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.