Tibetan orphans hope to visit Tibet one day

Bangalore, Nov 24 (Inditop.com) Achoe does not remember much of his childhood in Tibet. The 18-year-old, now in an orphanage in Karnakata, left his motherland when he was around four. But all these years, all he has yearned for is to go back home and meet his relatives.

“I have no knowledge about my family back in Tibet. I left Tibet when I was a small kid and been in Bylakuppe ever since. I hardly get news about my people. However, one day I would like to go back to Tibet and meet my family,” Achoe — a resident of Tibetan SOS Children’s Village — told IANS, on the sidelines of a three-day Tibetan cultural festival which got under way here Nov 22.

Similar is the predicament of Yangchen, a 17-year-old resident of the same orphanage in Bylakuppe, around 250 km from here.

“I was too small to remember anything about Tibet. I have no home in Tibet. Thus it’s been almost 12 years and I am staying in the children’s village. I too would one day like to go back to Tibet and meet my family and friends,” said Yangchen.

Achoe is in Class 11 and Yangchen in Class 12 at the school in the children’s village, both in the commerce stream.

It’s not just the youngsters but elders too, who have been staying in India for several decades, yearn to go back to Tibet soon.

Dhondup Tsering, the 52-year-old principal of the children’s village who has been in India for 49 years, wants to go back to Tibet now.

“My uncle brought me to India when I was three years old. I have not seen my parents since I left them. I heard that both are dead now,” said Tsering, blinking back tears. He has been working at the orphanage for 16 years.

“Almost similar is the fate of all Tibetan refugees in India. All of us want an end to Chinese occupation of Tibet so that we can go back to Tibet,” Kunga Dorjee, an official of the Central Tibetan Administration (South Zone), Bangalore, told Inditop.

“The cultural event here is to thank India, the country and its people, for providing homes to Tibetan refugees for five long decades,” added Dorjee.

Around 50 children from the orphanage are here for the festival. They showcased traditional Tibetan folk dances, including Namkha Yarla (sky cloud), a dance from central Tibet, on the first day of the event. The children also sang a special “Thank you India” song.

The event at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath here has been organised by the department of information and international relations, central Tibetan administration (in exile), Dharamsala, joined by the office of the chief representative and the five Tibetan settlements in Karnataka.

“The Tibetan cultural festival brought to Bangalore ‘chaam’ dance, monastic chanting, film screenings, documentary shows, panel discussions, lectures and other cultural events, depicting the socio-political life of Tibetans,” said Dorjee.

The Tibetan SOS Children’s Village at Bylakuppe was opened in 1981. Today it is home to 1,514 boys and girls in the age group of six to 22. While providing formal education, the orphanage ensures that all the children under its care get a firm cultural identity and become self-reliant.

It’s been five decades since thousands of Tibetan refugees made India their home after a failed uprising against Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Of the 120,000-odd Tibetan refugees in India, about 44,000 reside in the five settlements in the state — one in Chamrajnagar, two in Bylakuppe, one in Hunsur and one in Mundgod in Uttara Kannada district.