Guest contribution by Vijay Kranti and Anjali Mishra
NEW DELHI, December 13th: In a world where most rulers and those in power are better known for stealing the rights of their people on one pretext or another, HH the Dalai Lama of Tibet has emerged as a unique leader who has set the example of how that Leaders can empower people and themselves by relinquishing their own powers and sharing them with the people who lead and rule them.
In an international webinar on the topic of “A DEMOCRATIC DALAI LAMA” on the occasion of the 32ndnd On the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama and International Human Rights Day, the experts followed the development of the Dalai Lama from theocratic ruler of Tibet to the most popular advocate of democracy in the world today. By leading the Tibetan people through a true democratic system and presenting his idea of ââuniversal responsibility, he has set a good example to the dictatorial leaders and regimes of the world to convey that sharing power and authority with their subjects is a greater guarantee for its popularity and stability.
This webinar was jointly organized by the Center for Himalayan Asia Studies and Engagement (CHASE) and the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) from New Delhi. The three main experts who gave their presentations on this subject are Mr. Bhuchte K. Tsering, Interim President of the International Campaign for Tibet from Washington (DC) USA; Dr. Uwe Meya, board member of GSTE, a prominent Tibet self-help group in Switzerland and Tibet researcher; and Ms. Thinley Chukki, a senior Tibetan attorney, Harvard law graduate, and former Special Envoy for Human Rights of the Geneva Tibet Office. The webinar was moderated by Vijay Kranti, a senior journalist, Tibetologist and chairman of CHASE.
Mr. Bhuchter K. Tsering indicated that his deep understanding of Buddhist concepts and experience of dealing with the communist regime of China in the post-1950 period helped His Holiness the Dalai Lama understand the importance of democracy. His interaction with Indian leaders after his exile in India in 1959, and subsequent long journeys around the world and meetings with world leaders, have strengthened his belief in the effectiveness of democracy. âHis idea of ââdemocracy has a moral dimension because it is based on universal principles. In a world where politicians are not viewed with great enthusiasm, he advocates that people have more confidence in leaders and their administrations when they are governed with transparency and universal values. Only then can a healthy and better democracy prevail, âhe said. âThe Dalai Lama has also set out the need for positive mental attitudes for leaders in democratic governance. Although no system of government is perfect, according to the Dalai Lama, democratic governance comes closest to human nature and human preference, âhe added.
Commenting on China, particularly its behavior in occupied Tibet, Bhuchung said that Chinese leaders described their communist system as “democratic”. But what we actually see in China and its colonized countries like Tibet is their rule through extensive surveillance, censorship and various types of controls over the public. Instead of running society, they are trying to manage the masses, he said.
Dr. Uwe Meya has traveled extensively in Tibet and witnessed the 1988 uprising in Lhasa. He is closely connected to the Tibetan communities in Germany and Switzerland. He shared his experience of how the Dalai Lama’s democratic values ââpenetrated deeply into the Tibetan society in exile and strengthened it and its struggle for freedom. He gave an example of how the Tibetans living in Switzerland have organized themselves into a committed democratic society that functions through many democratically elected local councils. He regretted that the world now knows about Tibet either through travel agencies who present Tibet as a “spiritual” travel destination that is no longer under Chinese communist rule. Or the world learns about Tibet through Chinese propaganda, which tries to portray the Tibetan freedom movement only as an attempt by the Dalai Lama to restore the old feudal system in Tibet.
He told the audience that many organizations in Switzerland and other parts of Europe are actively working to educate people about the real situation in Tibet and that local Tibetans play an active role in the regional and national political systems of their host countries.
Ms. Thinley Chukki is a third generation Tibetan refugee and a leading legal personality in the Tibetan diaspora. She joined the discussion by stating that His Holiness the Dalai Lama not only laid the foundation for democracy for Tibet and its people, but also made a great contribution to spreading these values ââto the rest of the world. His message of non-violence, love, compassion, and universal responsibility has won worldwide attention and support. By relinquishing his own political powers to the Tibetan people, he has set the example of how a leader can empower society by relinquishing his own powers and privileges.
Referring to the Dalai Lama as a “monk statesman”, Vijay Kranti said that by handing over his own political power to the elected representatives of the Tibetan people, he joined the Tibetan people’s struggle for the liberation of Tibet from Chinese colonial rule. With this remarkable democratic blow, he has outmaneuvered Chinese communist leaders, particularly President Xi Jinping, who hoped to solve their “Tibetan problem” by appointing a puppet Dalai Lama in Tibet after the default Dalai Lama has expired . By taking this step, the Dalai Lama has ensured that the Tibetan struggle and spirit will survive until the day the communist system of China, like the former USSR, collapses and Tibet regains its independence, as do the 16 communist-occupied countries Regime of the USSR.
Mr. Prafulla Ketkar, a well-known international affairs expert, editor of the weekly Organizer and a senior Indian journalist, said in his concluding remarks that the spirit of democracy in Tibet, that of spiritual strength, people’s power and political stability through a decentralized approach is a great example for the world community to learn from. The Dalai Lama’s model of gaining people’s strength and respect by giving power to the people is more valuable and useful for dictatorial regimes like one in China to learn before it’s too late for them, he added added.
Mr. Sonam Tsering, General Secretary of TYC and co-moderator of the webinar, presented a thank you. TYC is the largest and most influential socio-political organization of the Tibetan diaspora. It has served as the nursery of the Tibetan leadership for three generations since its inception.