In an earlier time, when Tibet was an independent country, Tibetans used to visit Calcutta the port city which was the only gateway for Tibet the land locked country. Tibetan trade office was based in in the hill station Kalimpong. Young Tibetans came to Calcutta in the quest of modern education; they studied in St Xavier’s college and Shanti Niketan and then returned to their home in the mountains.
Tibetans used to come to India on pilgrimages to Bodh Gaya and Banares. Indians used to go for parikrama around the holy mount Kailash and receive darshan of the Manasarover. Much trade happened on the width and stretch of the Himalayas.
Ever since the Chinese occupation of Tibet from 1949, that peace was disturbed. Now the Tibetans are suppressed and persecuted for insisting on their culture. Millions of Chinese have settled in Tibet making Tibetans a minority in their own country, threatening the very existence of Tibetans as a people and culture. In exile, the Tibetans have found a second home in India. Here the Tibetans dream of a free Tibet. A dream which is nurtured and now growing with every new generation of Tibetans. Tibetans in India have a chance to preserve their traditonal culture at the same time learning new things from the new world.
Ganjong Doeghar, a Tibetian cultural initiative, is one such effort by exiled Tibetans to preserve their culture, which is being systematically destroyed in Tibet at the hands of People’s Republic of China.
Friends of Tibet (India) brings yaks, snow-lions, the Tibetan gypsies and a host of other Tibetan dancers and singers to Kolkata for an evening. The Tibetan programme includes Dances of the Yaks. The programme will begin with a heart wrenching film Escape from Tibet which tells the story of two brothers escaping their homeland and surviving in a daunting situation.
The evening will witness Gangjong Doeghar Dance troupe from Kalimpong descend down to Kolkata and do their usual magic by winning the hearts of the audience with their dance and music. Do come and bring along your family and friends, or just inform those who can come for the Tibetan evening.
Source: Friends of Tibet newsletter