Archive for August, 2012

The Tibetan Freedom Struggle in contrast with Gandhi’s Way of “Be the Change.”

August 23, 2012

The alternative title would have been ” Tibet’s Passive Non-Violence vs Gandhi’s Active Non-Violence.”

Gandhi’s message was ” You must be the change that you wish to see in the world, ” which meant we’ve to shape the world that we want to see. It certainly didn’t mean to just hope and wait for others to change, which is what our Tibetan gov’t is doing and sadly, also our Holiness, The Dalai lama seems to be doing so. The gov’t and the masses are just following his lead. I do admire His Holiness and I don’t mean to degrade anyone. It just means that no one is perfect, and anyone can make mistakes. We are waiting for leadership change in China, to expect some changes in their policy towards Tibet. More than 20 yrs of dialogue has passed and we are still waiting for more, despite knowing that China is just biding their time. Everything has its limits. We’ve to stop at some point to evaluate the directions that our struggle is heading towards.

We cannot compare our struggle to the non violent struggle of Mahatma Gandhi because his was an active non-violence, i.e. making our own change while ours is passive non-violence, i.e. hoping and wishing for enemy to change without any pressure on our part, a part of a magical or wishful thinking, recently mentioned in an article in opinion section of Phayul news.

Passivity is also a form of violence, as we watch people die and yet do nothing much, which emboldens the evil. So, there is some violence in our cause, like it or not. In the meantime, our people continue to die and experience “hell on earth” in Tibet. Our’s is not a genuine non-violence, as we are not pursuing non violence actively, as practiced by Gandhi.

Dialogues or negotiations must be done from a position of strength, not weakness.

Don’t wait for others to change. We’ve no control over others and we can’t force either. The only control we have is over ourselves. So, we should change ourselves. It is easy to find faults in others but harder to look or admit our own flaws. We always want others to change, but not ourselves, as we see nothing wrong with us. We think the root of problem is elsewhere. For e.g., husband wants wife to change, wife wants husband to change, and we keep waiting for others to change. So we should try to change ourselves, and when others notice the positive change, they will want the same thing too. Who doesn’t seek happiness? if not, then too bad. So, we shouldn’t wait for change in China, otherwise, we might have to keep on waiting for another 50 yrs, or even more.

I’ve found a more straight forward way to put forward my above statement. Why should we wait for others (China or even the world) to decide the fate of our once independent nation? Why can’t we decide our own fate? Why can’t we take the matter in our own hands? Are we too weak? Why let the ball in someone else’s court? China will take their own sweet time in making their decisions, until they find it in their own interests to do so, and in the meantime, do we just wait and wait? Just how long do we wait? We seem to have never ending patience, as the waiting also seems never ending. Now, I know some will say that Middle Path is in China’s interests also, but as long as they do not see it and do not trust us, we’ve no choice but to wait. We are waiting for China to make their next move, while more than 50 yrs have passed, and Tibet continues to burn. Why does it have to be that way? Middle Path is supposed to be in the middle, but in reality, everything is in the hands of China on one side, not in Tibet on the other side, so Middle Path doesn’t appear to be exactly in the middle as its claimed.

Why should we be at the mercy of China? This is just the not right way of dealing with China or with anybody else. Its not even the right way to live. Nobody should be at the mercy of anyone, and that applies to people, nations, and everything, even the nature and all the species in the world. Being at the mercy means being open to exploitation, akin to slavery. Everything is supposed to co-exist in harmony with mutual benefits. Insects may seem to be mercy at the hands of humans, as we can trample them anytime, but we are also at mercy at the hand of insects, as they are responsible for all the pollinations, as there would be no trees and flowers without them and there are many other benefits also, like the use of earthworm in making soil fertile, etc. I don’t know all the benefits as I don’t do studies on insects.

It is not about what is possible or not. It is about whether you have the will or the determination to do it, to follow on ur beliefs, because “where there is a will, there is a way.” D ur best and leave the rest to god. Only effort is in our hands, not results. As Michael Jordan famously said, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.” Therefore, autonomy shouldn’t be our only choice. as is told by others. Those believing in independence must strive equally hard for their beliefs, regardless of whether it is possible or not, and not be swayed by others who labels independence advocates as being anti to everything. Those who label us are the real hindrance to democracy, as they try to suppress our voice in the name of unity.

After taking everything into consideration for more than 50 yrs, His Holiness is still waiting for changes in China. There is a case of thinking too much that nothing is done, but I’m not directly accusing him of this. I’m just saying there are also cases which may look similar. For e.g, my problem is that i’m very anxious as i think too much of all the things that i’ve to do. e.g., do this and there is a problem. do that, and there is a problem. its like the many risks that we face in our life. there are risks in everything that we do. Even walking has a risk of being hit by a car. Driving car is even more riskier than walking. Too much idling or doing nothing like couch potato also has a risk of gaining weight. But we still walk, ride car, go on airplane, despite all the risks. So, maybe His Holiness wants to minimise the risk, and in process, our movement got passive. Being active means taking risks. We’ve become so soft and timid that we don’t want to cause inconvenience to anyone, even China. Call spade a spade. Don’t complicate it or diplomacise it. Soft nature is my problem too as I’ve been appeasing too much with others.

The most demoralising aspect of our freedom struggle is its timidity that we are told by our own gov’t that we shouldn’t protest as it might hurt the chances for the dialogue. That is very depressing, as if they are serving the Chinese gov’t and not our own people. Who needs outside enemy if our own gov’t itself is acting like one. They are proving to be more of a hindrance than of help. This is a self defeating attitude and the Chinese gov’t don’t have to do much than watch us crumble on our own. We shouldn’t be making things easier for China. We’ve to do the opposite, so that they regret occupying our country ever. Gov’t too can get lost in what is right and wrong. There is a limit to appeasement too.

This is also the reason why we lost our country in the first place, and we are repeating the same mistake. We had become too peaceful, that we didn’t think of ways to defend our country in the face of invasion. There was no plan B, no defence preparations.

More than 50 yrs have passed, and we still don’t want to make haste. We still want time to take everything into consideration. Aren’t we too late for that? Do we need 50 more yrs before we can finally make the perfect decision which will be perfect for everyone? We cannot please everyone. Its near impossible. Whatever we do, somebody will object to it. So better do something than nothing at all. This advice goes to me also, as I’m always worried about hurting people. I think our struggle has become stagnant, not just passive. Even doing nothing hurts people as people in Tibet continue to die due to our indecisiveness. So, in every way, we are hurting someone, whether we like it or not. That is life.

Some people may think that I’m criticising His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but he himself has publicly said on many occasions that despite everything, he is still a simple Buddhist monk. He is just another human being like us and he also can make mistakes. If he was a supreme (know all) enlightened being, then he could have foreseen everything and taken steps to rectify the problems. At least, he wouldn’t make mistakes like ordinary people do. But he can make mistakes too, and that is normal. He also falls sick like us, like when he had a gall bladder surgery. There was nothing extraordinary or divine about it.

His Holiness also warned us about blind devotion. He stressed the importance of logic in Buddhism, and told us not to believe anything blindly, even the words from him or the Buddha. He told us us to make use of our own intelligence to analyse the words and decide for ourselves the truth. Therefore, I am merely following the logical essence of Buddhism and the advice of his Holiness, and those who label me or other Rangzen (Independence) followers as anti Dalai lama can also be labelled as blind devotees, and not using logic at all. They can also be labelled as anti Dalai Lama ‘cos they are not properly following his advice of seeking truth from the facts, and blindly believing someone. In short, they are disobeying him. The arguments shouldn’t be centered around who is with Dalai lama or anti Dalai lama. My arguments are simply based on what I believe is the best path for Tibet. The struggle for our nation should be about nation and not about the leader. No person should be greater than the nation. This is what happens in the movement, when a certain person becomes too powerful, his personality takes over the movement and the main purpose of the struggle is lost. The dominant leader himself becomes a threat for the movement. I’m just giving an example as there is a possibility of that happening and it is happening in some cases. For instance, today the general debate is not about what is the right path for Tibetan struggle but about who is for and against the Dalai Lama. So, that is definitely not the right way of taking our movement forward. Infact, there is a possibility of our movement going backward.

A leader is needed to guide our people inside Tibet in their struggle for a nation, as they are willing to goto extreme lengths of protests, and not afraid of dying. A leader, who can make a proper use of our comrades who are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. A leader, who can properly channel the 50 yr long raging patriotism burning inside the Tibetans in Tibet as they continue to face oppressions, day in, day out. We need a Gandhi like leader who can lead from the front, who can bring the change, not wait for it. If there isn’t any, people will keep on resorting to immolations as the ultimate symbol of protests inside tibet. No point in opposing their actions if you can’t propose anything worthwhile. So, don’t oppose, if you can’t propose. Begging attitude has to stop. If you want something, you’ve to initiate, or strive for it. Just go for it. We can’t expect others to give us everything on a platter. We can’t depend on the generosity or kindness of others. Living on charity of others is not the right way to live. Our’s is not an ideal world yet.

Some die hard followers are already there who are prepared to follow the leader to any lengths. Only the leader is missing. So, the reverse has happened. We’ve the followers but the Gandhi like leader is missing. I’m saying this ‘cos following on Gandhi’s path of truth and nonviolence isn’t easy, yet our followers have already demonstrated their tremendous commitment. They are not afraid of sacrificing themselves for the sake of others and won’t harm the others. They would make the ideal followers of Gandhi. Tremendous opportunity awaits.

I’ve used some feedbacks to bolster my views.

I’ve posted the link for bbc news article in which His Holiness The Dalai Lama states just that.

I’ve posted a link to the movie “Gandhi” from Youtube. Enjoy and learn.