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Elitist Relics Target Dr. Lobsang Sangay

posted Oct 18, 2010, 5:30 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Oct 18, 2010, 7:45 PM ]
By Rinchen Tobgyal
(Please see Editors' Note below)

Submitted to The Tibetan Political Review by the author 


Despite of my high hopes for a clean, dignified and objective oriented course of the Kalon Tripa election process (including campaign, debates, etc), one can hardly ignore, the amount of negativity being spewed around, at least in the web world. The major target of this negative campaigning is mostly focussed on Dr.Lobsang Sangay, someone who has come out to be counted as one of the favorites for the post. This is not surprising, as Dr.Lobsang la brings a new burst of energy and interest in the current elections. What surprises me, is the fact that majority of Tibetans are OK with this Change. Thunderous noise of applaud, every time Dr.Lobsang la enters a debate or a lecture, is evidence enough to prove that. So whatever critique surrounds him, is mostly from a small group of people I would like to call "Elitist Relics".

Criticism of a public figure is the right of every individual living in a democracy. I am in fact a very critical person myself. On many occasions, I encourage my fellow young Tibetans to imbibe this value, rather than accepting everything anyone puts into ones mouth.

What bothers me most, is how some individuals, group of individuals or an organisation, tries to influence and in some cases steer public opinion, by spreading information completely off the radar of actual facts, at least by a margin of, lets say, INSANITY. This is something I am not okay with, and towards these people, I have the least respect, whether they like it or not.

I know its a common practice of corruption( of ideas) being followed across the globe in most democratic nations. But aren't we supposed to be the followers of His Holiness, of Buddhism, of truth etc etc. Its very idealistic, but obviously I had high hopes. Anyhow, so this wasn't the case to be.

Now coming back to these "Elitist Relics", I distinguish them in groups of 3 categories.

The first one comprises of high headed individuals who got an opportunity for education, exposure etc etc, when parents and grandparents of common Tibetans were digging dirt by making roads across Shimla borders. While a common Tibetan child was getting education in the worst of human conditions possible at a CST back then, these people were getting private education at an English medium school, in some of the best locations across India. Of course then, these would be the people in a better position to work for the Tibetan government in exile. Sometimes, service comes out of inheritance and not achieved through excellence.

These "Elitist Relics" are one of example of them. Obviously, when a person like Dr.Lobsang la, comes out of the herd of thousands of common Tibetans, by virtue of his excellence, things don't sit well with these other individuals and they get uncomfortable to this change.

The second one comprises of a group of individuals, some self-declared intellectuals, some arm chair thinkers and some just toady wannabes. These people somehow have thought of themselves as sole caretakers, or I would rather say, tyrants of the Tibetan intellectual world. Rise of a common Tibetan, not just as a leader, but also as a highly educated intellectual, threatens these people. Jealousy obviously is the result, and then comes groundless banter of negative critique, subtly hidden within smart ass words and sentences. Jamyang Norbu la, becomes a shining example of this category. His recent critique of Dr.Lobsang la, not only lacked substance, but in many ways was malicious and filled with ill intent. I never expected such stooping down from a person of his stature, may be its the effect of age, I guess.

Now, I agree with Jamyang la's unrelenting philosophy "that everything that happens in the Tibetan world must be a debate about Rangzen and Middle way", I do not agree that everything else is seemingly trivial or in fact frivolous, as is clear in his writings on the Kalon Tripa elections

There is just a few simple sentences I need to say, in response to lengthy articles by Jamyang la, Kalon Tripa might not be a big deal according to your view, however, it is a big deal for thousands of Tibetans in settlements, hundreds of unemployed Tibetan youths, for the sustenance and flourishing of Tibetan community in exile, for the hundreds of Tibetan schools that need a revival and many other problems.

A struggle whether its for Rangzen or Middle way or whatever, would essentially not survive, if the very people who carry that struggle do not flourish, both economically or intellectually as a society. Unless, Jamyang la wishes to live for another 100 years.

The last group mostly contains a small group of Tibetan youths, well educated and groomed overseas. What these youths fail to see, apart from the glamour of riding on the Tibet Inc, is an utmost failure to understand the real grass root problems of exile life in India, where majority of Tibetans live, not all of them have relatives in US or other countries. These group of youths are manipulated and channeled effectively by the above two categories of "Elitist Relics". Thus comes, unsubstantiated and foul critique of Dr.Lobsang la by a few of them, who are obviously influenced by their peers of "Elitist Relics". However, this group is not much to blame, there is not much of a choice when you develop your outlook about Tibet in a completely different environment, than a settlement or a Tibetan school in exile. There understanding of the conditions of exile is mostly second hand, so they only get a superficial understanding of the problems facing exile society in India.

My outspoken discomfort might not sit well with anyone associated with the above three groups, similarly, efforts by these groups to tarnish, harm and demean, a healthy democratic process that is leading to the election of the first common Tibetan to a post of Kalon Tripa, does not sit well with me too.


EDITORS' NOTE: The editors believe it should be disclosed that Rinchen Tobgyal la is the manager of the website of the Lobsang Sangay campaign.  Rinchen la also appears to be the interviewer in "Ten Questions for Dr. Lobsang Sangay."  The Tibetan Political Review has been pleased to publish Rinchen la's previous lettersalthough the editors regret that it was not possible to inform readers of Rinchen la's affiliation at the time.