Tibetans say ‘Thank You India’ with week-long fest

March 25th, 2009 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Want to see some butter sculptures? Or get some free health advice by Tibetan herbal doctors, or consult an astrologer? You can do all this and more as hundreds of Tibetans come together to begin their week-long “Thank you India” celebrations in the capital Thursday.
Commemorating 50 years in exile, the Tibetan community in India has decided to hold this special thanksgiving festival to show their gratitude to the Indian community for giving them shelter over the last five decades - ever since they fled China in 1959 after a failed uprising.

“We want to thank the Indian government and the people for giving us shelter over the last 50 years. And we also want to tell them that their support has not gone waste. Over these five decades we have preserved our culture and identity while making steady progress in the field of education and health science,” said Kalsang Dagpo, secretary at the Tibetan bureau office in Delhi.

“Therefore in the coming week we will have exhibitions showcasing our handicrafts, have cultural programmes with songs and folk dances, photo exhibitions and a film festival,” Dagpo told IANS.

Some of the highlights of the festival, which will be held at the India International Centre, is a butter sculpture exhibition put up by monks on the Tibetan monastery and free consultation with Tibetan herbal doctors and astrologers.

“We have a Tibetan medical institute whose headquarters are in Dharamsala, but have 50 branches across the country. Three of the branches are in Delhi and two doctors from there are coming for the health exhibition. An astrologer will also be there,” Dagpo said.

The thanksgiving festival in the capital concludes March 31. Similar celebrations will be held in Mumbai, Kolkata, Mysore, Bangalore and Dharamsala as well.

India is home to 100,000 of the 140,000 Tibetans living in exile worldwide.

“Through our protest marches, discussions and demonstrations, many Indians have supported and walked along with us and we just want to thank everyone here for all those times. We also hope that the gesture will continue,” said Lepchang of the Tibetan Youth Congress.

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