India | Tibetan National Uprising Day
Julia P. '18, Senior
March 10, 2018
March 10th. This is a date that means little to Americans but for Tibetans, it is everything. Marth 10th is National Uprising Day which commemorates the day, 59 years ago, that the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual and temporal leader, left Tibet with his people to escape the invasion of communist China. They settled in Mcleod Ganj, a mountainous town in northwestern India. Uprising Day is a way for their people to celebrate their heritage and protest Chinese control of Tibet. It started with a ceremony, complete with traditional Tibetan music played on drums and flutes and passioned speeches by the president and prime minister of Tibet’s exiled government. We saw hundreds of schoolchildren, Buddhist monks, all there to show that Tibet’s people and culture are still strong. This is so important because China has suppressed their people and usurped their culture. All of us CSS people felt the gravity of the ceremony, enthusiastically waving flags and having “Free Tibet” written on our face in Tibetan. It was so powerful to see the “indomitable spirit” the Tibetans possessed, nearly 60 years passed in exile from their homeland and yet they keep their culture alive. After the ceremony, the march commenced. Men and women; young and old, Tibetan, Indian, and American; we all marched united, waving the Tibetan flag through the hot, sticky weather down the side of a winding mountain road. We marched. There is nothing quite like being a part of something bigger than oneself. Being a part of the cheers of “Long Live Dalai Lama” and “China! China! Out! Out!” was such a powerful experience. It may have just been a single day for us, but for the Tibetans, it is their lives. Any support we could give felt worth it as they fought for their right to freedom. Despite the struggles for freedom, the Tibetans marched proud and strong, standing tall throughout the two-hour trek. Their strength was an inspiring reminder that we should never be afraid to stand up for what is right, especially when it concerns others’ rights. It is one thing to throw money at a cause from across the world, but it’s another to go to the cause and see with our own eyes why it is worth fighting for. We ended the day with a strengthened sense of the Tibetan struggle and empathy with their cause. As we look forward to the homestay in the Tibetans’ exiled home of Mcleod Ganj, we will carry ourselves with respect and empathy. Hopefully, we will all leave India with a passionate desire to continue the fight. As we are learning throughout this trip, apathy dies in experience.