byShashwat?

Malik

AshortwalkdownthehillfromtheDalaiLama’sresidentialcomplexintheNorthIndiantownofDharamsalaistheJampalingElders’Home,aretirementcommunityrunbytheCentralTibetanAdministration,theTibetangovernment-in-exile。

Jampalinghousesahundredandforty-fiveresidents,manyofwhomarepartofthefirstwaveofrefugeeswhofledTibetin1959,inthewakeofafaileduprisingagainstChinese?

rule。

TheearlyyearsofexileinIndiawereastruggleforthosewhohadleftbehindtheirtraditionalnomadicwaysoflifeandfoundworkbuildingroads,ascooks,orintheIndianarmy。

Manynevermarried,and,havinggrownold,nowhavenobodytocareforthem。

JampalingHomeisthefinalrefugefortheserefugees。

ThisAugust,IwenttoJampalingtophotographitsresidentsandseektheirperspectiveontheTibetanconflict。

Duringmyvisit,policeinSichuanprovinceopenedfireonagroupofTibetansprotestingthearrestofarespectedvillageelderwhohadbeenurginglocalofficialstoallowaprayerceremonyaspartoftheDenmaHorseFestival。

Accordingtoreports,fourofthetenprotesterswhowerewoundeddiedindetention。

Anothercommittedsuicide。

Shortlyaftermyvisit,inSeptember,atwenty-two-year-oldstudent,LhamoTashi,immolatedhimselfinfrontofapolicestationinGansuprovince;since2009,morethanhundred-and-thirtyTibetanshaveresortedtothisformofprotestagainstChineserule。

AnoldTibetanmaninDharamsalatoldmethathearingsuchnewsfromTibetmadehimfeellikeaparentwhohastoseehischilddrownfromafar;unabletosavehim,hecanonly?

watch。

ForresidentsatJampaling,thedespairoftheconflictispartoftheirdailyexperienceofoldage。

Andformany,theirmiseriesareexplainedbyBuddhistdoctrineasretributionforactsofpastlives;enduringthemismeanttoprovidehopeforbeingbornintoabetterafterlife。

ThuptenRabten

“Thisistheendofourlives;thereisnowheretogofromhere。

Itisstraighttothecremationground,”ThuptenRabtensaidtomeaswesatonabenchoutsideJampaling。

Thuptenhadjustfinishedhisafternoonprayersandcouldoverheartheadministrator-in-chargetalkaboutpreparationstobemadefortworesidentswhohaddiedthedaybefore。

Sixty-three-year-oldThuptensuffersfromhandtremors。

HewassevenwhenhefledTibetin1960。

“IwasoneofthekidspickedoutbytheChineseauthoritiestobesenttoPekingtostudy,”hetoldme。

“MyfatherfearedthatI’dlearnChineseandforgettheTibetanlanguage,thatI’dbeindoctrinatedandturnedintoacommunist。

HethoughtI’dbecomesomebodywhowouldbreaktheTibetannation。

SohebroughtmetoDharamsala。



Yangkey

Thupten’sroommate,ninety-four-year-oldYangkey,isunabletospeakandspendsmostofhertimecountingherbeads。

HerhusbandwasalsoaresidentatJampaling,untilhisdeathin2006。

Havingnochildren,shehasnosurvivingfamily。

AmdoThubten?

Tsering

Twoyearsshortofbeingacentenarian,AmdoThubtenTseringistheoldestresidentatJampaling。

HesaidhefoughtasaguerrillaagainsttheChinesearmyin1958。

Ayearlater,aftertheuprisingfailed,hewasoneoftheeightythousandTibetanswhofledacrosstheHimalayas,followingtheDalaiLama’sownescape。

“I’mhere,butmyheartisstillinTibet,”hetoldme。

“Thatismycountry,thatiswhatIfoughtfor。

Ihavegrownold,andwhenIhearthenewscomingoutofTibet,I’mnownotashopefulaboutthesituationasIusedto?

be。



Lobsang

“I’mabouttodie,”Lobsangsaid。

“GoingbacktoTibetwouldn’tbepossible,itseems。

”HecontinuestolooktotheDalaiLamaforaresolutiontothepoliticaldeadlockwithChina。

Since1988,theDalaiLamaandthegovernment-in-exilehaveslowlyscaledbacktheirdemandsfortotalindependence,or“Rangzen。

”TheynowagitateforwhatisknownastheMiddleWay,ademandfor“genuineautonomy”withinChina,whichisseenasanunacceptablecompromisebymanyyoungTibetansborninexileinIndia。

ItisalsorejectedbysomeelderlyTibetans,liketheKhampawarriorsofeasternTibet,whofoughttheinvadingChinesearmyin1950andthenledanarmeduprisingin?

1959。

TenpaTsering

Butamongstthosewhotookuparmsatonestageortheother,therearesomelikeTenpaTsering,who,outofreverencefortheDalaiLama,hasfollowedhisleadontheMWA。

Eighty-two-year-oldTenpa,wholosthisvisiontocataracts,saidhefoughtinLhasain1958and1959,andthenservedintheIndianarmyformorethantwodecades。

WhenIaskedhimhowheviewsthepossibilityoftheTibetanstruggleturningviolent,hereplied,“TheDalaiLamahasshunnedviolence,andthatsettlesthematter。

”Buthealsoisn’tterriblysureabouttheefficacyofpeacefulprotests。

“That’sthewayforward,butitmaynotyieldresults。



NgodupPalden

NgodupPaldensaidheparticipatedintheuprisinginLhasain1958。

Healsorejectstheoptionofanarmeduprising。

“Itjustdoesn’tmakesense。

Wewouldbecrushedtooeasily,”hesaid。

“Theyarejusttoomanyandtoostrong。

”HeworriedChina’seconomicclouthasleftforeigngovernmentsunabletotalkabouthumanrightsin?

Tibet。

EarlyinOctober,theDalaiLamacancelledavisittoSouthAfricaovervisatroublesforthethirdtimeinfiveyears。

ItiswidelyassumedthathispresenceattheannualsummitofNobelpeacelaureatesinCapeTown,towhichhehadbeeninvited,wouldhavebeenawkwardforSouthAfrica,whichispursuingstrongertradetieswithChina。

(ThesummititselfwascancelledafterseverallaureateswithdrewtheirparticipationinprotestoverthedenialofvisatotheDalai?

Lama。

)

JampaNyichung

JampaNyichungbrokehisbackandlosthislegsinanaccident,soheismostlyconfinedtohisbed。

Heusedhismirrortoconversewithmethroughthewindow,beforeinvitingmein。

HesaidthathemissestheTibetanlandscapewherehegrewupinafamilyofnomadicherders。

“WhentheChinesefirstarrived,theyliedthattheywouldmakethingsbetter,”hetold?

me。

BeijingcontinuestosellTibetannomadiccommunitiesthepromiseofraisingtheirlivingstandards。

Accordingtoa2013HumanRightsWatchreport,between2006and2012,hundredsofthousandsofnomadicherdersintheeasternpartoftheTibetanplateauwererelocatedorsettledinnewpermanentvillages。

Thereportraisedconcernsovertheabilityofthoseresettledtomaintaintheirlivelihoodovertime;theirnomadicwayoflifehasbeenradicallyalteredbyChina’sattempttobuilda“NewSocialistCountryside”,adevelopmentprogramplannedinBeijingthatisaimedatimprovingtheeconomyandlivingstandardsintheTibetan?

region。

“PeopleinsideTibetarehelpless,monksaregettingjailed,andthearmyisbrutal,”Jampasaid。

“Weknowthis,thesearefacts,andyettheChinesecontinuetolie。

Withtheirpropagandatheytelltheworldthateverythingis?

fine。



SamdupPaljor

SamdupPaljorkeptdozingofffitfully,whilechantingtheprayermantra,“OmManiPadme?

Hum。



TseringThundup

ProximitytotheDalaiLamameansalottotheresidents。

AfterTseringThundupcompletedhiskora?

—?

acircumambulationoftheDalaiLama’stemplecomplex?

—?

hetoldme,“Ihavetosayit’snicehere,butit’snotmycountry。

IstillwanttoreturntoTibet。

Adaydoesn’tgobywhenIdon’tthinkabout?

it。



TsamchoeDolma

TsamchoeDolma,whohadafever,sharedherfantasywithme:theTibetanissuehasbeenresolved,andeveryoneatJampalingisfilingout,toreturnto?