Saturday, May 10, 2008

Letter from Tenzin

I got an anguished response last night from a reader to an angry post I had written last month on the Tibetan issue. I would like to reproduce what she wrote:


I am one of what you call "India's most ungrateful and arrogant refugees". Yes I am a Tibetan and I must say I experienced a lot of emotions while reading your blog - emotions ranging from anger to surprise and many in between. India is a free country and we all have freedom to speak our minds, something you and I would'nt have had had we been Chinese citizens. I agree with most of the things you said but I think your knowledge of the Tibetan refugees is very limited.

I can't talk on behalf on all Tibetans but I feel I must say some things. I agree most Tibetans have underpaid Indian help, at some places the shopkeepers would only talk to foreigners and yes, the Indian govt has been helping us since the time of my grandparents. But how many Tibetan places have you visited personally?

I am a Tibetan. I am not a hustler as you mentioned. I pay taxes to the Indian govt and I feel as much Indian as you do. I have raised my voice against the quota system and I cheer equally hard when India wins a cricket match. We Tibetans may not have contributed much to India but I am sure you know the total population of Tibetans in India.

I don't know if you know, but in the Bangladesh war, many Tibetans died fighting for India. Yes hundreds of these very ungrateful Tibetans died. My grandfather, like many, died making roads in India. My ungrateful grandfather! I think maybe one day we should sit and chat, if you have time.

(Images: Courtsey and

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(All photos by the author, except when credit mentioned otherwise)