Dharamsala: The Upper Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) School began its 58th founding anniversary celebrations today with ‘Thank you India’ as its central theme for the year.
The first of three-day celebration was graced by 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa Rinpoche as the chief guest. President Dr Lobsang Sangay attended the event as the Guest of Honour. Other distinguished guests of the occasion were the Kalon of Department of Religion and Culture Ven Karma Gelek Yuthok, Speaker of 16th Tibetan Parliament Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, members of the Kashag, Secretaries and officials of Central Tibetan Administration, representatives of various NGOs, TCV 20 Years Service Award Recipients, TCV Alumni class of 1993 Batch and longtime supporters and donors of TCV.
Hundreds of Tibetans gathered at the school to witness the opening ceremony. The three-day celebration includes athletics meet, art exhibitions, debates and cultural shows.
This year’s celebration has been dedicated towards thanking the Government of India and the state government of Himachal Pradesh for their generosity and hospitality. “Thank You India” is part of the official “2018 Year of Gratitude” flagged off by the Central Tibetan Administration.
The chief guest, Tai Situpa Rinpoche and CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay in their remarks offered rich tributes to the centuries-old friendship shared by India and Tibet and remarked that India was and remains the greatest host and supporter of Tibet.
“For many centuries, eminent scholars, Lamas and accomplished masters of India and Tibet had collaborated in producing a vast literary corpus, which was translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Due to their kindness and hard labour, Tibetans today are the proud custodian of the sacred and monumental works of both literature and Buddhism,” Rinpoche addressed the event.
While he celebrated the period as the most glorious chapter in the annals of Tibet, Rinpoche expressed concerns over the preservation efforts of this corpus of knowledge in the common sectors of society.
“Tibetan language has great potential as a vehicle for bringing peace in the world. Tibetan culture and language which are deeply embedded in the Buddhist doctrine are a perennial source of pride. Acquiring the skills and knowledge of this language is paramount to ably serving the humanity,” Rinpoche said.
Concluding his remarks, Rinpoche reiterated his belief in the intrinsic usefulness of every human being to contribute positively to a more meaningful world.
“As human beings, all of us have something valuable to share. We should start our day by consciously making efforts to create positive environment around us. We should make sure that our teachings of compassion and tolerance are not abstract ideas but it should reflect in our daily actions and practices,” he concluded.
Addressing the celebrations, President Dr Lobsang Sangay applauded the Tibetan Children’s Village for their 58 years of service in the field of education and congratulated Education Kalon Dr Pema Yangchen as the first TCV alumni to be appointed in Kashag. He also noted that Kalon Dr Yangchen’s leadership has brought significant progress in the activities of the Department of Education.
Speaking on the ‘Five-Fifty Vision,’ President said the vision is premised on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice to “Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst. The vision calls for maximizing efforts to resolve the Tibet issue in five years based on the Middle Way Approach while ensuring CTA’s resilience to sustain the Tibetan freedom struggle and preserve Tibetan culture for the next fifty years if needed.”
He further stressed, “our plan is not to stay in exile for fifty years, but our plan is to plan for fifty if needed.”
Dr Sangay also discussed education as an important part of CTA’s Five Fifty vision and how informed and educated youths form the greatest asset of a country. He asked the young students to become contributors to the Tibetan cause through education.
Speaking about the yearlong Thank you India events, President Dr Sangay hailed the movement a great success, saying that the successive event in Karnataka and others held in the west have garnered immense support and admiration from the respective leaders.
Next, Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, in his remarks, recognised and thanked the Tibetan Children’s Village for creating a wealth of opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Tibetan children.
“With the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and unparalleled leadership of Jetsunma Kusho Tsering Dolma and later Kasur Jetsun Pema, sisters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Children’s Village have enriched thousands of lives with golden opportunity of education and produced a legion of contributors to Tibetan cause in its 58 years of service,” Speaker said.
President of TCV, Thupten Dorjee said: “TCV started as a small nursery for Tibetan refugee children and here we are in fact the largest educational institution within the Tibetan diaspora in exile. This has come about because of the immeasurable support of the Indian government and our sponsors and friends across the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported TCV from its scratch.
The celebration was marked with students contingent march past, cultural performances and callisthenics display.
To symbolise ‘Thank You India,’ over 740 students displayed callisthenic formation representing the love and gratitude felt by Tibetans. While junior students presented a tribute song to Kasur AmaJetsun Pema, the senior students performed Tibetan traditional dance.
The inter-house athletics meet will be held tomorrow followed by TCV alumni of 1993 batch gathering on the third day.
TCV is the largest residential school of the exiled Tibetan community. It was founded in 1960 as a nursery with 51 children. TCV has become an integrated educational community for Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet each year. With established branches in India extending from Ladakh in the North to Bylakuppe in the South, TCV has over 15,000 children under its care. It is a registered, nonprofit charitable organisation with headquarter based at Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh, North India.