30.1 C
New Delhi
Sunday, October 1, 2023

Restoring Faith in Tibetan Democracy: A Call to Action

Dr Nawang Phuntsog-la* bemoans the fact that the very institutions and representatives we have elected seem to be the instruments of the potential downfall of Tibetan democracy and calls for a people’s movement to help build a strong foundation for the continued struggle and progress of the Tibetan people.

(TibetanReview.net, Aug12’23)

Public sentiments have seldom been this palpable: the very institutions and representatives we have elected, to foster the values of Tibetan democracy, seem to be the very instruments of its potential downfall. The current state of our Exile Parliament, with its conspicuous absence of a judiciary branch, has not only halted pivotal decisions concerning the appointment of essential Kalons but has also cast a dark shadow on the legitimacy of our democracy itself.

When our representatives tour places like Europe and Tibetan settlements in India, instead of addressing these pressing issues, they seem oblivious, even detached. It’s as if they fail to comprehend the gravity of the situation or understand the deep-seated frustrations and aspirations of their constituents.

Tibetan democracy, though young and small, has been a beacon of hope for many, a testament to our resilience as a people, and a symbol of our commitment to our values. Our democracy, particularly in Dharamsala, holds a sacred space in our hearts. It’s where His Holiness preaches, and where the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) resides. But today, that very democracy is teetering on the edge, besieged by internal discord and a seeming lack of vision.

In any other democracy, the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary is sacrosanct. It is the bedrock upon which the system is built. Without one, the structure crumbles. The current impasse in our parliament threatens the very foundation of our democratic framework. Without the judiciary, who will validate our processes? Who will maintain the checks and balances essential for a functioning democracy?

While it is essential for our representatives to engage with the global community, they must first address the ailments plaguing our own system. How can they advocate for Tibetan values on the international stage when they have yet to resolve the glaring issues at home?

CTA’s Middle Way Approach (MWA) has indeed been a cornerstone in gaining international recognition for the Tibetan cause. This approach, which seeks genuine autonomy for Tibetans within the framework of the People’s Republic of China, has been endorsed by many, and for a good reason. The late Gyari’s sentiments underscore the importance of MWA in elevating the Tibet issue on the global platform. But the efficacy and credibility of this approach hinge on a united and strong Tibetan democracy.

The time is ripe for a people’s movement to reinvigorate and restore our democratic institutions. Our parliamentarians must prioritize the re-establishment of the judiciary branch, not just for the sake of administrative functionality but as a testament to our unwavering commitment to democratic principles.

It’s inspiring to hear about the launch of the General Public Advocacy Body and the efforts of Tenzin Yangkar la, Tsering Sitan la, and Tseten Phuntsok la in spearheading this movement to restore and strengthen Tibetan democracy. Grassroots initiatives like these, driven by volunteers who genuinely care about the future of their community, can have a significant impact.

Democracy is a cornerstone of any society, and it’s heartening to see individuals like Tenzin Yangkar, Tsering Sitan, and Tseten Phuntsok taking the lead to advocate for its restoration and enhancement within the Tibetan community. Their dedication and commitment to this cause are commendable, as they work to ensure that future generations inherit a robust and well-functioning democratic system.

It’s also important to involve the youth in this movement, as they play a crucial role in shaping the future of any nation or community. Empowering young Tibetans to actively participate in the advocacy for democracy will help build a strong foundation for the continued struggle and progress of the Tibetan people.

By electing leaders like Tenzin Yangkar, Tsering Sithan, and Tseten Phuntsok as parliamentarians, the community can entrust individuals who are genuinely dedicated to protecting and advancing Tibetan democracy. Their commitment to this cause, driven by their understanding of its significance for the future of Tibet, makes them promising candidates to guide the community through the challenges that may arise in the years to come.

It’s indeed a positive step forward to witness such dedication and unity within the Tibetan community for the betterment of their democratic institution. This movement stands as a testament to the power of collective action and the deep-rooted commitment of its leaders and volunteers. Our ultimate goal remains the alleviation of the sufferings of our kin in Tibet. For that, a united front, strong democratic institutions, and a clear vision are imperative.

As Tibetans, we deserve a robust democracy. Let’s work together to ensure its survival and growth. Let this be a rallying call for unity, vision, and action.

*  Dr. Nawang Phuntsog is a Professor Emeritus of the Department of Elementary & Bilingual Education, California State University, Fullerton, USA, and a founding member of www.TibetanEducationAdvancement.org



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here