Monday, April 12, 2010
More on Karmapa
A rather thoughtless petition originating from Dharma Centers in the US has been circulating. It is addressed to Sonia Gandhi. It says inter alia: “We believe the Indian government’s actions in this situation are inequitable and unjustified. The broader issue, which we address, is one of the Karmapa’s basic human rights. The Karmapa is not a criminal, why is he treated as such? …The unreasonable and inconsiderate practice of confining him in India is a violation of his human rights and a blatant abuse of his freedom for religious expression.”
It requests the Government of India “to address the unlawful confinement of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa. We petition for his immediate release from confinement in Sidbhari (India)”.
One doubts that it will have the desired effect; on the contrary, it is bound to create more doubts in the mind of those who believe that the young Lama is being manipulated from abroad.
The probable reaction will be, “If the Karmapa is not happy in India, he is free to go to the US, nobody will stop him”.
While recently discussing the issue with an official who had been involved with the Karmapa issue, I was told: “Tibetans have only themselves to blame for having produced three Karmapas (I knew of two only). You can’t blame on the Government of India, when there is a dispute (and court cases) between Tibetans. It is partly of Tibetan making.”
Unfortunately, he has a point.
Zealous supporters should have kept the foreign visit on a low key and not tried to unnecessarily boost the image of ‘their’ leader. In such a case, difficulties are bound to arise. I still remember the first visit of the Dalai Lama in Europe in 1973; at that time there were a lot of doubts in Government circles, but the Tibetan leader did everything to keep it low key. He was wise.