Viviane Dalles

Photo Essay : - Tibetans in Exile, India 2007-08

Tibetans in Exile, Suspended Identity

India

Since the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso was forced to flee the spectre of the Chinese army in 1959, more than 150,000 Tibetans, women, children and the old have crossed the Himalayas in peril of their lives.

These Tibetans refugees have been deprived of their dear ones, their houses, their land for the last 60 years or so by the Chinese authorities. However, the one thing they could not deprive them of is their identity, which they safeguard as the most precious through their traditions, their culture and their religion.

Every year it continues, more than 3000 Tibetans cross over the Himalayas illegally. On the other side of the frontier, the Chinese quietly and insidiously keep the pressure up in the region of Tibet. The genocide of the Tibetans operates quietly, largely ignored by the international community.

'Roy' in front of a poster of Lhasa, capital of Tibet.
  
Tibetan monks in exile.
  
New temple, Drepung Loseling Monastery, Mundgod, Karnataka
     
  
Left: debates, Mundgod, KarnatakaRight: young monk learning tibetan language.
  
G., 30, is a buddhist monk. He came to India to visit is Holiness and talk with him about the situation in Tibet. Even though he would like to stay in India, he made the choice to come back to Tibet to take care of his family. That's why he wants to hide his identity.
  
This nunnery accomodates 64 sisters who fled Tibet. Most of them were political prisoners in Tibet.
     
  
This nunnery accomodates 64 sisters who fled Tibet. Most of them were political prisoners in Tibet
  
P.D. praying at the temple.P.D., 55, is a widow. She first crossed the border with her two daughters. When she came back to Tibet, the chinese autorities noticed her two of hers children where missing. They asked her to fill up a form, testifying she wouldn't cross the border again. Despite this, she decided to cross the Himalayas again to live in India for the safety of her son because her young son has been recognized as a Lama Rinpoche*. The Chinese authorities prohibit the practice of their religion.  * reincarnation of a erudite monk. Rinpoche means ' the precious one'. The child is recognised at age of 4-5 then at 6 he enters to monastery where he will have an education with a tutor.
  
P.D. praying at the temple.P.D., 55, is a widow. She first crossed the border with her two daughters. When she came back to Tibet, the chinese autorities noticed her two of hers children where missing. They asked her to fill up a form, testifying she wouldn't cross the border again. Despite this, she decided to cross the Himalayas again to live in India for the safety of her son because her young son has been recognized as a Lama Rinpoche*. The Chinese authorities prohibit the practice of their religion.  * reincarnation of a erudite monk. Rinpoche means ' the precious one'. The child is recognised at age of 4-5 then at 6 he enters to monastery where he will have an education with a tutor.
     
  
Handycraft centre.
  
Here: P. Lhamo during a ritual. Oracles are a spirit which speak through man or woman and considered as a link between spiritual and  physical worlds. Oracles are important part of Tibetan culture. According to their culture, beyond predicting or giving advice on the future, they were called to protect Buddha Dharma and its followers.
  
Tibetan children's village (TCV). Himachal pradesh. In order to create familiar surroundings, the young refugees live in an individual house called 'Khimtsang': which is a Tibetan house held by adoptive parents. Each house has a kitchen a living room, a dormitory for the girls and another for the boys. They are on average 30 children by 'Khimtsang'.
     
  
  
7.00 am, Buddhist prayers with monks before going to school.
  
     
  
Lobsang Choedup, 42, fled Tibet in 1993 following the chinese repressions of tibetan monks. He lived several years in a monastery in the state of Karnataka (southern India) before choosing to move away from the noise and to be a hermit for the rest of his days. He lives in the mountain in a simple stone house. Days are organised by 6 prayer times and of meditation mainly based on the philosophy of the Compassion and Impermanency.
  
August 2007. (From right to left) Tsering Norzom, 67, Nyima Tsering, 31, and Jamyang Yeshi, 33,  have been in hunger strike with 11 other Tibetans for 28 days to denounce China's position towards Tibetan people a year before the opening of the Olympic Games of Beijing.
  
Sonam D. is 38, ex political prisonner. Following his experience of prison, for the friends that he lost and for his family, Sonam has only one wish. To continue to defend the Tibetan cause for the rest of his life.  His story: in 1992 he took part in a demonstration near the capital Lhasa chanting slogans for the independence of Tibet. He was arrested by the Chinese autorities and put in jail for 13 years. During these years it was tortured, physically and psychologically humiliated, locked up in tiny cells for days, hung by his thumbs and beaten... When he left prison, even though he wanted to find work he was followed and the Chinese army put pressure on any potential employee not to take him on. He decided to flee Tibet and to come to India.
     
  
August 8, 2007. Here: Young tibetan who tried to set himself on fire fews minute before in the middle of the demonstration.This demonstration took place in Delhi, one year before the opening of the Olympic Games of Beijing (08.08.08). This demonstration was organized by ' The Regional Tibetan Young Congress' and  gathered nearly 15,000 Tibetans from all India but also from Nepal and Bhutan. They denounce the occupation of Tibet by China and the abuses on the Tibetan population concerning the humans right and the religious practices.
  
  
     
  
  
  
His Holiness, the fourtheen Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, New Delhi, India, 2008.