Tibetans Divided Over Right to Vote in India

Tibetans Divided Over Right to Vote in India

48,000 Tibetans in India are eligible to vote for the first time this year following a rule change in February, but The Guardian’s Saransh Sehgal reports that some are more eager to embrace this new right than others:

Tenzin Tsundue, an exiled Tibetan poet and activist, said: “We are not immigrants, but political refugees waiting to return home. We cannot settle in exile; our rights are in Tibet, not in India. Indian citizenship may be personally beneficial, but it will leave us divided, culturally diluted and finally get us killed by complacency.”

[…] The community of exiles began when India offered a haven to the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, after he and thousands of his followers fled after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. In recent years, there has been a growing debate within the community about whether or not Tibetans born in India should accept Indian citizenship, something to which they are entitled by birth.

[…] “I feel good about it as I finally got to some identity from no identity – not to be confused with my Tibetan identity, which will not be affected,” said Lobsang Wangyal, a 1970-born exiled Tibetan entrepreneur living in McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan-dominated suburb of Dharamsala. [Source]

Sehgal also describes disagreement on the issue between India’s home and foreign ministries, driven by fear of angering China. See more on the Indian elections at The Guardian.


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