Getting personal with the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama, slightly stooped and with a grin across his clean-shaven face, plays with a Hindu guru’s beard in Maharashtra. Next, he holds an emaciated leprosy patient in New Delhi, his hands gently touching the man’s cheeks. Thereafter, he stands tall, his eyebrows arched and his mouth slightly ajar, while addressing a large audience at the main temple in Dharamsala.

These scenes and more are on display here at the first-ever exhibition by the Dalai Lama’s official photographer, Tenzin Choejor. The two-week exhibition at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) will come to a close on Thursday.

Commemorating the Tibetan leader’s 80th birthday in July, the exhibition showcases 40 portraits and images from his travels and experiences around India in the past decade. Situated at the centre of IHC’s atrium, the exhibition runs along four long minimalist walls with Tibetan prayer flags adorning the various photographs.

Hundreds of visitors passed by the exhibition on Monday afternoon, with some stopping for several minutes to observe the series in greater detail. The young photographer, born in Tibet’s Lhasa, fled to India as a refugee in 1987. After studying at one of the largest refugee schools in India, the Tibetan Children’s Village founded by the Dalai Lama, he pursued political science and mass communication to understand and present his perspectives on Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan political situation.

(The author is an intern with The Hindu)

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