(TibetanReview.net, Dec29’19) – China has on Dec 26 presented to the National Library of Pakistan “the most complete versions of the Tibetan epic King Gesar as a present” during a ceremony held in Tsinghua University, reported the official Xinhua news agency Dec 26. Receiving the present, Ms Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi, chief guest and Ambassador of Pakistan, has said the epic showed her country’s historical link with China.
Accepting the present, Naghmana has said, “Pakistani people can have a glimpse of Tibet through this epic. It shows our historical link with China.”
Due to geographic proximity, the culture, language, lifestyle and architecture of people living in Baltistan of northern Pakistan are similar to those of the people of Tibet. King Gesar is a hero-worshiped by Tibetan, as well as the Baltistan people, reported nation.com.pk Dec 29.
The report also quoted Ambassador Hashmi as saying: “Even before it was built in early 1950s, Khunjerab Pass was a popular route for trade and exchanges of culture and religion between northern Pakistan and Xinjiang, China. The people of Baltistan used to connect with the Tibetan through the Pass. If you go to Baltistan, you could still see similar ethnic groups with Tibetan, and even (hear) similar dialect.”
In this connection, the Xinhua report cited Luo Yong, chairman of Sichuan Publishing Group (SCPG), the volumes’ donor, as saying that many elderly people living in Gilgit Baltistan, a junction of the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountain ranges in northern Pakistan, still chant the legendary Tibetan epic today.
The report said China had compiled the epic in more than 100 Tibetan versions in 130 million characters in 300 hardcover volumes. “The collection is generally considered the world’s longest folk epic that tells the story of how an 11th century Tibetan demigod king conquered his enemies and helped ordinary people” the report said.
SCPG was stated to have published the volumes in July.