Amid a morning of celebrations, music and jubilation in the Main Temple, the exile community in Dharamshala, India, were met with a buoyant celebration of Tibetan culture and pride of stoic democracy in exile.
His Holiness the Dalia Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet was greeted at colourful the event by a broad delegations of guests, including Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay, and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
Members of the audience watched in awe as performances by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts commenced the anniversary with a musical bagpipe entrance, followed by a new song for Tibet cause.
The Kalon Tripa, Dr Sangay, raised the Tibetan national flag to a chorus of the national anthem, symbolically reminding the audience of Tibetans of their roots, identity and homeland in the Land of Snows.
In a statement by the Kashag (Executive Cabinet) on the auspicious day, greetings and obeisance were made to His Holiness and fellow Tibetans; both in Tibet and in Exile. The Kashag stated:
'We can take pride in the fact that Tibetans in exile have proven that Buddhism is compatible with democracy', adding:
'As we commemorate this important anniversary, our thoughts remain with our brothers and sisters in Tibet aspiring for freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to His homeland...Tibetans around the world offer our prayers to those Tibetans who have succumbed to self-immolations and express solidarity with the arrested, tortured and imprisoned, including all the Tibetans who live in Tibet under repressive rule'
'To fellow Tibetans, this is the time for unity and solidarity as expressed though the prayers, songs and last wishes of the self-immolators. We must remain vigilant to counter the hard line Chinese leaders' efforts to undermine the Tibetan cause. We have laid a solid foundation that will only grow stronger if we follow the three guiding principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance. Tibetans are fortunate to be the beneficiary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's vision of a democratic Tibetan polity. His unceasing efforts to bring us to this moment have helped to unleash Tibetans' dynamic energy and empowered them to determine their own future.'
'We pray for the long and healthy life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. May the aspirations of all Tibetans within and outside Tibet, be fulfilled'
Amid speeches by the Kalon Tripa, and the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Penpa Tsering, the morning drew to a close beneath the gaze of an enormous Tibetan nation flag strung across the temple complex, and to the harmonious singing of traditional Tibetan performers.
Immediately after the celebrations, on the balcony of the Tibet Museum, within the Main Temple premises, The 'Qi's Cultural Foundation', a Chinese NGO based in Australia, recognised the plight of Dhondup Wangchen, who created the film 'Leaving Fear Behind', and is currently in prison under Chinese rule. Wangchen's film inspired and created awareness about the plight of Tibetan people and the current situation in the region, despite enormous risk to his freedom. His sacrifice was made all the more poignant on a day spent observing the long struggle and need for true democracy for the Tibetan people.
September 2nd 2012 marked a historic day; under the full political guidance of a democratically elected leader for the first time, surely His Holiness' cherished wish of a truly democratic Tibetan institution has come into blossom, as the future of His people marches one step closer to democracy and justice.