Skip to main content

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*

There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.
Ignoring India's civilizational relationship with Tibet, India hoped to gain from the emerging power of the People's Republic of China and thus celebrated Hindi-Chini bhai bhai. The Chinese military, the People's Liberation Army, replaced the Tibetans across the 4,085 kilometres of Himalayan border which is proverbially said to have been guarded by only 60 Indian policemen. India never had a common border with China before that.
If Tibet had remained a free and independent country today it would have been the tenth largest country with 25 lakh square km of land, it's geographical unit being the largest and the highest plateau in the world standing at an average elevation of 4,000 metres above sea level which is often called the roof of the world.
The Tibetan Plateau hosts 37,000 glaciers, one fourth of the world. It is a major source of fresh flowing rivers and dotted by thousands of lakes which are origins of some of the biggest and longest rivers in Asia. Rivers like Indus, Satluj, Brahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow River flow in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China, catering to a population larger than that of entire China. It is shocking that such a reservoir of water and natural resources in Asia has been occupied by China and there has not been a word of protest on this.
Ancient Indian Buddhist culture is preserved in Tibet because of the shared history and culture between India and Tibet. In the Indian public psyche Kailash Mansarovar was part of India. Tibetans used to visit Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India at Sarnath, Bodhgaya, Nalanda and Amravati. Border was irrelevant between India and Tibet. People used to freely crossover. Today there are two armies and there is no point of crossover. Indians have to go to Tibet through Nepal. After the Galwan valley clash the armies of the two countries are standing eyeball to eyeball armed to the teeth.
After the Dalai Lama took refuge in India almost one lakh Tibetans have come to India, most of them living in Karnataka and in Indian Himalayan regions. Dharamshala, the seat of the Dalai Lama, is considered the capital of the Tibetans where the Government in exile is based. Although many Tibetans still dream of a free Tibet, India's desire to become close to China in the past has made the possibility of independence for Tibet remote. Being a refugee in India, the Dalai Lama has been speaking for autonomy adhering to India's One-China policy.
In seventy years of Chinese invasion more than ten lakh Tibetans have been killed; 6,000 monasteries destroyed; clear felling of Tibetan forest and carting away timbers to China has led to mad floods in lower lands in South Asia; mountains are bombed and strip mined for Gold, Copper, lithium and rare earth; Tibetan nomads and farmers have been robbed of their traditional pastureland and now encased in matchbox houses in artificial villages like the American style reservations.
In a nutshell, the genocide Tibet witnessed was ignored by the international community only for the greed for Chinese trade. Faced by the resilience of Tibetan resistance today China is targeting Tibetan language, culture and the Buddhist faith which they consider as the obstacles in their attempts to homogenize the Tibetans and integrate the "minority" into the Chinese hegemony.
Globalization has brought over 160 countries to trade with China as the otherwise western "liberal democrats" blindly accepted the One-China policy and recognized Tibet as a part of China. These trading partners have directly benefited at the cost of Tibetan suffering.
Burdened under such global pressure Tibetans have been suppressed to such a point that even a simple act of possessing the Dalai Lama's photo in Tibet could land you in jail on charge of separatism. Although Tibetan youth do not retaliate like others in Palestine or Kashmir, many youngsters in Tibet resorted to self-immolation and till now the reported numbers have reached 155 in Tibet alone.
During the visit of Chinese President or Premier Indian police customarily arrest Tibetan activists and jail them to appease China
Tibetans believe that if their spirit is free, China can never conquer them. Whereas Confucianism and Buddhism had a strong hold on Chinese society once, today the only religion the consumerist China worships is money. However, Tibet still maintains a Buddhist culture and that is why the Tibetans believe they will overcome the Chinese rule one day.
During the visit of Chinese President or Premier Indian police customarily arrest all Tibetan activists and jail them only to appease China. Yet, younger generation Tibetans take their inspiration from India's 200 years of freedom struggle. Even up to 1942 most Indians didn't believe their country was going to be free in five years.
The Quit India Movement called upon by Mahatma Gandhi had difficulty garnering mass support. But the situation in London was such that the Empire was collapsing under its own weight. Similarly, Tibetans believe that a day will come when Chinese would leave Tibet to save their own homeland.
China has occupied not only Tibet. The Uyghur East Turkestan, a Muslim country with 18 lakh sq km was occupied by China in 1949. In the same year Southern Mongolia with 12 lakh sq km and Manchuria with 84,000 sq. km were annexed to the People's Republic of China. Today 60% of China's 96 lakh sq km of land is occupied territory. But China's expansionist designs don't stop there. China's Belt and Road project is planned to rule the world industry.
Chinese Communist Party, the biggest political party in the world that runs China as a blatant capitalist country in the name of communism, also owns the PLA, runs the judiciary, the media and also appoints the country's President as Mao's legacy. Therefore even after killing over 4.7 crore Chinese, Mao's portrait still adorns Tiananmen Square. Most people in China do not know anything about the Tiananmen Square massacre, China's open secret.
After the Galwan Valley massacre and the recent case of China again dragging India to the UN on Kashmir is a proof that China has no respect for India’s territorial integrity. As China faces international isolation due to Covid-19 pandemic and the trade war with the US, India must stand up to China's bullying and junk it’s One China Policy by supporting Tibetan independence. India's support of the Dalai Lama's nonviolent movement for freedom will have global resonance.
Towards this, the first step every Indian must take is to start addressing the "China border" as Tibet border. After all, India has formed Indo-Tibetan Border Police to safeguard its Himalayan borders with Tibet. India must recognize the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and His Holiness the Dalai Lama as leader of all Tibet. Being the most important symbol of peace and leader of nonviolent movement, India must recognize this 85 years old with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
---
*Tenzin Tsundue is a Tibetan poet and activist, who lives in Dharamshala; Sandeep Pandey is Magsaysay award winning social activist and is vice-President, Socialist Party (India)

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.