In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • "Little Lhasa," Tibetans in Exile
  • Amina Muhtar (bio)

In 1959, the Tibetan government was forced into exile following an uprising with China. During the ensuing guerilla warfare that lasted fifteen years, Tibet witnessed the death of thousands of citizens. The Dalai Lama and his followers escaped to a hidden valley in the high hills of Dharamsala, India and settled in McLeod Ganj. McLeod Ganj has now become a center for the Tibetan refugee society in India. It boasts a strong resemblance to Lhasa, the original capital of Tibet. In McLeod Ganj many Tibetans have finally found peace, stability, and a local community willing to accept their differences. McLeod Ganj has become their "Little Lhasa." This photo essay illustrates the Tibetan minority in exile in India on their quest to preserve their culture and religion. [End Page 153]


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On March 10, 1959, an uprising in the Tibet capital of Lhasa against Chinese communist reforms led to the exile of the Tibetan government to India.

[End Page 154]


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The high hills of the village McLeod Ganj in the Dharamsala municipality of Himachal Pradesh, India.

[End Page 155]


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The influx of Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala made the area more active and a major Buddhist center with many monasteries.

[End Page 156]


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Tourism in McLeod Ganj contributes significantly to the livelihoods of many Tibetan refugees.

[End Page 157]


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Monks preparing for the daily rituals of their monastery.

[End Page 158]


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The "lama" of the monastery leads the prayer rituals by chanting and throwing food, flowers, and grains into a fire.

[End Page 159]


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Religion and prayers are central to the life of the monks in Tibetan monasteries.

[End Page 160]


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These two objects are used by the monks in their rituals to clear their minds of stress and world matters. On the left is a bell that represents "wisdom, emptiness, and nirvana" and next to it is a thunderbolt which represents the "power to cut through ignorance" (According to an article on Tibetan Buddhist Objects, Rituals, and Temples available at http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=219&catid=6&subcatid=34).

[End Page 161]


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Many Tibetan Buddhists send their children to monasteries.

[End Page 162]


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A young monk is seen here playing an active role in the monastic rituals.

[End Page 163]


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Tibetan prayer flags are strung up all over McLeod Ganj along paths, outside homes, and in temples. They are believed to purify the air and bring prosperity and happiness to the people who tied them.

[End Page 164]


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In the monastery of the Dalai Lama, Tsuglagkhang, Tibetan monks are actively debating. Debates are central to their religious practices and have a unique physicality marked by clapping and forceful sweeping gestures.

[End Page 165]


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Negotiations between China and the Tibet government-in-exile have picked up in the past decade but the outlook concerning Tibet's sovereignty remains bleak.

[End Page 166]

Amina Muhtar

Amina Muhtar is an MA Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. In addition to her background in Finance, International Development, and African studies, Amina is an avid photographer and has a passion for photojournalism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 153-166
Launched on MUSE
2011-04-14
Open Access
No
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