For the last 90 days, 300 Tibetans have been walking through the green fields, valleys, mountains and busy streets of India. Braving the heat, we have covered 1,300 km to walk back to Tibet, our home. Though ours has been a non-violent march, we have spent days in jail. Now we wonder what will happen to us today when we try to enter into Tibet.
The police have been following us, saying they are with us for our security. But the other day they arrested 260 marchers. The rest may soon face a similar fate. Starting from Dharamsala on March 10, the day of the Tibetan National Uprising, we walked down the slopes of Himachal Pradesh and reached the plains of Punjab and Haryana. While passing through Delhi, we paid our respects at the Gandhi Samadhi and then moved towards the Kumaon hills. We passed Didihat and Ascot and from here we see the snow-clad mountains beyond which lies our home.
Many helped us in our journey: we were given food and shelter at gurudwaras, ashrams, schools and villages. When we started, there were 100 Tibetan marchers and eight foreigners. But along the way, more joined us. By the time we reached Delhi, our number had doubled. When we entered Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, the number was 317. But the district administration pushed us back. Along the way, some had dropped out due to illness and injuries. Today, we are 50-strong.
Five Tibetan NGOs launched the Tibetan Uprising Movement in January. They called for volunteers and asked them to pledge non-violence and discipline. But the Dalai Lama wanted us to stop the march. But we want to do this though we know it won’t be easy. The majority of the marchers are monks and nuns; then there are mothers who have left their children behind, boys and girls and some who escaped from Tibet. Those who couldn’t join, help us with funds. I used to live with my friends in Dharamsala and we sold whatever we had to join this march.
Today, at the border town of Dharchula, there will be two groups trying to enter Tibet. We will be the first to reach there. The other comprises Indians going on the Mansarovar pilgrimage. The Indian police might stop us. But the other group will be welcomed by the Chinese military when they cross into Tibet. This march may be stopped. But that's not the end of our struggle. We have figured out other ways to shape the destiny of our country.