Tibetan, Indian, Burmese activists learn Gandhian tactics

Phayul, May 04, 2010

“Be ready to become the unsociable, and face criticism” said Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the exile Tibetan government based here. The former academician and Gandhian was speaking to a group of nonviolent social and political activists in a training programme currently underway at the House of Peace and Dialogue in upper TCV school. “We do not have to become unsociable, but we have to understand limitation of so called modern civilization which itself is very evil.”

The five day training program on nonviolence “Understanding Swaraj” workshop, which began on April 2, is organized by Swaraj Peeth Trust as a part of their Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (GGMS). GGMS was founded last year after a conference of more than 100 intellectuals and authorities on Gandhian philosophy and education where His Holiness the Dalai Lama was requested to be the leader of the Global Gandhian Movement.

“The participants are hardcore activists involved in difficult and challenging issues like the Kosi river rehabilitation in Bihar, the Burmese democracy movement, the Dantewada tribal rights movement, Gandhi education programme for children, and of course the Tibetan freedom struggle,” said Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan activist who is among the members of the organizing committee. “Developing purity in motivation and high moral character is a constant process, there is no finality, but for an activist these basic strengths are vital” he added.

“Training is to master the means, and to bring clarity to the vision and thoughts” said Rajiv Vora, Gandhian and Chairman of the Swarajpeeth. Rajiv Vora and his wife Niru Vora have been involved in training Tibetan and the Burmese activists in the Gandhian principles of nonviolence for a long time.

The participants also will hear Shantideva’s teaching on compassion from Geshe Pema Dorjee, former principal of Sarah institute of Buddhist studies.

Nine Tibetan activists from Nepal shared experiences of their activism and about their getting beaten up and jailed at almost every protest they undertook.

This is the first of the many series of workshops GGMS will be conducting as per their 2009 conference resolution. The participants will also visit the Tibetan community, schools and monasteries in Dharamsala. The training will end on May 7, 2010.