Exiles to walk on Tibetan soil brought to India

Dharamsala :Tibetans born and brought up in exile will Wednesday get to step on soil procured from their homeland in China and spread in a playground as part of an event in Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamsala town, an organiser said.

The exiles’ love for Tibet and its soil will be manifested at a unique event in the town where their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has been residing, the organiser said Tuesday.

Organisers said here Tuesday that the soil procured from Tibet in China will be spread in a playing field of Tibetan children’s village, a school run by the government-in-exile, where the exiles would walk and sit to have a feeling of their native land.

US-based Tibetan artist Tenzing Rigdol has arranged the soil for the event.

“The soil will be spread on a field where people will be invited to walk and sit as well as express their feelings,” Rigdol said.

“Tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees have been living in exile, separated from their families and are forbidden from returning to their homeland. It will give them a chance to step on Tibetan soil,” he said.

In 2007, Rigdol’s father fell ill while living as a refugee in New York. His only desire, to visit Tibet just once before he died, went unfulfilled.

“It was in my father’s dying wish that I found the inspiration to pursue the project,” he added.

For some, it will be the first time in more than 50 years that they would walked on Tibetan soil. For many, born in exile, it will be the first time in their lives.

Octogenarian Dhondup Tsering said: “Of course, it will really be a nostalgic moment. I will love to tread on the soil of my country. This is as going back to my homeland.”

“Now I can die peacefully that I am able to get a feel of the soil of Tibet,” he added.

Thubten Samphel, secretary of the department of information and international relations of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), said that prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay would inaugurate the three-day event, titled “Our Land, Our People”.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.

He then headed a Tibetan government-in-exile which never won recognition from any country.

India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.


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