DHARAMSALA, 2 Sept: Hundreds of Tibetans and supporters gathered at the courtyard of the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala today to participate in the official celebrations of the 59th Tibetan Democracy day.
The event was attended by among others, Bharatendra Singh, honourable member of Lok Sabha as the Chief Guest along with the representatives of the three pillars of the Tibetan democracy as well as the members of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
Religion and Culture Kalon Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, the officiating President of Central Tibetan Administration(CTA) and Pema Jungney, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) delivered the official statement of the Kashag (Cabinet) and TPiE respectively and paid their deepest respect and gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for pioneering and tirelessly steering a democratic system for the well-being of the Tibetan people.
The officiating CTA President spoke on Tibetan democracy from the nascent stages in the 1960s to His Holiness the Dalai Lama declaring on Aug 8, 2011, the fulfilment of ‘long-cherished goal’ of bringing democracy to the Tibetan people when he devolved all his political authority to the democratically elected leader; the President of the CTA.
“His Holiness’ vision to fully democratize the Tibetan polity was realised in 2011 when His Holiness announced the devolution of all his political power to the democratically elected political leader,” Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok said.
“As we celebrate the democracy bestowed upon us by His Holiness, it is of utmost significance that we take up the responsibilities that come along with the rights. The Kashag urges the Tibetans to remain observant and to commit to playing a constructive role in the democratic process,” he concluded.
Speaker Pema Jungney in his address spoke on how democracy came to the Tibetan people as a gift from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and how the Tibetans should bring a sense of responsibility for it and work towards its continued progress and success.
“Engaging in parochial strife to create turbulences in society, to commit blasphemy against His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and such kinds of extremities in the name of exercising one’s democratic rights will not only fail to benefit anyone but it also carries the grave danger of harming the fundamental cause of Tibet,” the speaker said.
He further conveyed the TPiE’s solidarity with the Hong Kong people over the ongoing mass protest in the island calling for democracy and protection of their rights.
“Millions of Hong Kongers have been peacefully protesting for democracy and freedom in Hong Kong from last few months. The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile stands in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong,” he concluded.
Chief Guest of the event, Urban Development Minister of Himachal Pradesh Sarveen Chaudhary in her address congratulated the CTA on the 59th anniversary of Tibetan Democracy day and appreciated the exiled Tibetans’ ability to preserve their cultural identities and love for their country.
“At a time when the future of democracy is under threat around the world, we are gathered here today commemorate the Tibetan democracy that was bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Smt Sarveen Chaudhary said.
“The process of the democratization of Tibet by the Dalai Lama in the early 1950s was obstructed by the Peoples Republic of China with the illegal occupation of Tibet. However, when His Holiness was forced into exile, he didn’t leave the dreams behind,” she added.
“Ultimately, for the Tibetan democracy to thrive, it is the responsibility of Tibetan people to be informed and prevent any attempt to disturb the community and its harmony,” the minister added.
“The government and people of India consider Tibetans as their younger brother and we believe that Tibet will soon regain its Independence and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people will return to Tibet with pride,” she concluded.
On September 2, 1960, the first Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies from religious and provincial constituencies took their oath before His Holiness the Dalai Lama, thereby, formally inaugurating the Tibetan democratic system of governance.
The Dalai Lama devolved all his political authority to a democratically elected leader despite the impassioned appeals by the Parliament and the Tibetan people to stay on as the nominal head of state in 2011, thereby completing the transition to a secular democracy. This year marks 8 years since the devolution of political authority by His Holiness.
Cultural performances were presented during the event and winners of coveted Sikyong Award for Academic Accomplishment, Gandhen Phodrang scholarships, CTA Award to Distinctive Staff for 25 years’ service and winners of the Tibetan youth development award were presented with their awards, certificates and cash prizes.