Tuesday 27 March 2012

'...the day has come to sacrifice your life'

(This is my translation of the last written words of Pawo Jampel Yeshi, who has sadly passed away from burns at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi.)

  16 March 2012
Long Live His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is the shining example of world peace. We must strive to ensure return of His Holiness to Tibet. I pray and believe that the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet will be united and sing the Tibetan national anthem in front of the Potala Palace.
My fellow Tibetans, when we think about our future happiness and path, we need loyalty. It is the life-soul of a people. It is the spirit to find truth. It is the guide leading to happiness. My fellow Tibetans, if you want equality and happiness as the rest of the world, you must hold onto this word 'LOYALTY' towards your country. Loyalty is the wisdom to know truth from falsehood. You must work hard in all your endeavours, big or small.
Freedom is the basis of happiness for all living beings. Without freedom, six million Tibetans are like a butter lamp in the wind, without direction. My fellow Tibetans from Three Provinces, it is clear to us all that if we unitedly put our strength together, there will be result. So, don't be disheartened.
What I want to convey here is the concern of the six million Tibetans. At a time when we are making our final move toward our goal – if you have money, it is the time to spend it; if you are educated it is the time to produce results; if you have control over your life, I think the day has come to sacrifice your life. The fact that Tibetan people are setting themselves on fire in this 21st century is to let the world know about their suffering, and to tell the world about the denial of basic human rights. If you have any empathy, stand up for the Tibetan people.
We demand freedom to practice our religion and culture. We demand freedom to use our language. We demand the same right as other people living elsewhere in the world. People of the world, stand up for Tibet. Tibet belongs to Tibetans. Victory to Tibet!

signed: Tawu Jampel Yeshi

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Have you seen a yak?

གཡག Yak
My name is Tenzin
I am Tibetan
I was born in South India
On a hot July day in 1984
When my mother was still weak from labour –
Our neighbour Mr Malickarjun
Broke a coconut for luck
His wife brought a garland of jasmine.
Mother even now calls me Tenzin Jasmine.

My father, Yeshi Phuntsok, died
Three months after my birth
He was on his way to Ludhiana
To buy sweaters for the winter business -
‘He fell down the shaft between train and platform’
My mother told me years later.
She took a long sigh
‘He was suffering from TB,
He didn’t have to go.
Your father was stubborn as yak hide
He listened to no one,' she said.

My grandfather, Dorjee Gyalpo
Is my favourite person in the world.
He was born in Chu Marlep in Northeastern Tibet –
That wide expanse of grassland
Where the famous Tibetan horses come from.
Grandpa told me about yaks.
How he rode them across the mountain passes
འབྲི། Dri - female counterpart of YAK
How his mother weaved their tents from yak hair
How their mastiffs barked at the menacing wolves.
'A yak can easily take on an elephant,' he said.

My name is Tenzin
I am Tibetan
I have never seen a yak
But I have a pretty good idea
How it looks.
Long rough hair hanging down
Black horns very sharp at the tips
Hooves as tough as cannonballs.
A yak can eat a truckload of grass.

My name is Tenzin
I am Tibetan
I love coconuts
Especially ones that grow in our backyard
My grandfather hates them
‘Its juice looks like donkey's piss,’ he would say.
He loves to eat meat

Once we went to Hot Yak Café
Located in Yalakudam Street.
It claims to serve yak meat thenthuk
And yak-cheese cakes
‘Yak cheese?’
Grandpa wouldn’t stop laughing.
Acha Tsedon, the owner came and asked,
‘Pola, garey nang song?’ Grandpa wiped the tears from his eyes
‘Can I a have a glass of ox milk?’
He burst out laughing again
Buried his face in the menu
Written in English, Tibetan, Kannada
‘Wozi, Pola nyo yin pa da!’ Acha Tsedon said
She stomped back into the kitchen, upset.

My name is Tenzin
I was in Hot Yak Café
With my grandpa who couldn’t stop laughing –
I elbowed him in the stomach
‘Pola, stop laughing
Everyone's staring at us’
Suddenly he posed dead serious
‘I want a plate of yaksha momo’ he said.
When Acha Tsedon served the momo
Grandpa asked her to sit down —
‘Yak is male. Dri is female.
Dri gives milk. You give milk.
I don’t give milk. Neither does a yak.
No yak milk. No yak cheese.
I am old. You are young.
Yak is big. Dri is small.’

My name is Tenzin
I am Tibetan
I have never seen a yak
But I have a pretty good idea
How it looks.

Have you seen a yak?

Sunday 11 March 2012

Raise the warrior’s sword, my fellow Tibetans

By Theurang or Tashi Rabten*
Translated from Tibetan by Bhuchung D. Sonam

Our courage is fading amidst stacks of religious texts
Our self-confidence is weakening under foreign occupation
My fellow Tibetans of the same blood and flesh
You are being drowned in tears of sorrow
And being bundle up in pain of agony

Crossing the spine of history I enter into your chest
Staring at you, I write these words I want to convey

At a time when this generation, trapped in the leaves of heavy scripture
Is growing old chanting the six syllable mantra over and over again
When each of our ancient forts and ancestral pillars
Shake from inside amidst the growing whirlwinds

When you think about the lice and nits that suck your blood
Sunbathing on the slopes of Marpori
And this ancient land is turned restless and unlivable
Will this soil become a proud new Tibet or
A place where red hands shamelessly strike at their whim?

My fellow Tibetans, who are drowning in my teardrops,
Today a sharp thread is constricting your blood vessels
A book of crooked words is being thrust into your history
A red hand is digging into your chest
A black tongue is buying up your people
Buying them with sweets lies
Buying them with brute force

At a time
When our land is churned inside out in the name of development
When everything is being ordered from top down
When everything is subsumed in rules and regulations
Isn’t this the time
To exercise your fundamental rights
To assert control over your own life
Your consciousness
Your courage
Your wisdom

Utsangpa, your bones no longer have the smell of tsampa
Khampa, your minds are starved of any new thoughts
Amdowa, you are constantly busy in mutual disputes

Now is the time
To call upon the courage of our conquering ancestors
To raise their warriors’ swords
To invoke their martial spirit
To revisit their tombs and pillars

Now is the time
To rise up from the pool of pain
To raise the Snow Lion flag
Now is the time
For each warrior to stand tall
Like torrents of a waterfall
Like flames of fire
Now is the time for each of us
To do anything anytime anywhere

One year, ten years, one hundred years
After many years
From the Potala Square we hear tunes of Tsangyang Gyatso’s songs
We remember the courage of heroes dead from enemy bullets
We evoke the spirits of our lost mountains, lakes and grasslands
We recall those words written in blood
Again and again from the depth of our souls

Hatred, bitterness, pain, shackles,
From the abyss of flesh and bones
Two heavy words are asking a question
They demand an immediate answer
Like …
The US Declaration of Independence
The Hind Swaraj of India
The end of apartheid in South Africa

Courage, heroism, slavery, oppression.
Raise the warriors’ swords, my fellow Tibetans


* Theurang, author of Written in Blood and editor of Shar Dungri or Eastern Snow Mountain (a magazine banned by China), was sentenced to four years in prison on 2 June 2011 by the Chinese authorities in Ngaba, Amdo, northeastern Tibet.

Marpori – literally ‘Red Hill’ on which the Potala Palace was built
Utsangpa – people from Central Tibet
Khampa – people from Kham, Eastern Tibet
Amdowa – people from Amdo, Northeastern Tibet
Tsampa – roasted barley flour, which is Tibet’s staple food
Hind Swaraj – self-rule in India

༄༅། །བཙན་པོའི་རལ་གྲི་ཐོགས་དང་བདག་གི་གདོང་དམར་པ།

བདག་གི་ཁ་བ་ཅན  ཤ་དར་ཁྲག་དར་གྱི་མི་རྣམས་ཡ

དེ་རིང་ ང་ལོ་རྒྱུས་ཀྱི་སྒལ་ཚིགས་སུ་བུད་དེ་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བྲང་ཁོག་སྔོག་གིན་ཡོད
དེ་རིང་ ང་ཁྱེད་ལ་ཅེར་ནས་བླ་སྲོག་གི་སྐད་ཆ་རེ་རེ་ཡེ་གེར་ཕབ་ཀྱིན་ཡོད


ཁྱེད་ལ་ཟ་འཁྲིག་སློང་གིན་པའི ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་ཟུངས་ཁྲག་འཇིབས་ཀྱིན་ཤིག་དང་སྲོ་མང་གི་ཚོགས་ཀྱང་
གཏན་དུ ཐུ་བྷོད་ཅེས་པའི་གསར་བུ་ཞིག་གི་ང་རྒྱལ་གྱི་མགོ་བོ་འཇོག་ས་ཡིན་ནམ

ད་ལྟ རྣོ་ལྕགས་ཀྱི་སྐུད་པ་ཞིག་ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་ཁྲག་རྩའི་སྦུབས་སུ་འཐེན་ཡོད
དུས་འདིར ཁྱེད་ཀྱི་བླ་སྲོག་དང་རྣམ་ཤེས དཔའ་སྟོབས་དང་ཤེས་རབ་ཁོ་ན


ད་ནི རྟུལ་ཕོད་ཀྱི་དཔའ་དང་སྤོབས་པས་རྒྱལ་ཁམས་གནོན་པའི་རང་ཅག་གི་མེས་པོ་ཚོ
མེ་པོ་ཚོའི་རང་གྲིང་དང་དཔའ་སྙིང་ བང་སོ་དང་རྡོ་རིང་

ད་ནི ན་ཟུག་གི་དུད་དུ་འཕག་འཚག་དང་
ད་ནི མི་སྐྱེས་དཔའ་བོའི་ཚོགས་དག་རེ་རེ་བཞིན
རྦབ་ཆུ་ལྟར མེ་འཔུང་ལྟར་འཕྱོ་རན་རེད།
ད་ནི ཅི་ཞིག་ནུས་ན་ཅི་ཡང་བྱེད་རན་ནོ

ལོ་གཅིག ལོ་བཅུ ལོ་བརྒྱ

ཞེ་སྡང ཤ་འཁོན ན་ཟུག ལྕགས་སྒྲོག
རྟུལ་ཕོད དཔའ་མཛངས བྲན་གཡོག གཉའ་གནོན
ཀྱེ་ཀྱེ བཙན་པོའི་རལ་གྲི་ཐོགས་དང་བདག་གི་གདོང་དམར་བ།