Turning away from grim realities of Tibet I’d like to turn to local life – it’s back with a vengeance!
Today was one of the warmest days of the season in Dharamsala, surely higher than +20C.
Just a month ago the main square of McLeod was like this with few Punjabis exhilarated by snow, white wonder.
A cafe in my place opened finally today. I ordered pizza for evening, Mohan (owner) makes pizza exactly like in Pizza Hut, with fat panbase and thick fillings.
I also bought tickets, for bus to Delhi then train to Gorakhpur – soon I will be on the road again.
I will report everything unusual I’ll see.
Today I went down to McLeod Ganj, the place where Dalai Lama lives.
Unfortunately I didn’t take camera with me, I could make a picture of big tent in Tibetan colors set up on the corner of main square next to the oldest building in town, Nowrojee House.
Tibetans filled the tent and were sitting on hunger strike to protest China’s policies in Tibet, where spate of tragic self-immolations by young monks continues. Last sad news came in the morning.
This picture of 1st from recent immolations. Tapey, monk from Kirti monastery, set himself on fire on February 27, 2009, then he was shot dead by Chinese armed police.
After Tapey more than 20 young Tibetans ended their life with such gruesome method, most of them in 2011.
Tibetan exiles in India watch plight of their brethren in Tibetan areas of China with desperation and come out protesting Chinese policy.
Soon India hosts BRICS summit and president Hu Jintao is expected to visit New Delhi.
Tibetan protests make Indian police & authorities extremely nervous, they keep vigil and try to thwart Tibetan demonstrations not to embarrass their dear guest Mr Hu.
You can read further about recent self-immolations and implications for Tibetans and Chinese policies in the region in Man on Fire, article by Bhuchung Tsering
Recently in my home in Dharamsala there was no electricity for many days because heavy snowfall damaged electrical wires. Trying to kill time I reread the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, or rather their Russian translation in two volumes of “All about India.”
Indian religion is incredibly vital & naturalistic, almost all deities can be found among natural phenomena. Many gods related to water, god of rain, god of thunder, goddesses of rivers and lakes. They are deeply revered and extolled as the most sacred creations.
Waters are divine, “they take away all filth, I’m out of them cleaned and undefiled.” Besides the utilitarian properties of water are highly valued: its purity, healing, effects on vegetation, animal health, and therefore on welfare of people.
In the documentary “House – a date with the planet” there is an episode illustrating importance of water for Indians, especially nowadays due to depletion of underground water sources.
Due to climate change and population growth Indian civilization is becoming increasingly fragile, dependent on the strength of annual monsoon rains as Russia depends on oil prices.
I was in Angkor Wat several times and once I saw a group of Cambodian ballet dancers posing for tourists in the last courtyard near the main temple. Tower was closed that day but view of exotic dancers was more than rewarding for missing chance to climb upstairs.
Thais are very practical people and use everything for their profit. One more evidence I saw on Saturday bazaar on main square of Chiang Mai. One guy near the gate to Old City was selling souvenirs made from used Coke’s cans. Such practicality!
In downtown Yangon there is golden Sule stupa, said to be many thousands years old. I don’t believe it’s so old, likely some hundreds years but it’s pretty landmark reminding visitors about Buddhist heritage of Myanmar.