My Tibetanness by Tenzin Tsundue

Thirty-nine years in exile.

Yet no nation supports us.

Not a single bloody nation!


We are refugees here.

People of a lost country.

Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world’s sympathy stock.

Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;

one lakh and several thousand odd,

nicely mixed, steeped

in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.


At every check-post and office,

I am an “Indian-Tibetan”,

My Registration Certificate,

I renew every year, with a salaam.

A foreigner born in India.


I am more of an Indian.

Except for my Chinky Tibetan face.

“Nepali?” “Thai?”  “Japanese?”

“Chinese?” “Naga?” “Manipuri?”

but never the question—“Tibetan?”


I am Tibetan.

But not from Tibet.

Never been there.

Yet I dream

of dying there. 


printed with persmission given in KORA by Tenzin Tsundue @ 2002


  1. ichabod said,

    August 3, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Hi 47whitebuffalo;

    Albert Einstein once said ““Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind.”

    I am starting to think old Al was right. 🙂

    • August 3, 2009 at 2:45 am

      Perhaps he was, Coal. Perhaps it depends on what form the ‘nationalism’ takes and what’s inovled. I so wish there were NO borders anywhere. In nature there are only the ‘borders’ of rivers and mountains and such natural barriers between one location and another…people create borders that are otherwise invisible. Yet, animals do mark their territory ….

      • ichabod said,

        August 3, 2009 at 3:03 am

        Hi 47whitebuffalo;

        Yes, animals do mark their territory, for only the time they are there.

        I do not think it passes on from generation to generation and they only take what they need.

  2. August 3, 2009 at 7:44 am

    nice one buffalo,
    fits well and louder in my latest serious…

    ‘Tibetans: the world’s sympathy stock’ – beautiful line, might be that this one sum up one of the greatest problem in Tibet current world problem. i am admire of the peace way the DL holding His ‘fight’ though, now doing the course i am doing, i am actually more aware of many subtle things all around….

    yet, it is good to bring on the call.
    i am not optimistic, though, china is too strong player those days, and nobody would really like to fight with, not for some people from the top of the wrold..

    • August 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm

      Hi UP, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, the strong are ‘strong’ in many ways. But everything evolves and as Trekker wrote–healing–healing does wonders for even ‘the strong’. Hopefully something besides ‘fighting’ will bring about positive change. shanti to all

      wakan tanka moves in myseterious ways…I claim no comprehension of the ways of the universe

  3. Forrester McLeod said,

    August 3, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    This is such a sad and longing piece. Lovely in the way it communicates ‘lost’. Ugh. It’s a beautiful gesture on your part to post this. I think I understand why.

    My son and I have been boycotting China for years for this very reason. It’s difficult and in some instances we cave as looking for other options can be exhausting, or in the case of electronics, almost impossible. Then there are times when we are broke. Other times we’ll just do without if ‘made in China’ is the only product available. We have other reasons for this boycott, but learning of the rape of Tibet is what started it.

    I know our own government (US) does horrendous things of which I am not proud at all and I would fully understand other peoples of the world boycotting what little output we have. So I don’t mean to offend anyone here… apologies if I”ve done so. I have nothing whatsoever against Chinese people individually.

    We went up to San Francisco and joined the protest of the Olympic torch being run through Tibet. Achingly sad. Talk about a HUGE ‘FFFFFFF YOU!’ to the Tibetan people.

    Healing, Healing, Healing. We need so many wounds to heal…I believe the great teachers who say all we can do is heal our own thoughts, minds, actions, and the world will follow. But, there are times when it’s very difficult not to speak up about what’s going on ‘over there’…

    • August 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm

      Forrester, if speaking truth offends some–that is their difficulty to overcome. Much appreciate you sharing your experience in SF with protest of the torch–what incredible irony surrounds the entire concept of the Olympics when it seems to deny reality. There’s a quote –perhaps some one else knows it and if I misquote they’ll serve it up correctly—
      –evil triumphs when good ‘men’ remain silent–

      anyone who knows which quote I’m reaching for, please bring it here..thanks

      And I agree with you Forrester, I have nothing against the Chinese people–they contend with much.

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