By Punya Shrivastava
Organised by: FURHHDL
India Habitat Centre, Delhi
December 30, 2015
“We are refugees here.
People of a lost country.
Citizen to no nation.”
Poet-activist Tenzin Tsundue recites this poignant verse in a documentary on exiled Tibetans – Art in Exile by Nidhi Tuli and Ashraf Abbas. These lines from his poem, My Tibetaness poignantly sum up the reality of thousands of Tibetan lives in India.
The film, among many others, was part of a film festival organised by the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (FURHHDL), to celebrate His Holiness and the exiled Tibetans in India. The festival was curated by eminent media personality, Rajiv Mehrotra.
The afternoon opened with a recording of HH the Dalai Lama in conversation with Rajiv Mehrotra, gratefully commemorating the 50th year of India’s hospitality to exiled Tibetans. He has always considered India to be the guru of the Tibetans, and the film explores his special relationship with the country who gave refuge to him and his people.
The films selected for the festival gave voice to the varied shades of the Tibetan experience, bringing together stories of hope, culture, custom, art, religion and spirituality. Art in Exile echoed the core sentiment of the exiled lives – to belong to a home. Even people with seemingly ordinary lives – a bookshop owner, a café owner, a thangkha painter, three brothers with their own band – were found to carry within a flame of rangzen, or freedom in Tibetan, all the while persevering to preserve their culture and tradition.
Exiled Hope – Tibetan Muslims in Kashmir, by Z A Hamdani delved deep into the unique world of this minority community of Tibetan Muslims, their lives and challenges in exile. Democracy in Exile by Tashi Wangchuk and Tsultrim Dorjee is a telling tale of an exiled community whose government in exile seeks the middle path approach with the Chinese system, while the youth still clamour for a rigorous discourse on ‘genuine autonomy’.
Unheard Voices and Notes to Myself, by Dev Agarwal is a travelogue recounting the experiences of Indian and foreign students who got together to live the life of Tibetan monks for a month in McLeodganj, Himachal Pradesh. Lights from Many Lamps: beyond the Last Rainbow by the same maker traced the mind-opening experiences of interfaith discourses organised by the Foundation in and around Bangalore.
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