Archive | September 17, 2009

Tibetan Democracy in Action at the Parliament Session

For some time now, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile has been telecasting (to people in Dharamsala) live its proceedings when it is in session. Currently the Parliament is meeting in Dharamsala. It has also been webcasting the same on www.tibetonline.tv.

Howver, except for a brief time when I happened to be in Dharamsala when it was in session, I have not been able to watch the past proceedings on account of the time difference. The session hours are such that it is night here in the United States when they begin and even though I am somewhat of a morning person by the time I am up the next day the session is over.

But this morning I got up rather early as I wanted to get a taste of the proceedings. When I logged on, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche was there giving his response to some of the issues raised by the members. Thereafter, there was a discussion on a draft bill concerning another conference of the Tibetan people that is being proposed the next year or the next.

During the brief time that I watched, I saw quite a few members take part in the discussions.  There were strong criticisms of the Executive Branch’s policies relating to the welfare of Tibetans around Shimla and in Nepal. I also saw heated moments when members bluntly challenged the Kalon Tripa and other officials to be accountable. There were times when members touched on the core of the Tibetan polity and the nature of Tibetan democracy in the post 1991 period. They included the issues of the authority of H.H. the Dalai Lama as well as the role of the members.

There were also times when some members referred to the “expressed wish” of His Holiness as well as to clauses in the Tibetan Charter-in-Exile to support their contention. Thus, although the debate will continue as to how perfect Tibetan democracy is, or whether democracy is the end or the means to an end to the Tibetan people, I at least felt this morning that I was seeing some aspect of democracy with Tibetan characteristics in action at the Parliament.

Anyone interested in watching the same, you have till September 19 when the current session closes.

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