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Politics of Displacement


Lakhan Mehrotra

EXILE AS CHALLENGE: THE TIBETAN DIASPORA
Edited by Dagmar Bernstoff and Hubertus von Welck
Orient Longman, New Delhi, 2004, pp. 488, Rs. 450.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

The entry of Chinese troops in Tibet in the wake of the Chinese Revolution and the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China led to the exodus of more than a hundred thousand refugees across the Himalayas into India, Nepal and Bhutan in a continuous stream for decades which is still continuing, not in massive waves as before but in smaller numbers. In addition, according to the Tibetan Democratic Survey carried out by the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala, another 30000 have fanned out across the globe into other parts of the world. A number of research scholars and writers both from the East and the West have spent their time and effort to catalogue their lives and experiences both in Tibet before they fled and afterwards during the journey into the unknown in lands near and far. Some of those works like Tibetan Society in Exile by Jayanti Allan, The Renaissance of Tibetan Civilization by Christoph von Furer-Heimendorf, Tibetans in India by T.C. Palakshappa, The Uprooted Tibetans in India by Girija Saklani and Flight and Adaptation by Tanka B.Subba stand out as critical studies on the subject. However the latest in the series of publications namely Exile As Challenge: the Tibetan Diaspora, first published in German and now by Orient Longman in English is an encyclopedic presentation on the life of these refugees and would remain a primer for students of Tibetan history and culture for time to come.   Exile As Challenge is a literary compendium covering in fairly good detail and with a very high degree of objectivity the historical and political framework of the Tibetan question, the Tibetan society in exile and issues related to their return to Tibet. It spans splendidly not just the story of their lives during the past five decades of their exile but the panorama of Tibetan history and culture going back to some 2000 years. It is a matter of fact presentation of the life of Tibetan refugees in settlements in South Asia and other parts of the globe, holding a mirror to their past and their present day existence and combining it with a peep into their future.   Some of the ablest writers have been chosen to present these facts and the conclusions that can be drawn from them about the warp and woof of the present day life of the refugees from the Roof of the World. An interview ...


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