Democracy - A new way forward

24 April, 1959

“The mere fact of Dalai Lama living in India has some consequence to India, to Tibet, to China and to the rest of the world. In China it is immediately one of irritation and suspicion. Dalai Lama being in India, keeps alive the question of Tibet in the minds of the world. Tibet, as it were, cannot close up without news. It becomes a difficult thing to manage. The tendency of the Chinese authorities would be to crush Tibet as soon as possible. Nobody can help. I cannot understand how the Khampas can resist overwhelming Chinese force? One should, therefore, not close the doors of settlement; otherwise, it becomes a fight to the death.”
- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,
Transcript of the 1st meeting between His Holiness and Prime Minister Nehru

April - May, 1959

Tibetan Government officials listening to His Holiness in the courtyards of Birla House, Mussoorie.

On 25th April, 1959, His Holiness held a meeting with a few senior Tibetan officials primarily to discuss the rehabilitation of Tibetans in exile, ranging from survival to the preservation of Tibetan identity. Soon after the meeting, on 29th April, 1959, His Holiness established the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as a continuation of the Gaden Phodrang government of independent Tibet, even after the insistence by Nehru that they would never consider a government of Tibet in exile.

20 June, 1959

His Holiness meeting the press for the first time in Mussoorie at Birla House. Seated at the adjacent table reading the press statement are Tibetan government officials Yuthok Jigme Dorje (on the left), and Rinchen Sadutshang (on the right). Behind His Holiness on the extreme left is the Tibetan cabinet minister for Foreign Affairs, Liushar Thupten Tharpa, and next to him is Gyalo Thondup(elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama).

“The Sino-Tibetan Agreement was imposed by the Chinese in accordance with their own desires and has been violated by the Chinese themselves, thus giving rise to a contradiction. Therefore we cannot abide by this.”
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

14 Nov, 1959

His Holiness the Dalai Lama giving evidence before the Legal Inquiry Committee on Tibet chaired by Purushottam Trikamdas seated to his right which was constituted by the Geneva based International Commission of Jurists. Trikamdas was a Supreme Court lawyer and chair of the Inquiry Committee.

The Geneva based International Commission of Jurits constituted the Legal Inquiry Committee on Tibet, which led to two reports by the committee in 1959 and 1960.

Oct, 1959

The Tibetan delegation in front of the United Nations building. L to R: Rinchen Sadutshang, W. D. Shakabpa, Gyalo Thondup.

“We used the report from the International Commission of Jurists in a series of appeals to the United Nations accusing China of invading and occupying Tibet, reiterating that we had never been part of China and accusing China of massive violations of the fundamental rights of the Tibetan People.”
- Gyalo Thondup
The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong

10 March, 1960

Freedom (Rangwang) newspaper was the first newspaper produced and run by Tibetans in the history of Tibet. It was started by Gyalo Thondup and headed by Tsedrung Yeshe Dhargay and printed in Kalimpong. In order to legalize the newspaper, it was initially registered and published under T. Lhawang’s name.

Sept, 1960

First Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies 1960 - 1964.

On 2nd September, 1960, the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputy (CTPD); a democratically elected representative of Tibetans in exile was established. The First Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies had 13 elected members, with three members representing the three regions of Tibet and four members representing the four Buddhist schools.

10 March, 1963

His Holiness speaking to Tibetans at the grounds of Mortimer House on the 4th anniversary of the promulgation of the draft Tibetan constitution on 10 March, 1967.

On 10th March, 1963, after due deliberation, His Holiness promulgated an expanded version of the constitution, consisting of 10 chapters and 77 articles. The constitution had been drafted by Prushottam Trikamdas and based it on the Indian Constitution. He also incorporated articles from other constitutions of Buddhist countries namely Ceylon(Sri Lanka), Burma and Thailand. The draft consisted of modern democratic values along with those of traditional Tibetan values.

7 Oct, 1971

The founding members Tenzin Gyeche Tethong (the Congress’s first President), Lodi Gyari, Sonam Topgyal and Tenzin Namgyal Tethong convened the first Tibetan Youth meeting on 7th October, 1970 at the Tibetan Dance, Music and Drama Society and at the end of that meeting, the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) was formed.

30 July, 1972

A group of Tibetan students studying in Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (CIHTS) requested the 4th CTPD to convene a people’s representative convention which was then held in July 1972. This meeting led to the setting up of Tibetan Freedom Movement sub- committees (Bhod Rangwang Denpai Legul Tsog Chung) in all the Tibetan Settlement.

On 30th July, 1972 a resolution was passed which stated that all Tibetans over the age of six would be required to make annual contributions in the form of Chatrel to respect and legitimize the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The payment of Chatrel based on this resolution was formally adopted into law on 1st April, 1992, and is now under article 13 of the Charter of Tibetans-in-Exile.

August, 1979

In August 1979, the first delegation led by Juchen Thubten Namgyal left Dharamsala for Beijing. During their six months stay in Tibet, wherever they went, they were received by thousands of Tibetans who recounted the terrible tragedies that they had faced under the Chinese regime.

In May 1980, the second delegation led by Tenzin Namgyal Tethong arrived in Beijing, and a month later the third delegation was led by Jetsun Pema to investigate the state of education inside Tibet. The third delegation travelled inside Tibet for 125 days in July, 1980 and a planned fourth delegation was cancelled. Eventually in 1985, the fourth delegation led by Kundeling Woeser Gyaltsen left Dharamsala for Tibet but their visit was restricted to Amdo.

10 Sept, 1984

The Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) was started on 12th March, 1959 in Tibet with the women led protest. It was briefly re- established in Kalimpong on 12th March, 1960. However, the present Tibetan Women’s Association was re-instated on 10th September 1984 in Dharamsala with Rinchen Khando as its first president with 12 branches in India.

21 Sept, 1987

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Human Rights Caucus of the U.S. Congress on 21 September, 1987 in Washington DC. Congressman and Caucus Chair Tom Lantos on his left.

His Holiness outlined his Five Point Peace Plan at the caucus.

15 June, 1988

After outlining the Five Point Peace Plan, His Holiness presented the Strasbourg Proposal at the European Parliament on 15th June, 1988, as a framework for a negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue. He presented a detailed proposal elaborating on the Five Point Peace Plan.

10 Dec, 1989

On 10th December, 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize from Egil Arvik, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway.