is now fully democratice govt, with strong faith in religious matter, which immensely keep the tibetan in single roof since 1959.

  65. TY senge ,
    You might work close to the TGIE but you know very little about its shady past it seems…
    Accepted everyone errs its only human -only we need to learn from our mistakes.
    The problem with gyalos shady dealings, 13 groups problem, ostracisation of C-Gangdrug, religio politis, hounding of intellectuals and aristocrats most of whom contributed tremendously to society, corruption cases being swept away under carpet ..the list is long. Are we supposed to have collective amnesia in the name of Unity?

  66. Personally, I would want religion and politics to be separate. There are many people who become irrational when it comes to religion.
    We should not forget that Tibetans are not all Buddhists. Majority are but not all. Before most of our forefathers converted to Buddhism we had the Bon faith. Now there are Christian and Muslim Tibetans as well as agnostics and atheist. we all love our nation but not all of us are Buddhist.
    India is a great example. Though majority are Hindus and Muslim the country is run by a secular governemnt.

    I agree with Jigme up to a point. I don’t agree in perfuming the deeds of the Tibetan aristocrats. They got a lot more out of the system than they put into it. Some individual aristocrats were and are good but my understanding is intellectual like Gedun Choephel was persecuted by aristocrats and their cronies.

  67. Rinzin:
    I feel the same way, why did they? The most likely answer as to why they persecuted him is: Most despots or unelected rulers don’t like to have intelligent subjects who might question their motives, their actions.

  68. TY Senge #72,
    I agree with you that no one is free from blunders including those who vowed to lead a life of spiritual illumination!
    I do not agree with every aspect of his views but nonetheless he is at this stage a rare gem in exile-a political guru for our youth and it is no exaggeration if i say he is perhaps the only consistent watchdog! Pen warrior for 37 long years!
    A one-man opposition party watching and pointing where our theocratic govt is erring.
    Religion must go separate ways from politics. Never should the two meet.
    Yes, if you want you can lead a life of dialectics in Sera or go to cave in Tso Pema for life long meditation. But please don’t bring here this ‘tsenyi” without having studied how a democratic govt works in the world. Monastic philosophy is not applicable to every aspect of life esp political world because there are very many different concepts one needs to be familiar with. To quote HH “Union of Religion and Politics govt is outdated. Although democratic govt is not perfect but nevertheless it is the best form govt in the world. We must move on harmoniously with the majority”

  69. Dawa
    You are right.Your arguments are moot and prgmatic as always.
    I meant the aristocrats who bore the brunt of gyalos intrigues not the system itself which is totally flawed or was flawed. In this respect i,m referring to ordinary kudrags in exile who were targetted by him in exile just for having been kudrags.I would be the last to support an aristocratic system but i am touching on a aspect of gyalos thought process.

  70. As we know that these days people are very much concern about the election of next PM of Exile government, there are many people demanding Santong Rinpoche has to be elected as the next PM of Exile. I think this is a big issue we have to think about, according to our Exile Chatter, the duration of our PM can not be exceeded to two terms. If we want to elect him again the PM, then we have to amend one new Article that can competent the Santong Rinpoche be exercise on the post of that position again. But I do not know that whether people are thinking about the long term benefit of our Chatter competence either way that in short and long run. I personally think that it is not necessary to do so, because we all respect and believe our spiritual and political leader, His Holiness Dalai Lama. We all always put him on the highest position in our lives, but the more important thing is to listen and follow his instructions and guidance than attending his teaching and putting him on the top position. The next PM election is a very imperative and vital thing to the fate of our future Tibet issue, it is directly going to be related to our various dimensions and empirical policies of our future Tibet.

    His Holiness also very much concern about this issue, for the better understanding by our Tibetans, he has mentioned many times that our next PM is best if it could be a young and well educated women or at least be a young and sound intellectual man. He used to make joke by saying that it is sad if people again elect a monk like me to be the next PM of Exile, this is not merely a joke, and it is containing a vast ideology and new vision that it has to be analyzed. Santong Rinpoche on a press conference said that it could be worse if amend the Chatter merely because of one single man. All these are indicating some thing that we have to think about. It is not saying that once we elected another person as the next PM of Exile, the His Holiness and Sangtong Rinpoche will never be involved in Tibet issue, they will be there always as the chief guidance of us, and it would be the best opportunity to train a strong and experienced new generation to be the future leaders of our Tibet Government under the guidance of them. There is a good example to us is the current problem of BJP Party in India, they are facing tremendous problem for not having a young trained leader in it’s Party, and it make them to blame the old leadership quality of this Part. Do we also want to face this sort of problem and blaming in future??

    Chinese Government always saying that the Exile Government of Tibet is a private Government of both the His Holiness and Sangtong Rinpoche, they think that all the Tibetan people and its Government’s existence is only depending only on the life time of these two men, if we again elect Santong Rinpoche as the next PM of Exile and put all pressure on these two men, then it is the best evidence to approve their political perception, thus we have to think about it, I do not think that no one wants to support this stupid perception that Chinese Government is keeping.

    One another chief matter we have to think about it is that the people inside Tibet are always keeping eyes on us, they are hoping that their ideal strong and educated new generations can continue the issue until the day our issue comes to a positive end. If we again elect Sangtong Rinpoche as the next PM of Exile, then it could make them disappointed and lose their hope at all. Therefore, for these simple reasons, we have to think about it, make sure that we can well utilize the democracy privilege that to turn our Exile government into a stronger democracy in nature also.

    Lobsang Dakpa

  71. Dear friends,

    I think you all must be aware of the distasteful events in the second session of the current 14th Tibetan Parliamentary meeting where the session had to be cancelled owing to insufficient members in attendance. When I came across the reasons behind this, I was shocked and surprised as it was really insignificant.

    The Standing Committee had taken the decision to reimburse the travel expenses of Dotoe member Sonam Topgyal, who had immigrated to Australia under the Australian Government’s rehabilitation program for former political prisoners. However, many members of Parliament did not wholly agree with this decision of the Standing Committee. Being a democratic and parliamentary State, we have full right to exercise certain Fundamental Rights, such as the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression. Moreover, being members of parliament, they have the right to give any objection within the frame of Tibetan Charter. Thus, Ms Dolma Tsomo, MP of Domey has the right to file a complaint to any section or department or any other member of the parliament. Drawing from this right, even other members either individually or collectively have the same right to argue either in support of or in opposition to the decision of the Standing Committee. This is the basic nature of the democratic parliamentary government. However, a very disappointing and irrational event has occurred where several members walked out of the meeting with a boosted anger. The Parliamentary session could not be continued although the Chairman tried several times to continue and conduct the session on schedule. (According to the Article 49(1) of Tibetan Charter, the Parliament must have a minimum of 2/3 members in session at any given time.)

    This issue has been creating lot of debates due to the media publicity. One viewpoint says that it is a burst of a cold war among the members of the Parliament. Where one set of people are arguing in favor of the members who walked out by saying that the act of Ms Dolma Tsomo was both morally and legally incorrect, others are standing by her and saying she actually exercised an obligation to the ideals of transparency and accountability. Irrespective of all this, we need to understand that although these events apparently seem to harm the Tibetan harmony, we should not let this to happen as these incidents were purely politically motivated reactions and should not be confused with the commendable qualities of Tibetan policies and practices. It would be very good that if this cancellation was because of the reason in the different policies and ideologies, but it is caused by such a small and individual matter that is far more away from the things which were supposed to be cleared in that session. I can not understand that why those few members could not think that once they got walk out, then the session would not be proceeding at all, I am wondering that why our people elected them as the members of Parliament, they are supposed to be the most rational and talented men among our society. But this event is showing their real quality and colors.

    I doubt that if they really know the status and scenario of the current Tibet, They thought that the signature collection by Ms Dolma Tsomo was an immoral act and it was burning some sort of defamation to the particular standing committee. What was the wrong with it??? She did the thing that all of them actually ought to do, she wanted make it a perpetual transparency in the parliament rules, isn’t it an immoral act?? No, it is not at all. I think her act could bring a clear cut of the interpretations of that particular provision in our Charter if it would have been done through a tough debate among them in the session. I do not know why they took it in a very serious way that actually it was not a matter could make them to walk out the meeting and caused it in such an embarrassment way.

    As we all know that our spiritual and political leader His Holiness The Dalai Lama sacrificing whole of his life to this so called Snow Land and its people, he goes each and every corner of the world to give awareness and information to the world people, from the early 4 am to the night 11 pm, he is working for Tibet and it’s people only. But, is this the way that the so called our leaders to return him in???? I am thinking that how he would feel when he comes to know it, I think he would be very sad to hear it, and feel more hopeless if he comes to know the reason was such a silly in. Moreover, what the Tibetans inside the Tibet feel of it and how well they think about it. Don’t they feel that it is not worth for giving the blood and lives for our nation??? I think they will be shocked by it badly. Nevertheless, from the Chinese perspective, it is a good thing that can glorify the perceptions that they are holding up. They would be very happy to see it and could have a jubilee feeling to comfort them in such an unexpected way. They love to see these sorts of problems are happening among the Tibetan society. They would like to see how the Tibet is going to commit suicide in its internal disputes.

  72. Jigmy!

    Tibetan Excile Govt, the form of goverment is the Democratice which you had never struggle, your dad had never struggle, my dad had never struggle but it is the gift of our leader HH 14the Dalia Lama for the people of Tibetan.
    Still if you are confused,go to Tibetan school and you will learn that!

  73. Mila Rangzen

    This is not the matter of dialect or meditation, but the people with faulty notion should enlighted with the torch the reality.

    Do You know democracry is full of rule and cheating! never ever think that democracy will bring you best out of human.
    You just watch the china, it is not democratic but leading the world economy! 22 million of students are graduating every year.
    It is consider as potential rival of USA.
    It shares border with 14 countries but still nothing is obstruct for their development. why because their govt, receives negative reinforcement of military and force (PLA)
    If tibet is lead by and framed with both religion and politic. it would grow better than china. why religion is postive reinforcement for human mind, that would bring better and more firm result. that would bring a changes which will never earned humilation and berates.
    See India,democratice world is failing because of absolute quest for democracy. your view is edged in that kind of world.
    My son, democratice is not enlighted form of GOVT, but for the people to seek idealism.

  74. Someone from Kathmandu using the alias Divya commented on this article in Phayul.com. I am reproducing the two-part comment here and also my reply because many Tibetans hold the seriously mistaken notion that everything was wonderful in Nepal under the monarchy and that democracy was to blame for Nepal’s current chaos.

    First comment posted by Divya:
    Hi! Jamyang Norbu. You are a good writer. Your piece and articles are very interesting to read but I beg to disagree with the content there in. After coming round, your ultimate message is against His Holiness and Gyalo Dhondup La. They have done tremendous job for the survival of our identity. Today we are proud Tibetans. It is all because of His Holiness effort and his clear vision. His clear judgment, ability to see through and distinguish right from wrong! It is unfortunate that an informed mind and hand of a person like you is used not for uniting but dividing our people.

    His Holiness is the binding force of Tibetan in and outside. We need someone who we can believe and trust with eyes shut. It is His Holiness! Your article is very discouraging. Your article is meant to appease and pacify Chinese because we Tibetans (Bhomi) are not pleased with it. Are you getting money from Chinese? To be patriotic is good. We all Tibetans are patriotic by heart. Your statement and message will bolster their (Chinese) willpower and tighten their grip on Tibet. They are happy to see us divided, not united. So, you are (knowingly or unknowingly) helping in their drive to maintain grip on Tibet. His Holiness is above Human Being. If it is someone else in his place, he would have long gave up. The reason Samdong Rinpoche was resigning was because of the disgruntled individuals like you and people you have been able to influence. Your intention is meant to discourage the dedicated and hardworking people.

    You cited the abolition of Panchayati raj and formation of multiparty democracy in Nepal. Look what the democracy and politicians have done to Nepal? Nepal used to be heaven before. But now students and youth are equipped with stone, bricks and banners instead of books and copies in hand. Nepal is infested with vested interest people. The cause and effect of the development will only be weighed and assess after decades but by that time it would be too late. Democracy is more of a platform for politicians (mookbahadur, like you) than for ordinary people. Nepal today lacks political direction and vision. Those who are capable they have vested interest in maintaining or promoting something or personal gains. Nations comes last in their least of priority.

    We are not against exercising of Democracy. Democracy is good in matured society and to some extent only in developing society. And aren’t you exercising democracy? What more you can do by exercising democracy? Giving a free reign to people could have negative impact. See for child. What will happen to his future if he is left unattended or unleashed? Won’t he get spoilt? So, please experiment democracy with your children or grandchildren before you implement the same on us.

    We are proud to have a unique leader who commands highest respect in the world community. He is our pride and uniting force. He is undisputed authorized guardian of our nation. What you are doing in exile is dividing our people? Writing a piece sometimes and enjoying Ari Dollar. If you really are patriot why don’t you go to Tibet or live in India or Nepal. Beside writing and talking what have you done recently to deserve our attention on you? Tibetans in Tibet look up to us. They want exile Tibetans united and be their voice and defend them when necessary. Will they be happy if they see us hurl allegation at each another? You are fulfilling the interest of Gyami, Shugden Tsogpa and others with vested interest.

    I normally don’t comment on any articles. I read your article hundred times and tried to post the comment many times. So, don’t live in the illusion that you have lot of readers. I had to open your articles many times because I could not post the comment successfully.

    So, good luck. Next time please spare us! Do some jobs other than writing if it is not going to help the mass.

    Second comment posted by Divya:
    When I read the comments posted by many. I feel that your intention behind floating your idea about Democracy is to give platform to vested interest people to speak against those who are mentally and physically hardworking and dedicated towards Tibetan cause. Your grudge is that you will never get elected to any distinguished post such as Katri and member of Chithue nor hold influential other positions in our community. Anyways, it would be dangerous to give reign to your hand. If you really want to bring change in our society, there is other way than just writing negative thoughts. I am a common woman pouring my views. I am not affiliated to any groups or organization. I don’t want our new generation Tibetans gets brain washed from your article.


    Dear Divya,
    Thank you for contributing to this important discussion. You wrote that Nepal was “like heaven” in the old days under the king and the “panchayat raj”. In the Kathmandu valley, officials, courtiers, ranas, politicians, and business people were certainly having a good time, but everywhere else in Nepal the poor were suffering terribly under an outrageously corrupt and ineffective regime. The poverty, negligence and exploitation of the poor villagers of Nepal gave the opportunity for the Maoists to gain power in the rural areas. Do you think if Nepal was like heaven the peasants would have joined the Maoists?

    I feel that democracy came too late to Nepal and the situation was worsened by the fact that last king, Gyanendra, probably the most corrupt and incompetent monarch in the history of Nepal, tried to stifle and turn back even that feeble beginning of Nepalese democracy. Nonetheless, I have not given up hope for a prosperous and democratic Nepal sometime in the future.

    Even the best medicine in the world must be administered to a patient early enough so that it is effective. You cannot blame the medicine if it doesn’t work because you waited till the patient was at death’s door before you reluctantly gave him a dose.

    Let us not wait too long to democratize our exile government and society.

    Jamyang Norbu

  76. TY Senge,
    1.Separation of religion from politics at the parliamentary/govt level will hugely reduce the destructive sectarian tendencies/persecution that has been witnessed in Tibet since 7th century. Those who vowed to lead a life of spiritual illumination need not worry about things mundane.You will worry about attaining enlightenment for yourself first so later on you can spiritually help all the 6 kinds of sentient beings toward buddhahood.
    2.Multi-party system will have people from all regions/provinces therefore the destructive regional tendencies will be greatly reduced.There can be disagreement or even some clashes on current issues and policies but it cannot spread like wildfire.
    3.Population/locality based voting system will minimize those two tendencies that has been largely responsible for all the internal fights that ultimately led to the death of our nation.
    Go to http://www.kalontripa.org and watch what HH says on “Union of religion and politics” govt and hopefully you will learn a few things more from your tsaway lama-the head of buddhism in the whole world.Please reserve “my son” attitude to your son.
    Talking to you is like explaining what a tree is like to a nomad who has seen only pastures, lakes and sky his entire life. Getting tired of arguing with you.

  77. Senge,Democracy is for matured society? What the hell does it mean anyway? Who decides how matured a society is? Could it be possible that a society needs to pass through the gaunlet of early democracy, make our mistakes, and then slowly proceed forward, kind of like all the democracies in the world today? Do you want to talk about early democracies in US and India? How about the fledging ‘democracy’ in Russia right now? Whatever you might pretend or hide behind H.H’s maroon robes, you cannot hide the fact that as long as tibetan people are caccooned and things are thought out for them and their decisions made for them, we will NEVER mature and thus your arguments are simply retarded and shows no grasp of reality and logic. Please quit blaming Jamyang Norbu or anybody else for ‘corrupting’ young people’s mind, young people these days are much more educated than you are and can actually think for themselves.

  78. The question of separating monastic institutions and politics is undoubtedly extremely urgent. If not settled within a few years, it would be too late and the countdown for our demise as nation will begin. The Chinese are manipulating Buddhist monks and Lamas, confident they have us by our scrotums knowledgeable of the fact that without our monks and monastic institutions, the glue that binds us if diluted will part us. It is time to form a true CONSTITUTIONAL THEOCRACY, where the government will be headed by representatives of Ganden Photang, while leaving the governing to duly elected representatives from among the people or parties as the case may be. It is time that the people stop playing partisan politics and think of Tibet as a whole and work together earnestly to shape our survival strategy. It is time that all Tibetans realize that, democracy or not the institution of Dalai Lamas must never diminish but urgently take on a new role in the interest of its people, strengthening and creating a stronger and mightier Tibetan nation from the ashes of pre 1959 era. This mandate must be granted to the people by a proclamation from HHDL directly and not through writs with ambiguous jargons and clichés , so both Tibetans and our enemies, the Chinese know, that the era of the “golden urn” will no longer bind the 6 million Tibetans in chains.

  79. Dear Jamyang Norbu,

    This bit of revelation:

    “Even the best medicine in the world must be administered to a patient early enough so that it is effective. You cannot blame the medicine if it doesn’t work because you waited till the patient was at death’s door before you reluctantly gave him a dose.”

    is your wife’s wisdom? You lucky, dude.

  80. TY Senge what world are you living in?
    I cant answer you because your rantings are incomprehensible. Anyway at least everyone has the chance to express their opinions!!
    By the way I saw JN with a guitar slung around his shoulders in Dhasa. Are you embarking on a musical career?

  81. About the nepal democratic issue I agree with JN. The monarchy was corrupt and the present government is too.Theres a slight change however. In spite of the apparent lawlessness and joblessness, large sections of ordinary nepalese are asserting their rights.I know for a fact that many nepalese carpet weavers were sometimes chained to their looms so that they would not escape and thereby forfeit on paying their loans. This was strangely done by nepalese carpet industrialists .They were totally ruthless. When the king rode through new road in his limousine the people lined the streets and clapped. Most of them were barefeet, malnourished many without jobs..Is it mauch better today. It depends on who you ask. Definitely the state of instability is the main disadnvantage

  82. Tenpa Dhargyal!

    Society is not matured if they fail to go right and duties together. in the democratice form of Govt, people in the society should be resposible and mature enough to regulate entire systerm.
    But case of tibetan you see voting partispation ratio is terrrible,( watch the panel disussion of Penpa tsering And S Rinpoche) and masses hardly read the daily few Tibetan new papers.
    right! this things made me to say our society is not mature na grwing!

  83. Mila Rangzen!

    It seem you need to watch through the third eyes, so that you can read the message between the lines,
    Benefit of administration of the co-operative ruling( religious and politic)is something in inferential form! well thanks

  84. Lobsang Dakpa.

    Chitue: Dolma Tsering’s act in the assembly reflects the real functioning- Democracy. “walk out,assertively arguing, are the absolute form of functioning democracy. when individual’s persusion met with bias and dishonest. that is the standard way to claim truth.

    Same thing happened when (Sonam Topgyal) made baseless allegation against the S Rinpoche about the (US fund) S Rinpoche walk out and finally truth had win. It was happen some years back.

    Dolma Tsering refects another message that tibetan women’s virtue over the making discesion.
    It all right so long as it on the right plate form.
    If Chitue remaind silience that is more irksome!

  85. Referring to Divya’s post, it saddens me to think how many more ‘Divya’s” exist in the Tibetan community. It is people like this that hinders our progress, people with their “eyes wide shut” and mind so narrow that even a needle would find hard to pass through.

  86. Senge, maybe the participation is bad because there is really no point in voting when the results are already decided,the course already laid, and the script already written. All we need is a troupe of actors to act their part and that is our great democracy. Ok, not that bad but you get the point.

  87. by the way Gyanendra was a smuuggler before in his pre-king days and his son paras was a goon no.1 who killed a famous singer -whom he ran over with his car. He then coerced his driver to take the rap for it. The driver ended up in jail of course. Paras (crown prince at that time) when visiting nightclubs used to carry a gun and wasn,t shy of whipping it out at the hint of disagreement..thats how great this monarchy was

  88. the king was reputed to be one of the richest men in asia with secret bank accounts in Switzerland etc..yet the country was one of the poorest 1005th i think . He never bothered to visit people or set up programs to alleviate their poverty yet would slaughter hundreds of buffalos during Dasain to feed his fat army while many ordinary people resorted to stealing a chicken or goat to have something to put on the table…yes those were great times.

  89. @ Dawa,
    you said Fox news has no credibility with mainstream America. On the contrary, sadly, Fox news is pretty much how mainstream middle America thinks. While many including myself think Fox news is a crock of poop, I am aware of its popularity.

    @White Crane,
    anyone who uses the phrase “scientific reasoning” in an attempt to discredit Reason (or rationality) is not to be trusted. Neither scientists nor those who believe in human reason think that science or reason will transcend natural existence. Had you paid attention to the full sweep of Reason, from the enlightenment on up to now, the gist of the matter is that all of existence is natural, and there is no transcendence…no ideal imaginary realms, no ghosts, no demons, no gods, no shepherds ingesting mushrooms in arid areas and starting religious wars over their visions, and so forth. I find the idea that we can learn to understand the world in which we live to be vastly superior to any of the ideas that have lately tried to challenge it.

    @Ty Senge,
    Religious States tend to make their societies stagnant and oppressive. Look at Europe during 1500 years of Christian religious dominance over institutions. Look at certain Islamist states now. For a Buddhist example that is not Tibet-in-Exile, look at Burma (although the Burmese state does tend to have to arrest and torture its own monks every now and then). Your argument that Tibet shouldn’t have a secular government because 99% of Tibetans are Buddhists bears no weight. Religious authority is hierarchical and inimical to democracy and rule of law. This is why if you want the most open society and free political culture, you would separate the State from Religion. Could you trust a Buddhist state to not eventually curtail the rights of other religious groups or even of atheists or agnostics?

    But the main point is that a secular state for Tibet does in no way curtail the freedom for Buddhists to keep doing as they have done, or to even develop the religion further. It just means Buddhists can’t tell everyone else what to do by using the weight of the law and/or military.

    Your claim of the “uniqueness” of Tibetan Buddhist government is not supported by your assertions. You haven’t explained (nor, i suspect, could you explain) how religion&politics would make Tibet more prosperous than China. (Sorry, you did say something about firming the mind, but education can do this quite nicely, and far more effectively than religion- with it’s “timeless wisdoms” and such things to be taken on faith.)

    All That Said….

    I hope Tibetans are able to develop democracy in truth, and not just on paper. I don’t hold out much hope that religious leaders will “grant” democracy, nor do I think religious authority has any business in government whatsoever. But that’s just my opinion.

  90. I am grateful for Jamyang Norbu for standing up for Mangtso. Our Tibetan Government-in-exile is not democratic but that of a theocracy and hence it is irrevocably damaging our nation’s future.
    Last year we sent a letter to the Kashag and Dalai Lama and the Tibetan offices around the world, demanding them to abide by the democratic principle and to provide us the rights to our fundamental rights to belief and religion before the September 2nd 2008. THIS LETTER WAS SENT TO PHAYUL.COM BUT IS WAS REPEATEDLY DECLINED.
    Here is the copy of the letter we sent:

    Venerable Prime Minister: Samdong Rinpoche
    The Kashag
    Tibetan Government in exile
    Gangkyi district Kangra
    Dharmasala, HP, India
    April 25, 2008

    Your Excellency,
    We are extremely saddened and horrified by the official segregation and ostracism that are taking place in Tibetan communities in India. It is appalling that religious persecution, segregation and ostracism is officially enforced under the Representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Buddha of Compassion, the Nobel Peace Laureate, the believer in democratic principles, the symbol of peace and non-violence in the international stage.

    The Shugden society, USA has maintained a very low profile till now hoping that His holiness and our government in exile would realize the negative socio-political consequences of banning of Shugden practice and that this issue would quiet down without us having to actively embarrass the Tibetan Government in exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We, as Tibetans have been enduring the discreet ostracism since 1996 because we did not want to tarnish the image of Holiness the Dalai Lama especially in the western world. More importantly we did not want our enemy the Chinese government to have one more allegation to add to the list against Holiness.

    Following the speeches of Holiness and your official statements in Mundgod, (also seen in the March 10th statement of the Kashag, the Cabinet, on the Shugden issue), a systematic “SEGREGATION” began to take place under the abbots (appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama), and Representatives of His Holiness in the Tibetan settlements.
    This process is no different from the very practices of the Chinese Communist Government in its indoctrination of its people and the people of occupied Tibet.

    The Tibetan public too scared of being labelled as “Shugden practitioners” or “Shugden sympathizers”, followed the required procedures out of fear. Each lay member of the Tibetan community in Bylakuppe is made to stand before the public and His Holiness’ picture, repeat the officially written oath pledging to cut all ties in life with the Shugden practitioners. The oath taking procedure ended with the offering of a white scarf (khata) to the picture of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

    It is reported that this oath taking is and was enforced also in Tibetan schools and that the staff of the school asked the students not to mix with the children who are related to Shugden practitioners. These children face social ostracism in the school set up.

    In conclusion, we believe that this path is a serious mistake. We assert:
    1. As Tibetans we are entitled to the fundamental rights of freedom to speech, beliefs, and the rights to live peacefully as provided in the Constitution of Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
    2. In order to use our rights, we are demanding from His Holiness and the Tibetan Government in exile :
    a)Immediately lift the ban on Shugden practice and the religious persecution of its practitioners.
    b)Stop the systematic process of segregation in the Tibetan communities in exile that has led to the social, psychological and physical torture of, not only the adult practitioners but also children in the Tibetan schools.

    September 2nd, 2008, is the Tibetan democracy day, we want answer by then. If you do not respond to us by then, we will assume that you are going to continue with the segregating and religious persecution. We have no other choice but to stand up for our right and fight against the abuse.

    Thus far the Shugden Society USA has not organised protest demonstration against His Holiness and our Government in exile. We did not join Western Shugden Society in protest because as Tibetan we do not want to divert media attention from the Tibetan independence movement and Human rights issue in Tibet. After September 2nd, 2008, we are going to systematically organize campaigns against this abuse

    Shugden Society, USA

  91. Dear Ty senge
    Yes…. I agree that “walk out assertively arguing” is also an absolute form of functioning of democracy. But we have to know what is the right time and right matter that the “walk out” action can be performed, I think it was big different from the case with Rinpoche before…. democracy should enjoy rational and within the limitation. I do not think their act was a correct solution for that, there was better way they would have to choose actually… but they did not do that…..

  92. Waiting for Mangtso,

    I’m not a gelugpa but i firmly believe in the freedom to worship. I do think there is a difference in the discrimination by the commies and one from Dharamsala however we should be able to take the moral high ground . That is why I do not agree with HH’s rather blunt approach. This could be discussed for ages but the bottom line is a secular state if thats what we propose to be can not afford to be seen to be so orthodox in its approach to religion….My personal likes and dislikes aside.

  93. Jam yang nor bu la,

    I am so interesting to read your article , your opinion , your thoughts ….they reflected your knowledge about Tibetan history and culture and political confliction …when I read your work , I feel that I cannot find a way how to improve our weakness, so we never achieve our goal. Here I find little view about your weakness:

    First, your title Waiting For MangTso, word of Mangtso , I remembered once Amnye Machen published newspaper MangTso(Democracy) , that time , debate about the word of MangTso( your original Dmang gtso) , as Samdong Rimpoche was criticizing to use this word, now a day, we use Samdong Rimpoche ´s word (Mang gTso), so I think you now use ( MangTso). That show you and Amnye Machen accepted Samdong Rimpoche ´s views, if not. that means you don’t have really knowledge of Tibetan language , also once Lhasang Tsering told again Rimpoche, he don’t understand word of Mang gTso , as well as you also don’t understand Mang gTso.
    Why I say this way. Reason is ( dMang gTso) translated from Chinese word ( MingZhu) not from ( Democracy) , but Samdong Rimpoch had well knowledge both Tibetan and English, so his view was valuable .

    As well as Dawa norbu who cannot speak Tibetan. Pemabum´ literature (anti-religion) learnt from Chinese government…if you read his book then you knew those poets, who educated under Chinese government ….. So you must study Tibetan language as well as Mang gTso.

    Here I have little request you, when you are criticizing anyone; first you have a knowledge about it, otherwise, as saying: little knowledge is dangerous.

    Remind you again, one Chinese writer Wangli xun , he wrote about Tibetan issue, his article , though criticized Chinese government , in really , he show a way to Chinese government how to control Tibetan people by mentally and physically.

    Anyway, those people who criticized Dalai lama, they don’t have basically education of Tibetan language , culture and religion. So they only to blame His Holiness. If you really know reality of view of His Holiness. He is only one source of Tibetan culture and religion, he is reformer of Tibetan Buddhism, his only show a way of modern Tibet.
    When I say this, Jamyang laugh at me, because there is a confliction between Rangzen and Middle Way.

    Of course , we want Rangzen , first only your Rangzen Charter is not enough, only your historical evidence is not enough, we must act , as you said non-violence is no action, where is your action? when you looked back Rangzen-fighter in exile. No one who willing to fight for Rangzen, no one who sacrifice his blood for Rangzen, 50yr in exile , only one person who died for Rangzen that was Pawo Thupten Ngodup , TYC they easily accused His Holiness Middle way, because they dont wish go back to Tibet ….as 2007 big gathering in Delhi, they stopped it due to His Holiness, in reality , TYC disappointed many people , after that gathering TYC collected a huge amount of money from donation, then they used that money to buy a big building in Dasa, that is your follower Rangzen –fighter.

    Jamyang, I am interesting to write your article , because from your article , I learnt you those who only used English to write about Tibetan issue, as same as those foreigner writers, who don’t really have knowledge about Tibetan language , culture and religion , but they could write a article about Tibet . as you told that you are Half Tibetan, Half English….how can a Half Tibetan criticizes a perfected Tibetan ( His Holiness).?

  94. Tsering:

    It seems evident that you have the least idea of whom, and what Jamyang Norbu represents in our long struggle for independence from China. Based on a few half truths, he doe not know how to read and write Tibetan, does not make him any less patriotic or any less Tibetan than yourself or I. Neither is it correct to lump him among foreigner writers on Tibetan subjects. Jamyang was born from pure Tibetan parentage, and they were influential people and had first hand knowledge of the inner workings of the Tibetan government pre 1959 Tibet much more so than many Tibetans to day.

    Jamyang is also of an age when the exiled government was in its adolescence and has worked closely with various departments and he should know the strengths and weaknesses that afflict it. Therefore, such trivial observations as not knowing how to read or write Tibetan, does not automatically cancel out his vast knowledge of Tibetan history and inner workings of our government, both in Tibet and outside, nor silence his loud voice for our cause.

    The most hurtful tool, people opposed to true Tibetan democracy use is that HHDL is God and that people like Jamyang Norbu, Dawa Norbu and their lot have and is blaspheming against him by commenting of some of his decisions is entirely infantile. It is not wrong for children to grow up and question the decisions parents have taken to improve on them nor does it mean that the children love their parents any less. It is well known fact that strong bonds in a family are built on how well the family communicates with each other, and make sound decisions based on facts, strengths and weaknesses of each individual member.

    So, please grow up and look around you, there is more to the real world than just knowing how to read and write Tibetan. It is also a fact that not much material is available on the History of Tibet in Tibetan compared to Buddhist commentaries and the practice of dogma. The earliest lucid true Tibetan historical writings come from the words of Gendu Choephel, therefore the claims that Tibetan history is rooted in the Tibetan written word is in itself a falsehood.

  95. Tsering,
    smangtso or tmangtso or mangtso mean the same thing “many, majority” if you trace its root. Why much ado about nothing?
    Mentality like yours in our community ambushing/strangling any independent Tibetan thinker in the name of HH is, to say the least, sickening. The days of RALUG mentality is over!
    Constructive criticism with some solution in hand is the way to go in democracy.
    Lhadon who can not speak Tibetan has done more for our cause than you and I but that is not to say preserving our language is not important. Just don’t get into linear thinking! Your stuff not worth responding. Sorry!

  96. Gyalpot,

    Thank so much tell me about jamyang’s background, personally I am fond
    of his English writing skill and hard working, especially his way of
    self study.

    Namke norbu,Dawa norbu and jamyang norbu were considered as three
    Norbu in exile.

    When we asked our self, among them, who is more effective scholar in
    Tibet (outside or inside).
    Naturally is only Namke Norbu,his Tibetan historical researching could
    be read by Tibetan, because his work was written in Tibetan language.
    Other two writers are Tibetan who wrote in English. Only those who
    know English can read their work.
    Though jamyangs few works translated into Tibetan language, recently some his works translated into Chinese appeared on Woeser’s blog. Most of Tibetans inside cannot read his
    work, due to Language, also most of them, don’t know Jamyang nor bu.

    According to Tibetan literature, though jamyang’s book won prize, also
    translated other language but not Tibetan. If it will be translated
    into Tibetan after his death, it cannot be considered to contribute
    Tibetan writing, just like other English novel translated into
    Tibetan. I hope you understanding how important those Tibetan writers
    who read and written in Tibetan.

    To compare Chinese exile writers, they only used Chinese language
    instead of other and won Nobel literature prize, why we cannot use
    Tibetan Language instead of English to win Nobel Literature Prize in
    our exile?

    For instance, like me, neither name nor fame, if I make mistake, no make different.
    If he makes mistake that is real big wrong trace. As he is a well known writer.
    Who want to enlighten those Tibetans who considered God- like (HHDL) .
    How through his English article to educate those people who don’t understand English ( that means those Tibetans inside Tibet)?

    Actually, His Holiness himself already tried to enlighten his followers
    Tibetan, he always tells us: i am simple Tibetan Monk.

    I never consider His Holiness is God; he is a perfected, pure and
    real Tibetan.

    Last not lest, this one example, when I criticize Jamyang so easily,
    but I do those stuff so hard, as well as Jamyang and My Tibetan
    brothers and sisters, instead of criticizing to someone, better take
    action by self to struggle for Tibetan issue.

  97. Everyone,
    It is good to read JN’s blogs and the response by Tibetans and friends of Tibet. The fact that all of us read and comment on JN”s blog is a testament to our commitment to the cause.
    Keep on reading and keep on writing!
    I know Fox news following is large in this country. It’s easier to watch dumbed down version of things. Many people prefer to watch the antics on FOx (cheap entertainment) than the dronings (boring facts) on CSPAN. But I still disagree with you about mainstream Amerca leaning that far right. If FOx has that large a following Obama would not have won the election.

    But I am not wide eyed about Obama either. When all is said and done he is a political animal. We will find out about him from how he treats Tibet. I hope he doesn’t sell us out like CLinton did. But most of all I hope our government in exile doesn’t beat him to selling Tibet.

    I regret my written Tibetan is not great but that doesn’t mean I feel less Tibetan than others. And I respect people’s desire for preserving culture and religion and language etc. As far as I am concerned I just want my country back. I want the freedom to chose my own leaders, the right to go in and out of my country, and the right for our men to roll their sleeves and pee in their own goddamn yards.

  98. The Tibetan Diaspora will be electing a new kalon and JN feels a “rangzen” candidate stands no chance despite the Tibetan people voicing for a change in the government policy. So his reaction is to write about the exile politics and it sure comes under a heavy fire which JN being a seasoned writer made sure he did. I am not one of TGIE’s lackeys. I am a young Tibetan student I don’t have the stomach for polemical writings. Why should JN dig the past? I know as a writer he thinks it’s his duty to inform the mass but not at the cost of bringing contradictions to the society. Dirty politics is inevitable so the same goes for TGIE but why is it made to look like that the TGIE’s current policy is the only thing that is keeping us from having a free Tibet and that a Rangzen candidate is the solution.

    During my school year, I heard about Tibetan intellectuals being labeled as traitors for being critical of the Tibetan government and I would squirm. After few years when Samdong Rinpoche got elected as the kalon, my grandfather would hark upon us if we become critical of him. I think it’s very important to be sensitive of other people’s belief and faith. My grandfather had no ulterior motive; it was purely out of his faith in him as a Rinpoche. But there is no denying that there are people in the government who are exploiting this very faith of people like my grandfather under the veil of spirituality which led to public humiliations few Tibetan intellectuals had to go through. Education is the harbinger of change. We understand the power tussle among the power hungry and we refuse to accept things at their face value.

    It is important to learn from the past mistakes. JN through his writings is attempting to make us realize that. Sometimes we are so lost in our own world, working for our daily sustenance that we think we have enough in our hands to worry about all these. I thank JN for creating awareness among us; especially the Tibetan youth needs to know about the exile politics and its shortcomings. I just don’t like the tone of the essay and its timing.

  99. Crux of the matter is that we have only one or two Ideological Martyr to give a leap for change in society that most of here would wish to see. Tibetans no matter in which part of the world they live are basically lazy or should i say Loafer.
    Only good at presentation.

  100. I wonder who will take JN’s place of watch dog writer once he is gone. I see no one out there with his kind of skill and consistency in opening the eyes of our public to the ugly side of HH, Samdong lama,our govt and its policies.
    As much as I believe JN is the greatest awakener esp in our world..as much as I believe he is the Amdo Gendhun Chompel of our times.. me sincerely thinks it’s high time he writes solely on the positive aspects of HH, exile govt and even Samdong lama so people get a balanced idea and make their well informed decisions.

  101. Dear Editor,
    Tsering is right! How half Tibetan and half English is expected to have indebt knowledge about Tibet past and present? It is easier to write than actually get his words into action.

    His Holiness lives among all, poor or intellectuals. He has zillions of listeners. Is he jealous of him? Is it right for the editor to tarnish someone’s image to sell his thoughts? Jayang lives among only intellectual. I have a feeling that those who commented on his article in positive note are Anti Tibetan or pro Chinese. There is no shortage of villians in every community.

    Jamyang wants to bring mayhem, conflict and confusion in our community. Will it be easy to get his idea into implementation? Say for example his propaganda for, 1 man, 1 vote? It is easier said than done. It is not simple to alter traditional practice and norms that has been in place for long. Do we afford at this critical stage. I think all J wants is to destabilize our Tibetan Exile Community. There are lots of examples around the world of what happen when people try to break the status quo. I am in Nepal so, I would like you to read the news about Pashupatinath incident and other incidents broke as a result of Government’s interference in religious affairs. People by nature are very sentimental about the Religion and the culture. You have to have the government like China’s to bring such change without any protest. Mangtso La, if the people are not ready, would it not be undemocratic and imposition?

  102. Spare us. We do enough patting of our backs. It wouldn’t harm us to have one or two individuals opening our eyes to reality.
    To consider people who support JN’s stand on Rangzen as pro-China is, to put it very kindly, perverted. If there is any pro-China in this debate, it is the group who says Tibet is part of China. The problem with our community is there are too many half baked schmucks who are suffering from bad case of psychosis. In the end, if you are dying to give up the country do it but don’t undignify the debate by pretending you care for Tibet more than for your own psychosis.

  103. This comment was on WTN. I reproduce it here to liven up the debate. JN.

    8. Opinion: Middle Way the Rangzen Way
    By Norbu Samphell
    via email

    In his article “Waiting for Mantso” Jamyang Norbu is mouthing our exile Government under the leadership of HH the Dalai Lama once again. He seemed to enjoy doing that. It is unfortunate, that there are some people who take this kind of negative criticism in some positive light. Of course, we appreciate positive and constructive criticism for genuine democratic spirit in our community.

    However, JN is lying and exaggerating negativities all over his writings against those persons who does not subscribe to his kind of opinion. I do not think, Samdong Rinpoche was plotting to raise amendment issue, when he intended to resign. Failure to realize His Holiness’s wish for a negotiated settlement with Chinese Government could be a reason, since he is there to help His Holiness achieve His goal. We voted him democratically to be our PM as he is the most competent person to carry out the wishes of HH the Dalai Lama. We were never coerced nor bribed to vote for Rinpoche.

    If Rinpoche wants the future Kalon tripa “to anticipate the Dalai Lama’s unstated thoughts and direct his efforts to their realization”, that is what majority of Tibetans want. We want Dalai Lama’s wishes to be fulfilled, His goal to be achieved for Tibet and Tibetans. Our Rangzen lies in following our flawless leaders, than trying to find faults in them. It is our democratic right to support the middle way approach, and whatever His Holiness stands for. Anything against the Dalai Lama is against majority Tibetans and against Rangzen as well. I strongly believe, Middle way is the Rangzen way.

    Samdong Rinpoche is not a politician at all. He is a religious person. He is a fully ordained Bikshu following in the foot steps of Sakya Munni Buddha, and HH the Dalai Lama. It is not fair to give wrong impression of an honest, truthful and a great teacher. JN is spreading lies about Rinpoche.

    Rinpoche’s personal take on Tibetan freedom struggle is Satya-Agra, Mahatma Gandhi’s way of total adherence to truth. However, he has sacrificed propagating his viewpoint in order to promote His Holiness’s middle way approach, as a genuine practitioner of Buddha Dharma, who has profound faith in his spiritual leader.

    JN is jealous of His Holiness receiving strong majority support for His plans and policies for peace and prosperity of Tibetans in Tibet. His Holiness’s middle way approach is, in fact, consistent with the approach adopted by 13th Dalai Lama, when we won total independence from any and all foreign forces. We won absolute, unquestionable Rangzen while serving the best interest of Buddha Dharma during His reign.

    His famous prophetic water-monkey advice (Chu-Tre Zhal-Dam) 1932 emphatically instructs Tibetans to follow whatever Thongwa Dondhen (referred to His Holiness by Nye-Chung) tells us to follow. He asked the officials responsible for providing peace and prosperity to its citizens to do their duties Pang-Lang Zolmed, abiding in the moral rules of Lay-Dre.

    However, Government officials, who were Kudraks like JN’s ancestors ignored His advice. They did not govern the right way for the welfare of people, and neglected border security of the country after the demise of 13th Dalai Lama. Instead they got involved themselves in conflicts, even murderous once for power and prominence.

    In this power struggle, Dolgyal/Shugden practitioners Lamas and laities have played conspicuous roles in getting rid of some important people. Even Rading Rinpoche, the former Regent, who was responsible for finding, educating, and enthroning the present HH the Dalai Lama was not spared. He was murdered mysteriously.

    I suspect, JN’s ancestors may have been affiliated to Dolgyal practicing aristocrat Kudraks. The way he opposes and criticizes His Holiness and anything that remotely supports His Holiness and His policies are sufficient enough, at least for me, to suspect JN’s connection with Dolgyal group. Dolgyal had been opposing series of Dalai Lamas and whatever the Dalai Lamas stand for since the 17th century.

    JN’s accusation of Gyalo Dondup being ring leader of a loose coalition of religious-right group, always maintaining the status quo, meaning loyalty to His Holiness, is the spirit of Dolgyal trying to discredit His Holiness, encourage and infuse disloyalty among younger people against His Holiness and His Family. As far as my conscience is concerned we do not have any religious-right group obstructing any political modernity or otherwise modern development in our society.

    Gyalo Dondup being a loving brother of His Holiness has always worked to promote the best interest of His Holiness and thereby served the interest of ordinary Tibetans like me. He did not do any thing that harmed the interest of majority Tibetans.

    Present chairman of the parliament, Penpa Tsering said it absolutely right, that we need to elect Kalon Tripa that will carry out the plans and policies of His Holiness, which is the wish of the majority Tibetans. When I say majority, I mean about eighty percent of Tibetan Diasporas around the world, which is more than two-third majority. If any one from JN’s group of anti-Dalai Lama mentality gets elected, that will be the end of our freedom struggle under one leadership. Many different factions will spring up all over in Tibetan community, consequently Government officials and politicians will be fighting among themselves like they did in the past after the 13th Dalai Lama and the rule of regents. In such a case, interest for Tibetan cause will wane considerably and, many Tibetans would stop paying even the Green Book voluntary contribution.

    Isn’t that a scary scenario to imagine for our freedom struggle? Do not make mistake, elect Kalon Tripa that will follow the foot steps of Samdong Rinpoche, and carry the middle approach along to fulfill the wishes of His Holiness. Middle way is the Right Rangzen way. Thank you.

  104. After reading this I couldn’t help laughing but at the same time I am absolutely shocked to see how exile educated/modern mind is faring after 50 years in exile.

    Before HH Tibetan people have no choice. Tibetans are afraid of the unspoken law that exist “if you don’t agree with HH then you must be a Shinese spy or Shugden”.
    Tibetans today are torn within themselves between their loyalty to HH and their desire for independence from China.

    You will find this out if you ask any Tibetan in privacy “What do you personally want to work for “autonomy or independence”. Their instant answer is independence! Then they would say “But…HH…”

    With autonomy, Tibet will legally become a part of China.
    With independence, Tibet will become an independent sovereign nation.
    How can these two be one and same? Is this a discourse on emptiness where black and white, enlightenment and suffering are one and same? or is somebody on hashis?
    If someone who was an MP, speaker and currently holding a political position such as PM is not a politician then who is? Is it Gangki driver or machen?
    JN is nowhere near HH in stature to be jealous of HH.
    JN’s ancesters kudrak?
    His father was a khampa trader and mother-a kirongwa. And Kudraks existed mainly in lhasa and some in shigatse. So how can this be?
    JN is not a dharma person leave alone being a dogyal worshipper.

    Anyway all those are pretty cheap shots.

  105. wow! just a sad sad commentary from a person who claims to be for the betterment of our country. All his arguments are based on ad hominem attacks and unsubstantiated conclusions and wink-wink allusion to shady affiliations. He accuses JN for spreading lies but he never mentions the lies. So, it is basically all empty rhetorics, nothing more. I bet my fart would make a better argument than him.

  106. According to Thubten Samphel it’s all about fulfilling the wishes of HH, no wonder China often reduces our cause to a one man issue.
    Religious practitioners will do good by remaining in their religious domain and worry about their own spiritual illumination.
    Please do not use scare tactics to maintain the status quo. Enough of such scary predictions! But if you want to believe in “makdor” to repel wars, go ahead! It’s your choice but a poor one though.

    Although I do not expect our leaders to be buddies and hugging each other and agreeing on all things all the time and happy as ever but I appeal to all of you not to get personal, not to let negative emotions blind the eyes of logic and reasoning power. You may not like each other but get along professionally and respect each others’ right to disagree without resorting to giving each other “strange brand names!” simply to make oneself look/feel great by pulling the legs of those whose views are nontraditional and clash with yours.

    Stay away from “friends/advisers/phayul chikpa/cholug chikpa camps!”

    No to psychophancy!
    Yes to straight talks!
    Yes to the point in hand!

  107. Dear Editor,
    Tsering is right! How half Tibetan and half English is expected to have indebt knowledge about Tibet past and present? It is easier to write than actually get his words into action.

    His Holiness lives among all, poor or intellectuals. He has zillions of listeners. Is he jealous of him? Is it right for the editor to tarnish someone’s image to sell his thoughts? Jayang lives among only intellectual. I have a feeling that those who commented on his article in positive note are Anti Tibetan or pro Chinese. There is no shortage of villians in every community.

    Jamyang wants to bring mayhem, conflict and confusion in our community. Will it be easy to get his idea into implementation? Say for example his propaganda for, 1 man, 1 vote? It is easier said than done. It is not simple to alter traditional practice and norms that has been in place for long. Do we afford at this critical stage. I think all J wants is to destabilize our Tibetan Exile Community. There are lots of examples around the world of what happen when people try to break the status quo. I am in Nepal so, I would like you to read the news about Pashupatinath incident and other incidents broke as a result of Government’s interference in religious affairs. People by nature are very sentimental about the Religion and the culture. You have to have the government like China’s to bring such change without any protest. Mangtso La, if the people are not ready, would it not be undemocratic and imposition?

    All JN is doing is to divide Tibetan people into two halves in the name of Mangtso so that our issues never get resolved. By Autonomy, it doesn’t mean that we have to live with Aliens or devils. Are common Chinese not human being? It is leaders we are against, not the common citizens. There are people like Wang (rights activists) among the common people. World is becoming interdependent. So, my argument is we can achieve nothing by shunning Chn. If we hold on to our Rangtsen propanda, Tibet will witheraway as Chinese are trying hard and fast to Gyaminize Tibet. It would be too late then. Majority of Tibetans are in Tibet and we have to try to find the most practicle approach to make Tibet our home. It is achievable living within China. We will return with the conditions that we will have space for ourselves.

    Mangtso la, instead of brainwashing young Tibetan by discreding our charismatic leader, you can do something to get in touch with Tibetans inside Tibet. The stir in Tibet is must to shake the Chinese politbureau members.

    If the movement is regained this time, there will be no earthquake in China to get their (PRC’s) focus off our issues.

    You will be called HERO only if you do something different than posting negativity about leader who is so much committed to wellbeing of all Sentient Biengs on earth. HE doesn’t differentiate between any of HIS subjects but some of his disgruntled subjects does see him differently. It is not his (JN) fault but his Karma. He is born to cause problem as Lang Dharma whose mission in life was to create problem and Anarchy.

    I am sure this so called “Mila Rangtsen” is none other than agents living on Chinese alms. Very discourteous! He can not be Tibetan. WAKE UP TIBETANS, DON’T get carried away, use your own Conscience or judgment to choose right from wrong.

  108. All JN is doing is to divide Tibetan people into two halves in the name of Mangtso so that our issues never get resolved. By Autonomy, it doesn’t mean that we have to live with Aliens or devils. Are common Chinese not human being? It is leaders we are against, not the common citizens. There are people like Wang (rights activists) among the common people. World is becoming interdependent. So, my argument is we can achieve nothing by shunning Chn. If we hold on to our Rangtsen propanda, Tibet will witheraway as Chinese are trying hard and fast to Gyaminize Tibet. It would be too late then. Majority of Tibetans are in Tibet and we have to try to find the most practicle approach to make Tibet our home. It is achievable living within China. We will return with the conditions that we will have space for ourselves.

    Mangtso la, instead of brainwashing young Tibetan by discreding our charismatic leader, you can do something to get in touch with Tibetans inside Tibet. The stir in Tibet is must to shake the Chinese politbureau members.

    If the movement is regained this time, there will be no earthquake in China to get their (PRC’s) focus off our issues.

    You will be called HERO only if you do something different than posting negativity about leader who is so much committed to wellbeing of all Sentient Biengs on earth. HE doesn’t differentiate between any of HIS subjects but some of his disgruntled subjects does see him differently. It is not his (JN) fault but his Karma. He is born to cause problem as Lang Dharma whose mission in life was to create problem and Anarchy.

    I am sure this so called “Mila Rangtsen” is none other than agents living on Chinese alms. Very discourteous! He can not be Tibetan. WAKE UP TIBETANS, DON’T get carried away, use your own Conscience or judgment to choose right from wrong.

  109. Our sincere request. Please spare HH and not drag HIM into any controversies. Don’t do the job of Gyashung. If you want attention and spring to spotlight, you can do so with other publicity stunts. The one you are doing is no right which only shows how desperate you are after recognition.

    Criticism is good and healthy in a democratic society. It is welcomed as this helps and allow those who live in a false impression about themselves. But you are targeting someone who would never do anything that would go against the spirit of democracy or wishes of mass. Middle Path approach has public support and ATPD’s approval. Furthermore, HH has always maintained that people have final say over the issue. This is in line and spirit of democracy.

    Kathmandu, Nepal

  110. Mila, Your question to “Can you support(with facts)your accusation of me being an agent living on Chinese alms? I would like to draw your kind attention to your posting on 5th Oct. 9.15 am. I wonder who would post such allegation other than agents working for Chinese. What is the ugly side you are refering to. If you are indeed Tibetan, its really sad. Please listen to Ani Choying Drolma’s composition “Phool ko Aakha ma, phul lai sansara and Kara ko Aakhan ma Karai Sansara. Can’t blame you, if you have such mentality.

    There are numerous writers who are contributing tremendously to our nation building and uniting people, even foreigners. We don’t consider JN’s article an eye opening or watch dog other than Brain washing. This is my last posting. I would not indulge further in replying.

  111. Tibetan! Spirituality is one and patriotism is other thing that makes true Tibetan, other than holding GB. If you are doing something to break the cord of unity among our people (Until now world see us united), you can not be called Tibetan with Tibetan heart. When there is attack on nation, on its leader or religion, people become senti and rise up against those who are plotting. Its pity, you are doing the job of our opponents attacking the very person we take pride in calling our leader. This is a plot to break us. World around are envying us for having such a charismatic leader.

    We need unity at this juncture. We will fall apart if this is broken. It breaks our heart to see our people divided. I may not reply now as I find it waste of my time to engage in replying your ill-intended postings. Please don’t bother to reply.

  112. Late Professor Dawa Norbu, KDhondup and TN Takla are some names I can remember who would have agreed with most of JN’s writeups. Sadly the first three are no more among us. What is common among them is that this group amauns to be the cream of Tibetan intellectuals outside of Tibet — the true seed of a free Tibet.Unfortunately, they have become the most hated in our society? What shame!!

  113. To whoever posted comment # 127, please be known that the comment posted on tibet.ca reproduced here has been written by NORBU samphell. Not THUPTEN samphel. Please know that they are two completely different species in terms of intellectuallity and individuality – one being Kunleng News Achor (? can anyone confirm this?) and other being prominent Tibetan writer-novelist and secretary of Department of International and Information Relations.


  114. Dorjee:

    That is the damn problem with middle-way proponents, any criticism of the validity of the approach and the sustainability of the aspiration, especially when dealing with a regime that has no shame nor respect for human accords, is considered anti-dalai lama and anti-Tibet. If a person who fights for one’s nation as any other freedom loving people in the world, as is natural and a fundamental right of being a people, a culture, and a race is Anti-Tibet, then I guess you don’t understand what a nation means. If you are so eager live with the Chinese as your master and call that freedom, then I don’t want anything to do with that kind of freedom. Tibetans must be the only retarded people in the world who considers given up their country’s legitimacy as a nation as working toward RANGZEN. Who do you think is more likely to be labelled as a Traitor: the one who wants to get the country back or the one who wants to sign it away forever? Where is your damn logic? What if Kundun decided tomorrow that we should pursue Rangzen? Would you change your mind then? If you want to accuse somebody of being a traitor, look in the mirror.

    Don’t think I don’t understand the reason behind Kundun’s decision and pretend like middle-pathers are the only ones who are privy to this astounding wisdom, and although I do respect the aspiration(kundun’s not yours) behind that stance, I disagree.

    Like Mila said, where is your proof? What Lies did JN spread? Ever heard of strawman logic? Look it up because you seem to have the natural knack for it.

  115. See,Jamyang La,this is how you helped us! THANK YOU!

    然而,就在达赖吹嘘自己“和平”和“非暴力”的时候,一位激进派“藏独”分子的一篇文章,给了达赖的“非暴力”一记很响亮的耳光。这位嘉木样·诺布,早年曾参加过木斯塘叛乱,后来又创办了“藏独”研究机构“阿玛尼卿研究所”,算得上是“藏独”分子中的头面人物。《西藏故乡网》9月9日头条刊登了他的题为《等待民主——西藏流亡政府政治现实检查》的文章,文中披露了大量以达赖为首的“藏独”分子使用暴力手段排斥异己的事件。例如,文中说:“学者白玛本的学术和藏语文学作品被认定为反对佛教,‘西藏三区联合会’(Cholsum United Association)主席竟然称提供200,000卢比,奖励任何能够谋杀白玛本的人,甚至在政治杂志《达萨尔》采访时,再次重复了这次奖励……”在历数了一大堆类似的暴力事件之后,嘉木样·诺布写到:“即使是粗略的事件调查,也能清楚地显示事件背后的政治动机和指向。达赖,很不幸的是,从来也没有谴责过这些以他的名义进行的恐吓和暴力行为,并且很可能‘无意中’提供了某种鼓励,(鼓励人们)以这种凶残的方式展示对自己的忠诚。”


  116. Sorry, I could not hold back from answering (Mila)your comments for the last time. Mila! I don’t think Kundun and CTA approach towards Tibet Issue is inflexible. It may depend on the changing world scenario, PRC’s attitude or action, change within China. You may call us conservative or orthodox, but we have full faith in Kundun. Your question to “would I..?” Yes, if tomorrow, Kundun decides to pursue Rangtsen or other options, of course, we would support Him as the approach would be for the benefit of all Tibetans in and out. This is our conviction and our faith in Him is firm and strong.

    Your posting # 119 and #136 contradicts with one another. My argument is for your comment # 119 where in you mentioned “…. opening the eyes of our public to the ugly side of……. ”. There is a sea change in your tone overnight. Your posting # 136 writes “Don’t think I don’t understand the reason behind Kundun’s decision and pretend like …….. although I do respect the aspiration (kundun’s not yours) behind that stance, I disagree.” You can agree to disagree, that’s your right and privilege. But we can’t remain a silent spectator when you make baseless and objectionable remarks. So, have your concept clear before posting anything. Yes, it is good that you understand reason behind Kundun’s decision and that you respect His aspiration.

    We know that HH decision was based on realistic (in Tibet and outside)and detailed study (having less time for the difficult and huge task). Even nations like India and US are against letting China expand its empire but they support the solution because they find the approach practical and worth supporting. And they do see the positive things in it which you try not to understand. If your allegation is true that we are signing off Tibet to China, then why China is scared of Kundun and trashed MPA?

  117. If unity is more important than Rangzen for you why don’t you go and join the Chinese. Most dictatorial nations are very united. And you will be in agreement with the so called Tibetan leaders who say we are fucking chinese. Delusionals. I wonder about the motives of some of the exile leaders actually. Who knows they want to go and start a business in China or Tibet and so are selling us all out.
    The fact is the Chinese are trying to shut Rangzen advocates’ mouth through ill informed people such as you.

  118. When I was in school growing up as, so call shontsa,I read about Indian freedom fighter like Gandi and Bugath sing. I fancy myself and other kids involved in underground movemoent for our rangtsen. We often ply a game call, Gyami bhopa.I sure every body aroud my age know this game. I remember, even as a little kid no body wants to be in gyami charater. Now I am in my late thirty, drft away with no action which I fancied long time ago. I go to march tenth and all these protest but I dont see any gyami in front me.I am not sure how effective it is but it bore me to death. Mustang could be ideal place for lots of kids like me but somehow it was closedown. Now My mature sence sometimes questions my loyalty toward So call Dhaamsala Bho Shung. I sometimes think the exeistence of TGIE seems to slow down the momentum of Rangtsen. I was so naive to think that DasaBhoShung was their to restore our native country back. Now it appeair to me like they are actually govering the nation that I never had. There is PM and cabitne, fancy office and actractive sallery. I wonder were is our Bagat sing and Subash. Our Gandhi seems to be concern more about some kind of global cause rather then leading us to long walk to fatch the salt. Jamyang la arn’t we wasting lots of time and energy and money with Dasa’s fussy bussines.

  119. Jamie,
    If you read the second paragraph in my posting#119 you will realize that I am for a well balanced intellectual conclusion that could be reached by the masses. I have nothing against HH. To me HH is more caring toward our cause than any other Tibetan. No one worked more for us than HH. There is no dispute about that. I can tell HH is personally not interested in power games. My respect for HH knows no bounds. But in a family it is natural for the loving father to expect his grown up children to throw their 2 cents and that’s exactly what I am doing here.
    However well meaning HH is, we must remember HH is a human being(a great one at that) who is not free from flaws/mistakes.

    By the “ugly side” I mean on a personality level his shorttemperedness which HH acknowledges(video interview) as a sort of trait of Amdos, and on a national level his political naivety and his abandonment of independence struggle(1.2 million death should have some value) in the name of practicality which has got us no closer to the so called genuine autonomy (which HH authored and proclaimed) than we were 2 decades ago. 22 years of repeating the same old mantras “we are only asking for autonomy, not independence” produced zero result. A lamb asking for mercy from the jaws of wolf is what political naivety is all about. Compassion has no place in international politics, only leverage has.

    Our struggle is not about winning and losing. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about truth and justice. HH being a moral authority should know better.
    Jews wandered through out the world for 2000 years but never for a single day did they give up their goal of independence. And today they are free.
    If the so called genuine autonomy is being offered to us on the table then go for it. No body is stopping you. No body can, given the one party govt that we have for 50 years now. I call it middle way party whose members, except for a few, are simple faith driven/self interested psychophant/fearful/insensitive slaves. But it is absolutely unfair to blame a few independence speakers for not achieving it when there is absolutely no support whatsoever to them from their own leader/govt.
    Postinting# 136 is not mine. Mila Rangzen is an actual name, not a fictitious username.
    According to you 90% of college graduated in exile are not Tibetans simply because we have no interest whatsoever in spirituality. Now that you have put us in a box you can very well start your ostracization campaign and uncle Hu Jintao and grandpa Wen Jaibo shall be estatically happy.

    I was talking about Norbu Samphel, not Thupten Samphel. Sorry for the mistakes.
    NS could hardly speak Tibetan when he joined the govt service but today he is well ordained middle way practitioner. It’s his choice and I respect that.

  120. Jamie, basically you are admitting that you are not thinking for yourself and taking everything on faith. Well, at least you honest. Trust me when I say this: Kundun is my tsawai lama and when it comes to religious matter, I have complete faith in him. But I am strictly talking about politics and the future of our country and on that issue I disagree with the middle-path policy. Please try to distinguish between the two and don’t automatically try to label people as anti-dalai lama because you would be deliberately misconstruing and thereby acting against our country. That would be a pity.

  121. @ Divya
    I feel terribly saddened by conformist, herd mentality, yes man, and sycophants like you. Unfortunately most of the people in our society talk (and maybe think) like you because of fear and conditioning. Shame on you for manipulating, the “traitor”, “Chinese spy” (age old proven trick) card on an intrepid, pioneer like Jamyang Norbu.

  122. CTA is complaining that we have shortage of qualified people to work for them. But my question is. Why Tibetans with M.A., M.Phil and
    Ph.D. are not recruited. I am pretty sure many
    will glady serve our community. At present,there
    are many Tibetans in India and abroad with advanced degrees who would like to work for the CTA.

  123. “Tibetan” democracy – by Dhondup Tsering
    By Email[Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:27]

    To say Tibetan democracy is a different kind of democracy would be an understatement. While the key principle of a democratic society “a government representing the wishes of the majority of the people” is undoubtedly present, there are stark differences compared with other democratic systems prevailing in other countries. Such things may seem flawed to some, but one could gain a more balanced perspective if the background history and the purpose behind it is understood.

    Coming into exile during the heydays of cold war, the only option Tibetans had of winning some international sympathy and support from the free world was to profess some kind of interest in western democratic ideals. Still during the initial years, a complete western-style democracy was impossible given the situation and the level of political awareness. It would have been disastrous, let alone the fact that the majority of exile Tibetans would have rejected it outright.

    A unique feature of Tibetan democracy is that it is not a multi-party system. Rather deputies are elected according to their provincial and sectarian affiliation. Although this does seem a little odd given how democracies function in other countries, there is no denying its immense contribution later on in forging a sense of political consciousness amongst all “tsampa-eaters”, and in maintaining at least a semblance of harmony among the different religious traditions. These are huge achievements given what the situation was earlier.

    Pre 1959: it is common knowledge that there were two kinds of Tibet, one “political”, and the other “cultural.” The whole of Amdo and major portions of Kham only looked towards faraway and remote Lhasa as a very important site for pilgrimage, a spiritual Mecca of sort. The kings and chieftains of these regions entertained their own ambitions, and their political allegiance more often than not swung towards Beijing. This was only natural given the political and military weaknesses of the Lhasa government. In turn, the leadership in Lhasa considered the khampas wild and uncivilized, and when khampa, and to a much lesser degree Amdo refugees started flooding into Lhasa in the late-1950s after their revolts had failed, they were ignored as trouble-makers, rather than regarded as an ally.

    Post 1959 Lhasa uprising: a substantial number of Tibetans, including a large number of influential lamas, and rinpoches, particularly the respective heads of the different religious traditions, managed to escape across the border into India, Nepal and Bhutan. Of course due to its geographical proximity, the vast majority who escaped happened to be from Ngari and Utsang, and not from Amdo and Kham. Population-wise, they constituted the majority of Tibetans in exile, even now. Yet another powerful group of people in exile were the resistance fighters and their leaders, comprising largely of Tibetans from Kham.

    In an effort to bring all these disparate people together, a fledge-ling democracy was established that tried to reflect the need of the time, and also at the same time retain our identity as a Tibetan. In retrospect, Tibetan democracy seems like a master stroke. A daring blend of modernity and tradition, it is a democratic system that has Tibetan written all over it. Only such a solution would have been accepted by Tibetans at the time.

    This very system was gradually able to influence a lot of people, especially those in Tibet, into believing in a cholka-sum Tibet despite the fact that such an entity did not exist before 1959. We will have to go back a lot in history to find a political Tibet encompassing all the areas inhabited by Tibetans, and history cannot become a yardstick for what things should be now. History is replete with kingdoms and empires, but the reality is the present and not the glorious past.

    When the Tibetan government in exile was set up in the early 1960s, it focused on becoming representative of Tibetans living in cultural Tibet. This is why each of the three provinces and the five religious orders enjoy equal number of seats (10, 2) in the Tibetan assembly although they don’t share the same population strength in exile. One should not overlook the fact that Tibetans in exile who are from central and western Tibet and those belonging to the Gelug religious order are under-represented in this system.

    No wonder the events since March 2008. Protests spread across the length and breadth of cultural Tibet demanding the same thing. Calling for the return of Dalai Lama not only in his capacity as a spiritual head, but rather more significantly as a leader from whom they can seek solutions for their political, economic and social helplessness. It is a scenario Beijing did not expect, since much of these regions bordering the hot plains of China were allowed relatively more freedom compared to central Tibet. Portraits of HH the Dalai Lama were quite common, and things were basically running smoothly, or so the Chinese leadership thought.

    In the exile Tibetan community also, many significant changes have taken place. We are Tibetans first and foremost now; provincial and sectarian background takes the back seat. Not many even know what religious school their family belongs to. If people think all these positive developments happened by chance, they couldn’t be more wrong. A system is responsible for ensuring such a product, and I hope by now I don’t have to repeat what that is.

    Tibetan democracy too has evolved a lot since its inception some fifty years ago. Power, once concentrated solely in HH the Dalai Lama, gradually has been delegated, to the parliament and the cabinet. Despite shortcomings, the Tibetan parliament has become quite busy and effective in enacting laws, and now with the new system of having people directly elect the Prime Minister, things don’t look too bad, honestly speaking. Not only can Tibetans elect the representatives of their choice in the parliament, but also their Prime Minister. Popular vote decides the suitable candidate like in any other democratic system.

    Some people seem convinced that such an elected leader would be tied down to a certain extent by the very existence of HH the Dalai Lama at the helm. So let me ask them, who is free to do what he wants in a democracy? Such things can only be realized in an authoritarian society. In a democracy, there is always the opposition party and then there is the all-powerful media. Just look at India, where ruling political parties often are bound by the wishes of their coalition partners, not to mention the raucous opposition bench.

    Even then Samdhong Rinpoche, as Prime Minister, did close all the business undertakings of the exile government few years ago. How would he have done that if he did not enjoy any real power? Notice also how he curtailed the powers of the departments’ secretaries. Within a short period of time, he has exercised his power to the maximum in making the exile administration more institutionalized, one that is able to last much longer than outstanding personalities.

    Then there are also a few who think that having a monk as a leader is not a wise idea, and that a lay man would do the job better. There is no logic at all in this thinking. A lay man is far more susceptible to greed and power. Tibet had innumerable monks as leaders in the past and surprise, surprise! Not a single Dalai Lama could be faulted for being infamously corrupt, cruel, or despotic. Some might not have been politically outstanding or far-sighted, but then most of the kings in other countries also didn’t do better. If only they were worse.

    Political systems, in the end, are designed to serve the interest of the people by ensuring that the best possible leader comes to the front i.e., someone who will keep the welfare of the people in his mind at all times. Although not “elected” as such, in HH the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tibetans have a leader who sincerely feels for his people. Even a political party system cannot guarantee such a candidate. In a poignant but revealing incident, HH the Dalai Lama said to Samdhong Rinpoche when he requested to be relieved from his post, “You are lucky that you can at least come to me for resignation. But who should I go to if I want to resign.”

    The writer formerly worked as editor of the Tibet Journal in the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Dharamsala. He now resides in Toronto, Canada, and can be reached at dhondup07@gmail.com.

    The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.

  124. After years of frustration dealing with the exile government I have come to my own conclusions about the authenticity of democracy in Dharamsala. That happens when one repeatedly encounters policies or non-policies that directly sabotage the interests of Tibetans. Still, after devouring your article, JN, I have to wonder how different would the situation be today were a real democracy be in place. Would Tibetans be closer to getting their country back? The rangzen crowd would like to think so, but how would that have been so? Would democratic posturing have been any more effective than autocratic posturing? Would a democratic leadership have had the balls to make Tibet too hot for the Chinese to handle? Would a democratic government have organised and implemented a covert direct action campaign to blow up roads and dams and make it hard for the Chinese to exploit Tibet? Surely China isn’t going to give Tibet back, and surely Injies can’t get it back. Seems to me that real issue is the lack of leadership and the unwillingness to sacrifice what is needed in order to win the respect and hearts of the people. Everybody loves the Dalai Lama, and that will never change, but when will Tibetans forsake their comfortable lives in Dsala and elsewhere and get down to the dirty business of winning a country back? When there is a real leader it won’t matter if the system is autocratic, democratic or wimpocratic.

  125. @11

    Dorjee, this person you met sounds just like this guy who goes by the pseudo name “newgenerationtb”…..I don’t see him here or else he is using another name, but he goes up the wall when talking about certain people…

  126. i have been rummaging through a quite a many articles of you, jamyang.and i observed that there’s always these bits of speculative news and informations about the kalon tripa….you always seem to bring about this small,yet really disturbing news about the conflicts in the tib govt in exile…and you are specifically bringing the kalon tripa in these issues…but these informations,which you yourself claim to be shaky in the ground of its realness and accuracy are really disturbing to read…so i just wanted to ask whats the intention of bringing all this half-boiled informations to the fore and make a big issue of it with articles??
    if you are really dissappointed with the present state o the TGIE,then it would be rather more logical to suggest changes than always ranting about it…n the post for the next kalon tripa is always and option wide open for you…

  127. Shugden Society, USA: Comment # 108
    I am not a Shugden worshipper, but I feel that this injustice to Shugden worshippers is preposterous. The only thing that comes to mind right now is the Salem witch trials of 1692.
    If this is the situation now in exile, imagine what would have happened to them in a “free” Tibet. Most would be exiled/amputated/eyes gouged.
    Yesterday it was Bonpos, Nyingma/Kagyus, Christians, etc. Today it is Shugden. Tomorrow what? Civil and Political rights?
    How does it sound when we are asking for freedom of worship from the Chinese. Are we deliberately creating all this hocus pocus to distract us from our real goal? Pure hypocrisy and deception. Shame on those responsible.

  128. dear JN
    thanks for the article, it make me aware how much we the Tibetans had learned and how much is left.
    why the govt.in exile can’t produce more no. of personalities like you and like tsering shakya and so on? just like you i am also waiting for a good and meaningful democracy from the tibetan govt.

  129. I would like to mention a little about the ‘other side’ of our early exile history that does not get included in most write ups. Gyalo Thondup started ‘Chigdril Tsokpa’ to create a one party, one religious sect organization in our exile community. As JN mentions in this article; the initial membership consisted of mostly junior monk officials– from the prevailing Gelug sect – thus the ‘religious right’.
    It is true that GT drove out many members of the ‘old establishment’ as he sought to social engineer a new one. While members of the ‘old establishment’ who fell out of GT’s favour exited quietly to western countries & elsewhere , communities belonging to non Gelug sect formed a coalition consisting of ’13 groups’ or 13 regions of Eastern Tibet. Their coalition sought to challenge and question GT’s ‘one party’ and even worse ‘one religious sect’ exile organization. Leading members of these groups were not ‘western educated’; they were all recently thrust into a ‘new world’ as stateless people but they were ‘enlightened’ enough to have the wisdom not to accept such utter injustice and folly.
    Had it not been for their courage to challenge GT’s all powerful authority and “stand up for their rights”; we would not be celebrating our rich and diverse culture so naturally & easily as we do today. We could even well have averted a mini ‘exile cultural revolution’ in the 60s.
    In very early exile history some Members of the 13 group were in fact GT loyalists. After all he was the brother of His Holiness , member of the Yapshi family, the highest in Lhasa and all of Tibet. They were leading figures in collaborating with GT in forming ‘Chusi Gangdruk’ and were 100% percent behind him in this effort.
    The Religious right attacked the ’13 group’ and naturally manipulated their protest as to be a challenge to HH himself’ and that was their propaganda to the rest of the exile community. Leading ‘Nyingma’ and Kagyu leaders were attacked and for ‘decency’s sake ‘ we will not go further into this ugly chapter in this short narrative.
    The twist to this story is that a decade or so later this ‘religious right’ found themselves on the receiving end in the debacle of a certain ‘deity’.
    And if I get JN’s analysis, we still have a ‘religious right’; one that now consists of all the religious sects, members of GT loyalists, conservative old timers, new comers mainly middle way proponents in this head spinning coalition of coalitions.

  130. thanx dechen for the outline.

    Chithue Tsoktso penpa said in new york there are around 150,000 tibetans in exile.
    But look! there are atleast 30, 000 Tibetans in exile who continue not to have greenbooks nor have anything to do with the Dalai Lama administration. I M NOT SAYING IT’S BAD. IT’S THEIR DECISION.
    All I want is to know the accuracy of the population census. Are they counted in this 150,000? If not then there must be at least 180,000 Tibetans in exile.
    Those Tibetans fall in at least 3 categories.
    1. Many of them are from camp 4 and camp 3(bylakuppe), at least one camp from biri settlement, clement town, khampa camp in Kathmandu, dawopon settlement and many more(99.9% from kham)
    2. Many of those who married non Tibetans (with passport from their adopted country, India, Nepal and the west etc green book proved irrelevant)
    3. topiwalas!

    any one help me with the correct info! thanx!

  131. Hi Mila Rangzen,

    I assure you that Chikdrel Tsokpa Penpa – excuse me – Chithue Tsoktso Penpa in New York is on top of this situation. The direct ph#s to all settlement offices including the ones you listed are registered with the Home office in D’Sa and available to all . He can request the information from the offices for this important Census.
    I hope this was helpful.

  132. Hey 153, where did you get those numbers? who told you “they” continue not to have anything to do with the “Dalai Lama” administration? Is this “TGIE” the “Dalai Lama” administration? What the **** is wrong with you people? “DO” something for Tibet.

  133. hey 156,
    got those numbers from someone who belongs to one of those groups. was surprised myself. and got curious. using common sense there is some truth in it. but trying to find out more from well informed guys like you. yes tgie n dalai lama administration are two different names for the same thing. take a deep breath n our conversation will bear some fruit.
    big thanx sky-king!

  134. Mila Rangzen,

    I admire your dedication for the restoration of Tibetan independence and your support for true democracy. However, if you expect a secular form of government, I think you should avoid derogatory terms such as “topi walas”. The campaign against Shugden worshippers is a very dark and tragic episode in Tibetan exile politics and it has no place in humanist beliefs.

    An alternative description for your third category could have been “individuals in conflict with the TGIE for religious reasons”; this would have even included other alienated religious groups such as supporters of Trinley Thaye Dorje, the other claimant to the 17th Karmapa’s title, or some followers of the Bön tradition or Christian religion who do not wish to have anything to do with Dharamshala.

  135. Christophe,
    having lived in rural ‘tibet’ in india for so long i got used to it being used so casually by the village folks but you are right i should have some control over my raw language so as not to hurt the sentiments of people unnecessarily.

    however, i must say they had been stupid and coward for not having the balls to accept the debate challenge given by the sarah geshe in the true ancient indian buddhist custom, instead resorted to tripple murder in dhasa to say the least that reulted in backlashes from community at large.
    well, let’s do the best we can to put an end to tibet’s sectarian history that began in the 7th century by carrying out demonstrations in front of kashag and chithue buildings and in the streets of mcleod ganj, calling loudly and clearly that we demand a secular bi-party democracy in exile so in a free tibet it may very well be running!
    51 years in exile is, for democracy, a gud long wait!
    here i m concerned about the exile population figure. can any one help?

    obviously 6 million figure for tibetan population in tibet is just symbolic due to various reasons. according to the tibet’s ‘ear tax’ census in the 50’s it was 4 million to the west of drichu. atleast 1 million might have avoided the census to escape the tax. to the east of drichu they put it at minimum 2 million. relevant historical fact points to much more people to the east of drichu. let me put it at atleast 6 million to the east of drichu. so total is 11 million tibetans?
    i just saw a bagat sing movie and my blood pressure started rising. how i wish i could lead a charge at a thousand fronts round the roof of the world! if 1 million rise up even with just ak47s, readily available in northeast india, despite the lack of forest cover in tibet could disrupt the chinese life on the plateau for a long time.

    i m a bacha, man ka kacha
    any criticism however negative it may be
    is welcome
    so long as it gives me an idea!
    big thanx

    btw, r u on facebook? i thought i met one but his info appeared very unfamiliar. well, thanx.

  136. Ostracizing Shugden worshippers,
    Declaring Ngabo as Patriot,
    Double voting rights for monks,
    “Tibet – an internal matter of China” – Kashag

    The powers that are running the exile community do things that are utterly and completely, in my opinion, devoid of any sense. May be not devoid of purpose, although that is a mystery to me. I wonder if there is difference between what the Tibetans are really struggling for and what they think they are.

  137. Congratulations to every single one of you,who posted your comment(s) on JN’s website.
    It is interesting how some people are so pleased and happy with what JN writes on his website and treat it like a boon,while others treat it like sharp edge dagger to be thrown far away as possible.
    Yet,he is one writer whose writing is much awaited by all of us (friends and foes alike).Therefore,for those like Divya,I hope Jamyangla’s respond has shed some light and made slight difference in the way you think about democracy.Divya should feel good that your opinion drew JN’s attention and got response(and I mean it with all goodness at heart)because I am a woman and it feels good to see some feisty female like you aboard.I say keep it up,Divya.
    I am obviously a great fan of Jamyangla,though,I may not always agree with every thing he writes,I choose not to comment.One,I am partial to him,two,JN is too smart form me to write a comment to match his.So,I often read comments by others and try to learn to understand whatever is that he and the others are writing about.Some day I hope I’ll be able to pull up my socks and have some muscles to write comments on Jamyangla’s website too.
    In the meanwhile,I recommend the following comments to the readers to read.They caught my attention for some reason.Comments: 2,7,18,35,36,61,90,and 91.I only got as far as 92.I intend to read all later.So,please continue writing.Don’t stop.

  138. Respected Jamyang norbu la.

    Thanks for your article. but i just want to tell you that it is not good to use the word shukden practitioners for the Tibetan word Shukden Jedrang, better to use Shukden followers.

    here, i want to translate this article in Tibetan, hope you will give me permission.


  139. hi everyone, every one has got something to say of their own but the statements should be based in accoradance with reality of the situation. Otherwise, the son who murdered his own father has his own reasoning for the killing. Illogical criticisms are meant for wastings one’s time whereas definitive allegations serves as basis for improvement. Too early at levelling criticism against opposite target would then later on, invite claping of one’s hand on to one’s forehead. Preventive measure for such adamant approach should be an adoption of viewing of respective situations from the holistic outlook rather than emmersing into a deep pit. To cite as such being the case, the major world crises that we face today are to be responsibe for our lack of far sighted vision and holistic perspective. having said that, i would acknowledge that had there been a drawback, equally then is for goodness from another dimension. One will have have no room to tarnish the whole image simply by relying on one’s false notion, misconception’s and misapprehension’s.

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