Dharamshala — TPI Reporter Tenzin Zompa interviewed Nityam Singharoy, a visual artist as he began a solo protest on July 31st when he took off on his blue Royal Enfield bike from the Main Temple in Dharamsala heading to Delhi as a silent protest to the Chinese government.
TPI: Please make a brief introduction of yourself.
1. I am an Indian and my name is Nityam Singharoy born in West Bengal. I am a visual artist by profession.
TPI: Since when have you been aware of Tibet’s freedom struggle?
2. I have always known of Tibet’s political struggle with China. It was during Nehru’s time that Dalai Lama ji came to India. So my parents used to tell me about Tibet. But what shook me from within was the recent self immolation that took place in Varanasi by this young boy. So it was when I woke up the next day that I decided I’ll do whatever I can to contribute to taking back Tibet’s independence. Being a human being, I think its very wrong to just sit there and do nothing while a nation is struggling.
TPI: What kind of paintings do you make?
3. I am a visual artist. Being a contemporary artist, we paint what touches our soul and what inspires us. I do not have any particular theme to follow in my line of work.
TPI: What inspired you to take this bold step of going on a solo bike ride from Dharamsala to Delhi in support for Tibet?
4. Its not just about being inspired, its my responsibility too. A human being sacrifices her/his life for the country and the rest of the world just decides to sit there and do nothing. A monk who spends all his time worshipping god also sets himself of fire because it has become impossible for him to bear the pain any longer. Its horrible. Why is it so hard for all the people to understand this very small thing when they can not only understand but solve huge national problems? Ever since mind usage has become more important to human beings, they have considered themselves superior to everything else, which we are not. There are thousand other living creatures in this world and we are all equal. I don’t know what we will do with all this wealth that people go after if humanity ceases to exist.
TPI: What’s your plan upon reaching Delhi?
5. This is my silent protest. If everything goes well, my plan is to take 2 days to reach Delhi as I would like to make stops on the way to educate people about Tibet’s struggle. Upon reaching Delhi, I will take a round of the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Indian Parliament) and then will proceed to Chinese Embassy. That’s my last stop of this silent protest.
Its very important for people to understand that we are all somehow connected in this world and we cannot be so busy enjoying our luxurious lives and not giving a care to who are suffering.
TPI: Do you have any message to the Chinese government?
6. The truth is that whatever I say wouldn’t reach to their ears. But I would still like to request them to keep humanity above all. China is a nation with rich cultures, if their culture is precious to them, why can’t they respect Tibet’s culture and give back Tibet to them?
TPI: Any message to Tibetans?
7. I salute the courage of Tibetans who are able to do this peace protest of setting themselves on fire for their nation’s independence. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
TPI: Have you ever painted anything related to Tibet?
8. No, not until now but I plan on painting something. I paint what disturbs me and this recent self immolation has left a huge impact on me.