Sunday, February 6, 2011

Deckyiling, Clement Town

Tsering Dorjee la, the President of the local chapter of NDPT organized an event for TNT la to meet with the Tibetans in Deckyiling.

(TNT la in Deckyiling)

It was very well attended and it was great to see that a lot of ex-CTA staff as well as Chitue Surpa attended the talk and a lot them spoke in support of TNT la and were extremely grateful that TNT la was running for the post of Kalon Tripa as they felt that TNT la was the best person for the post of Kalon Tripa.

(TNT la in Deckyiling)

It was encouraging to see that a lot of Tibetans especially those who have worked in our Tibetan Government in Exile support TNT la as they understand how our TGIE works and in my opinion are best suited to understand the needs of our Exile Government.

(Tibetans in Clement Town listening attentively to TNT la)

After a quick lunch on the way from Deckyiling to Clement town, we arrived in Clement town around 2pm. The regional TWA and the TYC had organized for TNT la to meet with the Tibetans in Clement Town. It was attended by the local Tibetans as well as monks from the Local Monasteries.

(TNT la with some local Supporters in Clement Town)

It seems that Tibetans everywhere are taking a keen interest in our Democratic process and questions range from the Middle way policy to the the present policies of our government on economic, education, social and political policy. TNT la answered all the questions to everyone's satisfaction and after the Q & A, we went back to the hotel to rest for the day as we had to leave for Poanta Sahib the next morning with two stops along the way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


We reached Rajpur around 10 in morning after a five hour cab journey from Delhi. We stayed in a small hotel about a mile away from the centre of Rajpur and it had a great view of the whole valley. A TNT Supporter, Tsethang Dawa la from Rajpur had arranged the accommodations as well as arranging for TNT la to meet the Tibetans living in Rajpur.

(Tsethang Dawa la introducing TNT la)

Another thing that I learned about Rajpur was that in the early 1960, it could have been the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well the Tibetan Government in Exile. This was something that I had no idea about before. It just got me thinking about what could have been. Presently Rajpur is about 20 minutes away from Dehradun which is the capital of Uttrakhand. At the same time, it is about a 5 hour drive from Delhi and the roads are really good. From what I saw of the place and what I heard about the weather and all, it seemed like a huge loss. I still love Dharamsala for what it symbolizes but at the same time, Rajpur could have been Dharamsala. Just a random thought.

(TNT la in Rajpur)

TNT la met the Tibetans living in Rajpur at the local hall of the Nyamle at 2pm. Though the Tibetan Population is pretty small in Rajpur, it was great to see a packed hall. TNT la stressed on the fact that even though only about 100,000 Tibetans are voting for the Kalon Tripa and Chitue Elections, we must keep it in our mind that we are representing 6 million Tibetans and we have an added responsibility to vote for those who cannot. A young lady after the end of the session spoke about how she felt about TNT la after watching the Documentary Life in Exile and how she had no idea before seeing the video how much TNT la had contributed to the Tibetan Community.

(A very old picture explained to us by TNT la)

After a two hour session, the local representative invited TNT la for tea. While having tea in the local Nymale office, we came across some old pictures and TNT la spoke about one of his project which is the Photo Documentation Project of "50 years in Exile" and he spoke about the importance of preserving such documentation for our future.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gurgaon, Jaipur, Tibetan Youth Hostel(Delhi)

We reached Delhi on the 3rd of February around 3 pm and TNT supporters in Delhi met us at the hotel near Connaught Place. As I mentioned earlier in my Blogs, it was amazing to see how dedicated TNT supporters are and whenever the question of why they support TNT came up in our conversations, the answers that I got were that though they don’t know TNT personally but they know how much he has contributed to our cause and they are supporting him as they know that he is the right candidate for the Kalon Tripa.

The Delhi based supporters had organized a meeting with the Tibetan sweater sellers in Gurgaon. Gurgaon has less than 100 Tibetan sweater selling shops and is nearby to one of the biggest malls in India but it seems that we Tibetans have made a niche for ourselves in this business as Tibetans usually do pretty well during the annual winter sweater selling season though it does depend on the weather. This year, almost everyone had done well since winter was colder than usual.

(TNT la at Gurgaon Sweater Market)

The Tibetans in Gurgaon had hired a small hall adjacent to the market and at least one member from each family attended the talks. I think it was a great opportunity for TNT la as well as the Tibetans in Gurgaon to share their thoughts on the Kalon Tripa as well as their livelihoods. When asked a question about TNT la’s thoughts on the sweater selling business, I think almost everyone was amazed at the depth of knowledge TNT la had about it. He spoke about the fact that he knew that Tibetans were thinking about fire insurance but also understood that it was not as easy as it sounds. He spoke about finding a solution using public funds which can be generated by the Tibetan Sweater Sellers and maintained by the Tibetan Government in Exile so that the payouts will not be a hassle.

(TNT la's Talk and Q & A with Tibetans in Gurgaon)

Towards the end of the session, a young Tibetan said a few words in support that he voted for someone else during the preliminary but will be voting for TNT la after he did a lot of research.

After a two hour session, we went back to the hotel as we had to leave early in the morning for Jaipur. We left Delhi for Jaipur at 5 in the morning. It was about a five hour drive to Jaipur.

(Tibetans welcome TNT la to Jaipur)

The Tibetans in Jaipur had arranged for a hotel for TNT la to rest but because of the 5 hour journey which we thought would take about 4 hours, TNT la actually had no time to rest apart from having a cup of tea and we went straight to the Tibetan Market in Jaipur.

(TNT la at Jaipur Tibetan Market)

The head of the Tibetan Sweater Sellers Association introduced TNT la and at the same time spoke about the Jaipur Sweater Market. It was interesting to know that Jaipur is the one of the oldest Tibetan Sweater Market and also at the same time, it is one of largest Markets consisting of more than 200 shops.

It is also very interesting to find out about the rules and regulations followed by the Tibetan Sweater Sellers and how successful this winter business is. She also spoke about how the Tibetan Sweater Sellers take care of one another whenever there is a disaster such as fire.

(TNT la with Tibetans from Jaipur)

TNT la spoke about the importance of the Kalon Tripa Elections and also about the Chitue Elections. He spoke about the need for each one of us to research, analyze and then make up your own decisions so that when we finally vote, we can be proud of who we vote for. He spoke about the fact that when we vote for anyone whether it is for the Kalon Tripa or the Chitue elections, if we have voted after researching thoroughly, we can be proud of the decisions that we have made.

(The kids really wanted a picture with TNT la)

TNT la also spoke about fire insurance and how we can bring it about together and it was appreciated by the Tibetans because of the clarity of this idea and how much it can actually help the Tibetan Sweater Sellers.

The Local Sweater Sellers Association invited TNT la and the support group from Delhi who had accompanied TNT la on this trip for lunch.

After lunch, we had to go back to Delhi as a talk by TNT la was organized at the Tibetan Youth Hostel in Delhi for 8pm. We left Jaipur around 3pm and were hopeful of reaching the youth hostel before 8pm. Unfortunately, due to the heavy traffic on the highway as well as inside Delhi, when we finally reached the Tibetan Youth Hostel, it was 10pm.

Thankfully, Dhargyal la, a TNT supporter from Delhi was able to screen a couple of videos of TNT la made by his supporters and also screen the Talk show produced by Tashi Wangchuk la, Tea with Tethong. These videos gave the students an added insight into TNT la and his achievements.

(TNT la with the Students at Tibetan Youth Hostel, Delhi)

It was great to see that the Tibetans Students were still eagerly waiting for TNT la to arrive. Even after waiting for two hours, there was a barrage of questions for TNT la and the Director had to intervene after an hour of Q & A session as it was getting really late and the students had college the next day. The questions were well-thought out and TNT la answered each and every question straightforward and clearly and spoke his mind without trying to please everyone.

This made me respect him even more. In my opinion, it is lot easier to say what everyone wants to hear but to say what you think is right even though some might not agree with it takes real integrity.

After a really late dinner arranged for TNT la by the Tibetan Youth Hostel, we left for the Hotel in Connaught Place which we reached around 1 am and we only had time for about 3 and half hours of sleep as we had to leave for Rajpur the next morning at 5am.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


After Mainpat Tibetan Settlement, TNT la had to travel to Dharamsala for the Kashag Briefing, Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) Debate and the Voice of Tibet (VOT) Debate.

(TNT la at TWA Debate)

The TWA debate was held on the 31st of January at 10’o clock and attended by around 150 select invitees. The format of the Debate was different from the earlier debates as the questioners had to represent the organizations that they belonged to and at the same time the same question was asked to each of the candidates turn by turn. Another interesting concept was that each questioner had the opportunity to ask a follow up question if he or she felt that their question was not answered.

(Questioners representing their organizations)

You can read the whole report of TWA at

You can also watch the whole video at

The debate was going on when it hit a bump on the road, the lights went out and the guy who has the keys to the generator room couldn’t be found. So after an hour and a half had gone by, there was in interval for about an hour till the lights came back. Since the entire session was about four hours, I think almost everyone welcomed the break.

(Selected Invitees of TWA)

TNT la answered all of the questions openly and if you read the TWA report, you might get some idea of how the debate turned out. If I give my opinions on how the Debate turned out, I only saw one clear cut winner and I don’t think I need to name it.

(Sherab Ghartseling Students requested TNT la for a picture)

After the Debate, TNT la met with the Youth for TNT volunteers in the evening. Since most of the volunteers had never met TNT la before, it was great for everyone to meet him in person and know more about the person that they are supporting. TNT la spoke to the core group of volunteers about the Kalon Tripa election and at the same time thanking everyone for their support and hard work.

(A few of Youth4TNT team along with other supporters and TNT la)

After actually meeting TNT la, all the volunteers were feeling energized by the seeing the dedication TNT la has for the Tibetan Community in Exile as well as for the Tibetans inside Tibet.

(TNT la with the Heads of Sarah, College for Higher Tibetan Studies)

Youth for TNT was able to arrange a discussion between TNT la and the students at College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah which took place on the 1st of February at 10 am. The first session was in Tibetan with all the Tibetan Students studying in Sarah. TNT la spoke about the importance of the Kalon Tripa as well as the Chitue elections and at the same time spoke about 50 years of the Tibetan Government in Exile and how our democracy has evolved.

(Students of Sarah)

Another important thing that he mentioned was the fact that what we have achieved till now is because of His Holiness and also the huge amount of Tibetans who have worked tirelessly during the early days.

(Emory University Students and Student from Sarah)

After about an hour and a half, it was time for the second session in English with the students from Emory University as requested by the College. It was attended by the Students from Emory University as well as the students from Sarah College too. Though the students were new to the Tibetan Situation but TNT la was able to explain about our Tibetan Government in Exile and also about how our Democracy has evolved in the last 50 years so that they had a much better understanding about Tibet.

(TNT la meeting with the supporters in Dharamsala)

After a quick lunch at Sarah, TNT la had a meeting with all his supporters in Dharamsala at 2pm in Mcloed Ganj. While meeting the supporters, TNT la spoke about his experience while visiting the various settlements around India and about the support he had received in all these areas. Also at the same time, the supporters spoke about why they are supporting him and also spoke their feelings about why they felt TNT la was the right candidate for the Kalon Tripa. After a two hour session, the supporters donated to the efforts undertaken by the Youth for TNT during this campaign.

(TNT la at the VOT Debate)

At 5:15 pm, TNT la attended the Debate organized by Voice of Tibet Radio Service which was an exclusive event for all the Tibetan Journalists and was not open to the general public.

Have a look at the video of the Debate at

And you can actually see that TNT la was only candidate who was answering the questions.

On the 2nd, TNT la had a meeting with Kelsang Gyaltsen la, the envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a briefing on the current dialogue process. You can read the whole report at

(Trisur Sonam Topgyal la introducing TNT la)

At 6:30pm Youth for TNT organized a discussion between the Tibetans living in and around Norbulingka at Dolmaling Nunnery. TNT la was introduced by Trisur Sonam Topgal la who spoke about the work that they had done together and outlined his reasons for supporting TNT la at this crucial point in our history. The reason why he supports TNT la is not based on his personal viewpoints only but the fact that at this crucial juncture in our History, he believes that TNT la is the right candidate to serve under His Holiness.

(TNT la Speaking at Dolmaling Nunnery)

One of the questions was about TNT la’s experience as the head of the second delegation to Tibet in 1980. TNT la shared his personal experiences about the visit and it was a revealing moment for all of us there and a reminder that our ultimate goal is for the Tibetans inside Tibet. Even in the extreme cold of night and since the talk was held outside, it was great to see the huge turnout.

We left Dharamsala for Delhi on the 3rd morning.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


We left Orissa Tibetan Settlement around 4 in the morning as it was supposed to be a very long car ride to Mainpat Tibetan Settlement. We had not anticipated how long it would be. It turned out to be a surprise.

(TNT la having a traditional lunch on the way to Mainpat with Ugen Tenzin la and Jigme Jungney la)

It turned out to be more than an eighteen hour journey. We finally reached Mainpat sometime around 10 in the night. I don’t think I need to mention anything about how tiresome the whole journey was but it was interesting to see that Mainpat Tibetan Settlement is located on a small hill and the weather was much cooler compared to Orissa which was already pretty hot and we could imagine how hot it would be in the summer.

(Landscape of Mainpat Tibetan Settlement)

The Mainpat Phendeyling Tibetan Settlement consists of 7 Camps and each camp separated from one another by an average distance of 5 to 6 Km’s. So it was great to see a packed hall and I have to commend the work TCHRD is doing in regards to educating the Tibetan Public about Democracy.

Another nickname for Mainpat is that it is sometimes called the Switzerland of the settlements as during summer, it is beautiful with flowers blooming. Unluckily, we were not able to see that as we were there in the wrong season but we could see the beautiful landscape. It is an agricultural based settlement but at the same time, most of the Tibetans depend on their winter sweater selling business.

(Ugen Tenzin la, the Director of TCHRD introducing TNT la)

When TNT la was speaking to the Local Tibetans, I don’t know whether it was just my opinion but it was as if not a single word was lost. Everyone was listening to each and every word and when the questions came, TNT la answered each and everyone precisely and to their satisfaction.

(A packed hall in Mainpat)

Even though the session was only for about two hours, it went on for another half an hour due to the huge number of questions.

(Outside the hall in Mainpat)

We left Mainpat around 1 in the afternoon as we had to travel to Raipur which was another 7 hours away for our flight to Dharamsala.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


On the 24th, we travelled from Kolkata to Behrampur which is the nearest station from Orissa Tibetan Settlement. Thankfully our train was late by only about two hours and we reached Behrampur around 10 am and reached the settlement around 2pm.

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) had organized a public debate with the Kalon Tripa for all the three candidates in Orissa and Mainpat. The public debate in Orissa was from the 23rd to the 26th with TNT la meeting with the locals on the 26th of January.

Even though it was held on the 26th January which coincided with the India Republic Day celebration, it was extremely well attended and as you can see from the pictures, they were people outside the hall as well.

(TNT la in Orrisa)

(People outside the hall as the hall was packed)

TNT la also visited Rigon Thupten Mindrolling monastery and was introduced to the Monastery by the Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche and another interesting aspect of the settlement is that Jigme Rinpoche is actively involved in various community projects in the settlement and supports the community in various ways.

(TNT la with Dungsey Gyetrul Jigme Rinpoche)

(Rigon Thupten Mindrolling Monastery)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dimakpur and Kohima

On the insistence of the supporters of TNT la in Dimakpur and Kohima, TNT la was able to make a trip to Dimakpur and Kohima by squeezing in some of the other places. So, it turned out to be a very hectic schedule and personally I am amazed at his youthful energy. Let me tell you why shortly.

We left Dibrugarh around8:30pm and reached Dimakpur around 1:30am in the morning and were received at the station officially by the parents association and TNT supporters in Dimakpur.

After about 3 hours of sleep, we left Dimakpur around 5 in the morning for Kohima as they had arranged for TNT la to speak in Kohima at 9 in the morning.

(On the way to Kohima with TNT supporters)

It was great to see the support TNT la has in this region and also the individual effort undertaken by the supporters. Even though, they have so many problems of their own especially from the underground.

(TNT la at Kohima)

The Tibetans in Nagaland face problems from the Underground organization to whom they have to pay taxes as well as from the government about the legality of them staying in Nagaland but what they cared most was about how important the Kalon Tripa post was and also about the status of our exile government.

It was great to find out that even though, they don't have a Tibetan school but the parents have pooled together their resources and hired a teacher to teach Tibetan to their kids each day after school. They shared their problems with TNT la as a part of their daily life but their request to TNT la was not about solving their problems but much more about what TNT la can do for the Tibetans in Exile as well as Tibetans inside Tibet.

After a really quick lunch, we left Kohima for Dimakpur where TNT la was scheduled to talk with the Tibetans in Dimakpur at 2:30pm. After a 5 hour drive to Dibrugarh from Miao and a 3 hour sleep, I was finding it extremely hard to keep up and what amazed me was the fact that TNT la was still looking fresh where as I couldn’t keep my eyes open during the drive from Dimakpur to Kohima and back.

(TNT la introduced by the president of the Dimakpur Parents Association)

(Tibetans in Dimakpur)

Even though, the population in Kohima and Dimakpur is not as much as some other areas but it was as if atleast one person from each family came to the meeting and the support shown to TNT la for the work that he has done for Tibet was amazing.

One of the key supporters in Dimakpur, Jampa la, an ex-NDPT board member jokingly told us that the arrangements that they had made for TNT la was exactly the same as for Professor Samdong Rinpoche la as one is the present Kalon Tripa and the other will be the next Kalon Tripa.

An interesting question was asked by a Tibetan in Dimakpur not to TNT la but to the audience. Have a look.

After meeting with local Tibetan in Dimakpur, we were able to get some much needed rest for the next part of our journey.