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Tibet-Festival-2014-SikyongGuwahati: - During his address to the closing ceremony of the Tibet Festival, the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration stated the success of the Tibetan people will be the success of Indians as well. Dr Lobsang Sangay, speaking to a crowd attending the final day of the festival which ran from 2 to 6 February in Kalashetra, Guwahati, also noted a successful struggle will be one of the best stories of the twenty-first century.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) reported several other dignitaries attended the ceremony. These included Pema Khandu, Minister of Tourism and Rural Work Development of Arunachal Pradesh; Gaurav Gogai, Director and Co-Founder of the Farm 2 Food Foundation; Guru Tulku, abbot of Tawang Monastery; and Mr Passang, MLA of Menchuka from Arunachal Pradesh.

Dr. Sangay thanked Assam’s Chief Minister Tarun Gogai for inaugurating the Festival of Tibet and the government of Assam for facilitating and hosting the festival in the state. He also thanked members of the organizing committee, participants, and volunteers for making this festival a success.

In his address Dr. Sangay spoke about Tibet’s cultural relationship with India before the Chinese invasion of Tibet, the rich Tibetan culture and civilization, the vast destruction caused by Chinese occupation in Tibet, and the current situation inside the occupied area. He also discussed the issue of self-immolations in occupied Tibet. He argued, “the Communist Government of China, they want Tibet as a territory for exploitation and don’t want Tibetan people. Hence, Tibetans are repressed, Tibetan language is discouraged, and Tibetan culture is discouraged.”

The political leader continued, “A rampant environmental destruction is taking place inside Tibet, which will have direct ramifications on environment and economy of the downstream countries, including India.” He specifically cited the diversion of Yarlung Tsangpo (the Brahmaputra River) to the Chinese territory as an example. The Sikyong also reportedly discussed Tibet’s reputation as the “Third Pole,” home to the largest repository of fresh water in the world outside the North and South Poles. More than a billion people from downstream countries rely on the fresh water of Tibet. Hence, deforestation and environmental destruction inside Tibet will have a direct ramification on thousands of people who survive on agriculture and fisheries in India.

The Prime Minister praised the Festival of Tibet as an exhibition on the political conditions in Tibet, the environmental destruction, and the history of Tibet. The cultural performances provided a glimpse of Tibet and Tibetan civilization. The attendees seemed to agree with the speaker’s idea that this Tibetan heritage ought to be protected and promoted because Tibetans “don’t want to be museum piece.” This communal appreciation provided an energetic backdrop to what was reported to be a palpably emotional event.

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