Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay addresses the gathering on August 8, commemorating his first year in office as the elected head of the Tibetan people. (Phayul file photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, August 10: A public discussion on reviewing Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay’s first year in office as the elected head of the Tibetan people was held yesterday in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamshala.
The discussion was organised by the National Democratic Party of Tibet, which had campaigned and endorsed Dr Sangay’s candidature for the post during the last general elections.
Former speaker and member of parliament, Karma Chophel, vice-president of the Gu Chu Sum Former Political Prisoners Movement, Lukhar Jam and former president of NDPT, Chime Youngdung were the key speakers.
Speaking first on the 14th Kashag’s three guiding principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance, Lukhar Jam sounded a message of caution on the importance of upholding the principles of democracy over calls for unity.
Drawing from precedence set by other nations, Lukhar noted that democratically elected leaders, once in power, should refrain from relying on the need for unity while underscoring that ‘unity’ must not translate to a necessity for a unified ideology and political stance.
The former political prisoner asserted that the biggest service the present Kashag can accomplish is to support the wishes and aspirations of the Tibetan public. He also urged the 14th Kashag to preserve and enhance the Tibetan democratic system, which he said, is the best tool for the future generations to carry forward the Tibetan struggle.
Chime Youngdung echoed Dr Sangay’s earlier statement of “sense of stability” amongst the Tibetan public following the initial anxiety when the Dalai Lama devolved his entire political authority to the elected Tibetan leadership.
Youngdung also spoke about the Dr Sangay’s popularity and influence inside Tibet, citing instances where Tibetan singers have sung songs in praise of Kalon Tripa.
Karma Chophel, former speaker and a senior parliamentarian, noted that it was too early to either applaud or dismiss the present Kashag’s performance keeping in mind the challenges that Dr Sangay had to face in light of His Holiness’ devolution of power and the stalled dialogue process with China.
He said that the 14th Kashag’s engagement with Tibetans in various settlements and the Kalons’ international tours, especially to Japan and Taiwan, were positive and welcome developments.
A former teacher, Chophel remarked that the concrete steps taken by the Kashag for the transfer of Tibetan schools, currently managed by the Indian government, to the Tibetan Department of Education was one of Dr Sangay’s biggest achievements.
He also pointed out that the Kashag should be proactive about appointing Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, especially after making repeated statements that the Tibetan side is ready to engage in meaningful dialogue with China, anywhere anytime.