Tibetan museum comes up with exhibition on self-immolations

[Source: Times of India}
S Gopal Puri,TNN | Apr 5, 2014, 04.35 AM IST

DHARAMSALA: Known for the unique way of portraying their cause before the world, the Tibetan government in exile has come up with a new exhibition in the wake of self-immolations by Tibetans inside Tibet. The exhibition consists of 27 panels in Tibetan, English and Hindi languages, documenting the aspirations and last words of self-immolators and the reasons that led them to self-immolate in protest.

Dicki Chhoyang, minister (Kalon) of the department of information and international relations, Central Tibetan Administration, inaugurated the museum on Friday, located near the main temple and Dalai Lama’s exile residence in McLeodganj near here.

“The exhibition is an effort by the Central Tibetan Administration to ensure that international community gets a clear picture about what self-immolation is and why and what are leading Tibetans to self-immolate. Till now, 129 Tibetans have immolated themselves,” he said.

“Ever since the self-immolation began, we have urged Tibetans inside Tibet not to resort to such drastic forms of action. While the self-immolations continue, we have a moral responsibility to make sure that the international community understands the background,” she said.

“The Tibetans self-immolating are not politicians. They are common Tibetan people like farmers, nomads, students, monks and nuns. We have also documented how the Chinese government responded to self-immolation protests,” she said.

“While we can appeal Tibetans inside Tibet not to self-immolate, the policies that are leading them to self-immolate are not in our control. It is in the hands of the Chinese government. So, through this exhibition, we hope that more and more people would understand the sad events taking place inside Tibet,” she added.

The Tibet museum was set up in 1998 to serve as a reminder about the loss of Tibetan culture and lives and present the hopes and aspirations of Tibetan people through collected photographs and life histories.

Speaking to media-persons after inauguration, Tashi Phuntsok, director of Tibet museum, said, “We have travelled across India, particularly south and north-east India, showcasing the exhibition. Many people have turned up and expressed solidarity with the Tibet issue after witnessing the exhibitions. Therefore, we are showcasing our new exhibition at our permanent base in McLeodganj so that foreigners as well as our Indian friends can understand what’s happening inside Tibet.”

“We will also travel to various parts of India to showcase the exhibition to increase awareness about the Tibet issue. Tibet supporters and friends of Tibet based outside India, can download our panels from our website or contact our office directly if they are interested to view the exhibits or organise similar exhibitions in their respective countries,” he added.

The exhibition has successfully toured various parts of India, including all major Tibetan settlements. It is composed of three sections — permanent exhibition, traveling exhibition and the photo archives section. It conducts various programmes including lecture series, publishing pictorial books, collecting documents, photographs, objects and firsthand accounts relating to Tibet and Tibetan issues.