Tibetans play music to protest leader?s execution

By Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times, November 29, 2004

Dharamsala, India -- THE INCREASING anxiety of Tibetans regarding the impending execution of their religious leader Tulku Tenzin Delek, manifested into a novel and creative method of protest on late Sunday evening.

While the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has already launched a campaign at McLeodganj, including a relay hunger strike, a group of youth belonging to different Tibetan NGOs brought together a large gathering of people at the abode of the Dalai Lama to protest China?s death sentence in a different style?though a music concert.

Brainchild of Regional Tibetan Youth Congress of Dharamsala, Friends of Tibet (India), and Students For A Free Tibet (India), about 25 singers and musicians too lend support to the cause, drawing local people as well as foreign tourists.

The official Tibetan music band of Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) broke the ice with a scintillating song dedicated to the life and sacrifice of Tulku. Besides local bands like JJI Exile Brothers, there were musicians from Denmark and Scotland. Local Indian band Badal too joined enthusiastically to stand up with their Tibetan guests.

After the music it was time for poetry reading and story telling about the prison life of ex-political prisoners who had escaped from Tibet recently. ?We have to devise new ways to keep the struggle alive,? said a young Tibetan.

One of the organisers, a youth leader and writer Tenzin Tsundue said, ?The power of music brings people together and there has been a strong tradition of protesting through music all over the world.?

All in all, a big crowd hustled together on a late chilly evening, making a strong case for the release of Tulku, but in an ingenious way.