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3 august 2012 003Dharamshala: Yesterday, on the 2nd of August, at the Environmental Hall of the Tibetan Welfare office in McLeod Ganj, the Raksha Bandhan event was organized by the Regional Tibetan Women's Association (RTWA) to celebrate and further build a good relationship and strong connection between Tibet and India.

This special day of traditional Indian celebration, Raksha Bandhan, is now becoming yearly merriment of the brotherhood between Tibet and India. RTWA, representatives of all Tibetan women, have invited a number of important local guests: Ajay Singh Mankotia- the President of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, his Advisor and Secretary, the President of Dharamshala Taxi Union, a representative of Dharamshala shops and restaurants and others, to join in mentioning this important celebration in order to thank for all provided support and ask to maintain protecting Tibetan women.

The event started with the respect to the Indian National Anthem followed by the Regional Tibetan Women's Association (RTWA) speech which gave a brief history of Tibetan hardships faced after the Chinese occupation in 1949. Since 1959, Chinese have been destroying Tibetan religion, culture and repressing human rights, freedom of speech and religious practice. During this time 1.2 million people lost their lives due to the killings, imprisonments, tortures, harsh labour works and starvation. Further, in the last four years, around 49 Tibetans self-immolated both, in Tibet and outside the country.

India has lent a helpful hand to suffering Tibetans and offered support and protection since 1959. It supported exiled Tibetans during this difficult period of time and therefore, RTWA and all of the Tibetan community are grateful to India.

The guests were also invited to give speeches. Ajay Singh Mankotia, the President of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, said that according to the tradition of this brotherhood celebration, Indians accept the responsibility of protecting Tibet. He also promised to work towards better future for Tibetans in India as well as in Tibet. Dharamsala, together with McLeod Ganj, became popular tourism center because of His Holiness the Dalai Lama great works and achievements. Ajay also mentioned that the increased number of tourists visiting these towns raised the awareness in the environmental areas, especially in keeping the towns clean.

Speeches were followed by the tradition of placing the Rakhis on the wrists and putting Tikas on the guests' foreheads as a representation of the strong brotherly bond between these two nations.

"We request our Indian brother to help and protect us, as the spirit of sacred rakhi binds us for eternity, and support the middle way policy, which is the best way out to emancipate the Tibetan race and its culture, before it is too late", said Kelsang Yougon, the President of RTWA.

Our reporter Sangay has interviewed the President of RTWA, Kalsang Youdon, straight after the event asking about why, Raksha Bandhan, traditionally an Indian event, rather than Tibetan, was held. Kalsang indicated that this occasion is a representation of the good relationship and bond between Tibetans and local people. She also used an example of HH the Dalai Lama as he always emphasizes the importance of a good cultural and social understanding between different people and countries.

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