Saturday, March 29, 2008

Damdul’s crusade inspires wife

- Shillong Tibetan’s family ready to make ‘supreme sacrifice’ for freedom


Shillong, March 28: Tsering Dolma’s face shows no signs of pain. What shines bright in her eyes is the fierce determination of a woman who is ready to die for a cause for which her husband tried to give his life on Wednesday.

Tsering, wife of Shillong-based Tibetan Kalsang Damdul, who attempted self-immolation on Wednesday on the Sikkim-Bengal border, today said she and her two-year-old son were ready for the “supreme sacrifice” for Tibet and its people. Damdul had said his action was spurred by his “inner voice”.

Cradling her child at their Jhalupara residence in Shillong, Tsering said she was “brimming with courage and confidence” after the brave act by her husband. “For the sake of Tibet, we are ready to sacrifice our lives and even our child.”

There are nearly 700 Tibetans in various parts of Shillong. Most of them either run restaurants or sell fruits and clothing.

It was on March 16 that Damdul, a member of Tibetan Youth Congress along with 79 other Shillong Tibetan youths, went to the Sikkim border. Their plan was to cross Nathu-la and reach Tibet to give support to the anti-China campaign.

“I was supposed to go along with my husband to Sikkim, but my mother-in-law did not let me,” Tsering said.

She said Damdul called up from Sikkim after the headline-grabbing incident.

Born in Shillong, Tsering believes that one day her dream of a free land will be fulfilled. “We are in exile since 1959. There should be more pressure from India on China for a peaceful settlement.”

To get the support of the people of Meghalaya, Tsering took the initiative to start a signature campaign in Shillong.

Damdul’s younger brother Tenam is also a proud member of the team from Shillong.

Tashi Lhamo — who runs a restaurant at Barabazar in the Meghalaya capital — sent his 22-year-old son, Tenzin Dukgyal, along with the team. “They went first to Siliguri and from there, they proceeded on foot to Sikkim,” Tashi said. The team, however, was not allowed to cross over to Tibet.

Nima Palmo, another woman, had also sent her son to the Nathu-la border. She came to know later that the Shillong delegation was not allowed to cross over into Tibet.