Sunday, March 31, 2019

Have the Serfs been Emancipated?

On March 28, China celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Introduction of the Reforms in Tibet and the Serfs’ Emancipation Day.
Sixty years ago, following an uprising of the entire population, the Tibetan capital witnessed the massacre of thousands of Tibetans …Communist reforms could finally be introduced.
Last week, the Chinese media reported: “Representatives from various ethnic groups and walks of life gathered in the Potala Palace square in Lhasa to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the campaign of democratic reform in Tibet.”
The colonial mindset is immediately apparent: “various ethnic groups”, as if Tibetans belonged to different ethnic groups.
Of course, today the Tibetans are a minority in their native land, but the media should have written that “Tibetans and Hans have gathered” near the Potala.

Who is the Boss?
Another telling detail, the report started thus: “At 10 a.m., Losang Jamcan, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, declared the opening of the celebration meeting in both Tibetan and Mandarin, which was followed by a solemn ceremony of raising the national flag and singing the national anthem.”
Lobsang Gyaltsen (the correct spelling of his name), is the Chairman of the People’s Congress of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and the TAR’s Deputy Secretary; he is also a member of the CCP’s Central Committee
What is strange is that Lobsang Gyaltsen spoke before the Party’s Secretary (Wu Jingjie), though the Communist protocol is always extremely strict.
But after having proclaimed that sixty years ago, the Tibetan people have become their own masters, it would have not looked nice, if the Party Secretary, always from the Han nationality, would have spoken before a Tibetan.
A small adjustment of the protocol was necessary for the grand show.
Incidentally, not a single Tibetan has ever made it as Party Secretary in Tibet.
Why? Simply, because despite the propaganda, Beijing does not trust the Tibetans.
Look at the list of Party Secretary in Tibet (the most famous is President Hu Jintao):
Gen Zhang Guohua, (January 1950 - June 1951)
Gen Fan Ming (June 1951 - December 1951)
Gen Zhang Jingwu (March 1952 - August 1965)
Zhang Guohua (September 1965 - until the beginning of the Cultural Revolution)
Ren Rong (August 1971 - March 1980)
Gen Yin Fatang (March 1980 - June 1985)
Wu Jinghua (June 1985 - December 1988)
Hu Jintao (December 1988 - November 1992)
Chen Kuiyuan (November 1992 - September 2000)
Guo Jinlong (September 2000 - December 2004)
Yang Chuantang (December 2004 - November 2005)
Zhang Qingli (November 2005 - May 2006)
Zhang Qingli (May 2006 - August 2011)
Chen Quanguo (August 2011 -2016)
Wu Jingjie (Aug-16, 2016 till date)
The Function in Lhasa
Let us come back to the report of the function.
Xinhua explained: “In March 1959, the Chinese central government dissolved the aristocratic local government of Tibet and freed more than 1 million serfs, making them the masters of the nation and society.”
In several previous posts, I have shown that the so-called Emancipation of the Serfs is pure history rewriting of the events of 1959.
Wu Yingjie, the Party Chief, followed his deputy on the rostrum.
He solemnly declared: “Tibet has made historic achievements and undergone tremendous changes since the democratic reform that started 60 years ago,” and added: “The democratic reform completely obliterated the feudal serfdom of theocracy, changed the production relations of the old Tibet, smashed the shackles of feudal spirit and culture and freed local people from feudal political oppression.”
Wu asserted: “The democratic reform is a major historic event in Tibet's development and human rights advancement.”
I wonder if Wu really know what happened at the end the 1950s in Tibet?

The Reforms in Tibet
Interestingly, in January 1957, while on a visit to India, Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Premier had long discussions with Prime Minister Nehru on the introduction of the so-called reforms. It was decided to postpone them at least for six or seven years.
In the course of the conversation with the Indian Prime Minister, Zhou pointed a finger at non-existing foreigners in Lhasa: “those bent on trouble are preparing for an incident in Lhasa. These people have some armed forces. Some three temples in Lhasa have also armed forces and they want to create an incident with the People's Liberation Army there. If it happened, then there would be bloodshed.”
Nehru did not react.
Is it not strange than two years later, the Tibetan resistance was centered around three ‘temples’ or religious places (Ramoche, Norbulinka and Chakpori)?
Did Zhou already know what would happen in March 1959?
Although there was no ‘foreigner’ in Lhasa, except for the Indian staff of the Consulate General, the bloodshed indeed took place in March 1959; it helped Mao to firmly consolidate the position of the Communist regime, which continues to control the restive nation with an iron hand.

The Communist Party views

According to historian Melvyn Goldstein, the issue of the revolt was discussed in Beijing by the Party leadership as early as 1957: “If Tibetans revolted, Mao asserted clearly that he would use the PLA to destroy the rebels, wipe out the traditional manorial estate system, end the Tibetan ‘local’ government, and quickly implement forced reforms and create a socialist Tibet under direct control by the CCP.”
Goldstein thought that it was for Mao “an alternative path to success since it would enable the CCP to end the traditional system and ‘liberate’ the Tibetan masses much sooner than under the gradualist policy. Mao therefore presented his Tibet policy as a no-lose strategy for China.”
It is a matter of debate if it was an ‘alternative’ or not, but on May 14, 1957, a cable was sent by the CCP’s Central Committee to the Chinese generals in Lhasa.
It says: “In today’s Tibet, the separatists are still quite popular, and can still stir up troubles on the issue of reforms. This is not accidental. Rather it has its historical and social causes. Although Tibet became an inseparable part of China a long time ago, it has maintained an independent or semi-independent status in its relations with the motherland…”
Rewriting History through Dramas
This admission is interesting to note.
The note of the Central Committee continued: “The fact that it had achieved long-term independence and semi-independence historically distinguishes Tibet from other minority nationality areas in China. First, this is reflected in Tibetans’ centrifugal tendencies away from China and their distrust of Han Chinese. Not only does this exist widely among the upper classes, but also has a considerable influence among the masses. When the imperialist forces penetrated into Tibet toward the end of the 19th century, they instigated distrust between Tibet and China, nurtured pro-independence forces and created an impetus for separation, all of which exacerbated the Tibetans’ centrifugal tendencies away from the motherland.”
It mentioned serfdom and feudal rule in Tibet “[which] have remained intact until now. The upper classes still retain the ethnic banner and the religious banner, and they can still use these banners to influence the masses in order to maintain the old system and rule that is harmful for the development of the Tibetans. This is the reality we are facing. Besides the issues with the upper classes, we also have the issues of the masses.”
The cable continued in the same vein. Was force an alternative? the Central Committee thought: “If we use force, it very likely will create a situation in which not only the majority of the elite will oppose us but also the separatists’ conspiracies will succeed, the leftists will be isolated, and a considerable portion of the working class under the elite’s influence and control will follow them to oppose us. If this situation occurs, either it will force us to stop reforms and place us in a passive political situation, or we will need to start a war to mobilize the masses and implement reforms. This is the last resort in nationality areas…”
The conclusion of the Central Committee was: “If imperialists and traitors start an armed rebellion, that is something different; and then we will have to use armed forces to suppress the rebellion. The Central Committee has made repeated instructions about this. …Having considered the historical and current situations in Tibet, the Central Committee has decided that we will not carry out democratic reforms in Tibet for at least six years, or even longer.”
This followed the assurance given to Jawaharlal Nehru by Zhou Enlai in January 1957. It was the condition for the Dalai Lama, then in India, to return to Tibet and not seek asylum in India or America.

The events of 1959
In January 1959, according to Goldstein, Mao and the Central Committee realized that “the Tibetan insurgency had crossed the threshold from local uprisings to a full-scale revolt. The PLA had to be used to control the rebellion.”
On January 22, 1959, Mao wrote: “The next few years in Tibet will be a period when our enemy and we both will try to win over the masses, and both will try to reinforce their military power. After a few years, three or four years, five or six years, even seven or eight years, a big battle will definitely come, so we can solve the problems thoroughly. In the past, the rulers of Tibet only had a weak army. Now they have an armed force of 10,000 with high morale. This is a serious problem for us. However, it does not mean it is a bad thing. On the contrary, it is good, since there is a possibility for us to solve the problem militarily."
The 'great battle' came earlier than expected.
Mao's views were: "We must do the following: 1) we must win over the masses during the next few years, and isolate the reactionaries; 2) train our army to be strong fighters. These two things should be done during our struggle with the armed rebels.” [Quoted by Goldstein]. 

The Decision
Two days later, the Central Committee told the Chinese leadership in Tibet: “the armed uprisings have expanded to the next level. …The uprisings will continue to expand unless we have a one-time decisive battle. Then and only then will the problem be resolved thoroughly.”
It was indeed resolved thoroughly, the ‘reforms’ were imposed in a bloodshed, and the serfs were 'emancipated', the Communist way...

Today, the tragic episode is repacked by Beijing in a White Paper, showing how happy the Tibetans are.
President Xi Jinping should hold a referendum and ask the opinion of the Tibetan masses if they are happy or not.
I will be interested to see the results.
Ploughing over the Red Flag
 
Happy?
Celebrating near the Indian Border

Friday, March 29, 2019

European naivety over?

My article European naivety over? appeared in the Edit Page of The Pioneer.

Here is the link...

Even as Beijing managed to find a new ‘client’ in Italy, other European nations such as France and Germany are not convinced about its bonafide interest

On January 28, 1964, The New York Times reported: “General de Gaulle’s Government broke today with the United States (US) policy of isolating communist China and announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with Peking.” The US newspaper added: “France’s recognition of the communist regime was the first by any major power since the Korean War began nearly 14 years ago.” The US deeply regretted the French move at a time the Chinese communists were “promoting aggression and subversion.” So as French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron received the Chinese presidential couple  for an intimate dinner at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, a resort on the Riviera, the stakes have changed. China now has the upper hand.
In 1964, former French President Charles de Gaulle had affirmed: “La Chine est un grand pays” (China is a big country) but today it has become power No 2 on the planet after the US and Xi Jinping plans to dethrone America with his own dream. Fifty-five years later, the same New York Times reported the arrival of the Chinese President: “The Promenade des Anglais [in Nice] — the palm-lined beachside avenue that is the city’s premier attraction — was closed to traffic all weekend.” This never happened before.
In March last year, Xi made news when he was given a life-long term as President of China. The international Press then mainly noted the Emperor-for-life aspect, forgetting that Xi wanted to transform China into the No 1 world power. A year later, partly due to Twitter attacks from US President Donald Trump, Xi is not so self-assured and an economic crisis, looming large over China, has weakened the Middle Kingdom. Officially, its growth was only 6.5 per cent in 2018, the slowest pace since the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009. Bloomberg noted: “Tariffs on Chinese exports to the US imposed by President Trump are starting to pinch the country’s factories.”
Xiang Songzuo, a professor at the Renmin University School of Finance, wrote that China’s GDP growth would only be 1.67 per cent and not 6.5 per cent in 2018. According to the website Chinascope, Xiang also warned that “nowadays, Chinese have become addicted to playing with debt and high leverage financing. This is actually a mirage and will collapse soon.”
L’Affaire Huawei has been a turning point for the Western views on the Middle Kingdom; the telecom equipment company has been at the centre of media attention for the wrong reasons; US officials charged the company with stealing technology from T-Mobile, one of its business partners and wanting to impose its own standards for the 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. This is the background of Xi’s visit to Italy, Monaco and France.
Chinese strategists were aware that Italy is the weakest link in the Europe Union (EU) and while more and more countries realise that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), so dear to Xi, is not offering free meals but often plunges the beneficiary nations into deep debts, Beijing managed to find a European “client.”
On March 23, Xinhua reported that Xi and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte jointly “elevated the China-Italy relations into a new era”. A Memorandum of Understanding to advance the construction of the Belt and Road was signed. In a diplomatic jargon, the Chinese news agency said that “the two countries have continuously deepened their communication and cooperation in various fields, which helped each other’s social and economic development.”
Xi urged the two sides to accelerate negotiations on a China-EU investment agreement, enhance synergy of the BRI and the EU’s development strategies. Conte answered the Chinese President: “Italy is glad to seize the historic opportunity in joining the Belt and Road construction.”
Other European countries were not amused, though Xi assured Italy that the BRI would be a two-way road for investment and trade. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Welt am Sonntag newspaper: “In a world with giants like China, Russia or our partners in the US, we can only survive if we are united as the EU …and if some countries believe that they can do clever business with the Chinese, then they will be surprised when they wake up and find themselves dependent.”
The EU’s German budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, told the Funke newspaper group that Europe should ensure it retains its autonomy and sovereignty when dealing with China.
French President Macron forcefully asserted that the time of European naivety over China was over: “For many years, we had an uncoordinated approach and China took advantage of our divisions,” he said. He called for stricter rules on Chinese investments in the EU; German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed similar views.
French Finance Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian remarked that “Silk Road cooperation must go in both directions”.
The French Press quoted  the Sri Lankan experience as “the dark side of the new Silk Road.” It mentioned the port of Hambantota and how in the mid-2000s Colombo agreed “to entrust Beijing with the construction of an ex-nihilo port in the town of Hambantota, in the south of the island. It is not yet a question of the Silk Road …but all the ingredients were there.”
Like for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Chinese funds, engineers and workers would build the infrastructure in partnership, supposedly becoming a ‘win-win’ venture. But Sri Lanka, like Malaysia and many other countries, has now discovered that it was in fact a lose-lose operation, with the new assets becoming Chinese as soon as the client state is unable to refund the ‘loans’.
Xi probably did not convince Macron, Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (the latter two joined Macron in Paris to meet the Chinese President) of Beijing’s bonafide, despite the Chinese President’s enigmatic words: “In politics, we should not only build a strong ‘dam’ of mutual trust, but also a ‘lighthouse’ of ideal.”
However, at the end of his visit, Xi left a small present for the European firm Airbus, a $35 billion jet deal, which included 290 A320-series narrow-body planes and 10 A350 wide-bodies. President Macron observed that Xi’s official visit was an “excellent signal” of the strength and reliability of relations between China and France. He added that the two countries are ready to build a “strong Euro-Chinese partnership, based on clear, strict and ambitious rules” …minus naivety.
Will it work?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dalai Lama in China?

Communist Party officials 'recognizing' the Panchen Lama: a rehearsal?
My article Dalai Lama in China? appeared in Mail Today.

China, though constantly preaching Communist orthodoxy, today believes in reincarnating souls. Hours after the Dalai Lama had told Reuters that it was possible that his incarnation could be found in India, Beijing reiterated its knowledge on the subject.
This comes 60 years after the momentous event which took place in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), today’s Arunachal Pradesh, on March 31, 1959; the 24-year old Dalai Lama crossed the Indo-Tibet border at Khenzimane in the Kameng Frontier Division, north of Tawang. Since then, he has lived in India as an honoured guest.
In a recent interview with Reuters, “pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor.”
The Tibetan leader jokingly told the news agency: “China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” but more seriously, he added: “In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas, one from here [India], a free country, [and] one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China]. So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen.”
Beijing did not appreciate his point.
The Dalai Lama further commented: “If the majority of [Tibetan people] really want to keep this institution, then this institution will remain.  …Then comes the question of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.”
The Chinese Government was quick to counter; Geng Shuang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, immediately relayed by The Global Times, the Communist tabloid, stated: “The reincarnation of Living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, should abide by the laws and regulations of the state, as well as religious rituals and historical conventions.”
‘Living Buddha’ is a term invented by Beijing to describe the reincarnated Lamas. Whether, Karl Marx believed in reincarnation suddenly become irrelevant; the political stakes, i.e. the control of the Roof of the World, is politically too vital for the Communist regime, whose mouthpiece proceeded to explain: “The reincarnation of Living Buddhas is a special inheritance of Tibetan Buddhism. It follows fixed rituals and procedures. The Chinese government respects and protects it. The system of reincarnation has a history of several hundred years and the title of the 14th Dalai Lama itself also follows religious rituals and historical conventions, and was granted by the then China central government.”
According to a Chinese ‘expert’ quoted by The Global Times, the Dalai Lama’s only interest is to sabotage Tibet’s regional stability; it was “reflecting the Dalai's anxiety and fear of losing his influence in the world.”
Another ‘expert’ affirmed that it is so ridiculous to talk about reincarnation “when the 14th Dalai Lama is still alive.”
It might be ridiculous, but Beijing since year has been obsessed to put everything in place for when the day comes.
Already in 2007, the stage was set for the tragicomedy when China decided to implement the 'Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism.'
The ‘measures’ stipulated that “the Dalai Lama should follow the religious rites, historical mechanism and the national laws and regulations” and the present Dalai Lama had “no authoritative power on his own reincarnation issue.”
When the Dalai Lama objected, an article in China’s State media called the Tibetan leader’s statement “a blasphemy towards the religious rites and historical mechanism of Tibetan Buddhism, a great disrespect to the followers of the religion, and an absolute provocation towards the authority of the central government.”
Pointing a finger at the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the Chinese media stated: “Reincarnating living Buddhas shall not... be under the dominion of any foreign organization or individual;” in other words, no reincarnation in the Land of the Buddha, i.e. India.
China watchers already knew that Beijing was 'preparing' for the Lama’s succession and that the Chinese government was keen to use the Manchu-favorite type of selection, the Golden Urn, which can easily be manipulated.
In his book Forging the Golden Urn, Max Oidtmann explained that it is only in 1995, that “China resurrected a Qing-era law mandating that the reincarnations of prominent Tibetan Buddhist monks be identified by drawing lots from a golden urn. The Chinese Communist Party hoped to limit the ability of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile to independently identify reincarnations.”
China would like to use a Golden Urn lottery which was first used in 1792, at a time the Tibetan State was extremely weak; forgetting that the Dalai Lama’s institution dates from the 15th century; further the Golden Urn was not used for the present pontiff.
Today, China is actively preparing for the post-Dalai Lama period.
On March 7, 2019, a panel discussion took place during the People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing; the Chinese-selected Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu presided. Apart from the young lama considered as ‘fake’ by the Tibetans, a few Lamas, mostly unknown to the Tibetans, met to discuss the future of Buddhism; it included, Dupkang Thupten Kedup, vice chairman of the Buddhist Association of China, Tsemonling, a former Regent of Tibet in his previous reincarnation, Gomangtsang Rinpoche, Rinchen Namgyal Rinpoche, from Qinghai province and Lodro Gyatso Rinpoche from Sakya Monastery. China would like these lamas to lead the process to find the next incarnation.
Incidentally, during the ‘sensitive’ month of March, the authorities organized mass rallies in Tibetan cities. According to Human Rights Watch, on March 7, thousands of armed police and other security forces from across the region gathered to pledge loyalty to the Party and its political objective of ‘comprehensive, long term stability’.
Ding Yexian, the Party’s Deputy Secretary responsible for law and order in Tibet, called on the people to “intimidate and terrify hostile forces and splittist forces, giving them nowhere to hide.”
This does not denote a compassionate Buddhist attitude.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Lamas who will select the Chinese 15th Dalai Lama

China is working hard to prepare the post-Dalai Lama era.

Interview with Reuters

In a recent interview with Reuters, pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama “anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor.”
The Tibetan leader jokingly told the news agency: “China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” but more seriously, he added: “In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas, one from here [India], a free country, [and] one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China]. So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen.”
Beijing did not appreciate his point.
The Dalai Lama further commented: “If the majority of [Tibetan people] really want to keep this institution, then this institution will remain. …Then comes the question of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.”
The Chinese Government was quick to counter; Geng Shuang, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, immediately relayed by The Global Times, the Communist tabloid, stated: “The reincarnation of Living Buddhas, including the Dalai Lama, should abide by the laws and regulations of the state, as well as religious rituals and historical conventions.”

Wu Yingjie: "The Dalai Lama has not done a single good thing"
Buddhism and the Dalai Lama at the Center Stage in Beijing
During the recently-held 'Two Meetings', Tibetan Buddhism was at the centre stage of many discussions.
In an interaction with the Tibetan delegation to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), the Party Chief of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), Wu Yingjie came down heavily on the Dalai Lama.
Wu said, "The Tibetan people have more affection for the government. The Dalai Lama has not done a 'single good thing' for Tibet since he left."
The Hong Kong newspaper also quoted Go Khok, deputy Party chief and mayor of Lhasa, as saying that maintaining stability would be a key task for the city government this year, which marks the 60th anniversary of the departure of the Dalai Lama for exile.
According to the ‘political advisors’ who attended the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing beginning of this month, Buddhist religion is well-respected and well-preserved in Tibet.
China displayed a collection of Tibetan ‘Living Buddhas’ as the Communist atheists term the reincarnated lamas; all are known for their loyalty to the Communist Party.
Xinhua reported: “Chinese religious figures serving as political advisors at this year's ‘Two Sessions’ [or Two Meetings] are pleased with the country's protection of Tibetan Buddhism in southwest China's TAR.”
Several of the Tibetan lamas were quoted by the news agency.

The Use of Tibetan Lamas for Communist Propaganda
The use of ‘Living Buddhas’ for political purposes is not new, but it appears that it has intensified since the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) issued a State Order No.5 for the “Management Measures For the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism” in 2007 and the unrest on the plateau in 2008.
It is done in a very systematic way mainly in view of the hopefully not too soon, departure of the Dalai Lama and in preparation for his reincarnation.
I am compiled a list of the Communist ‘lamas’ who will be co-opted to find the Chinese reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.

Phagpala Gelek Namgyal
Phagpala is presently the Vice-chairman of 13th CPPCC National Committee; he is also honorary president of Buddhist Association of China and chairman of CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee.
The CPPCC’s vice-chairmanship gives him a Central Minister rank.
He was born in February 1940 in Litang, presently in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province. He is known as the 11th Chamdo Phagpala Hutuktu, (Hutuktu is a Mongol title for a high incarnated lama).
He formerly served as a Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress, Vice Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Vice President of the Buddhist Association of China; he was vice chairman of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th and 12th CPPCC national committees.
He was one of the first Tibetans to join the Communist Party soon after the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1950/51.
Incidentally, Phagpala is one of the senior member of the 'Chamdo Clique' as the reincarnation of the head lama of the Jampaling Monastery in Chamdo - he is also known as Chamdo Phakpalha.
Lobsang Gyaltsen, the head of the TAR Government, a member of the Central Committee, is also from Chamdo.
On March 14, 2013, Jampa Phuntsok, also from Chamdo, was appointed as Vice Chairman of the National People’s Congress.
At that time, Pema Thinley (alias Padma Choling) became Chairman of the TAR People’s Congress; further, he was the only ethnic Tibetan, seating as a full member in the 18th CCP’s Central Committee.
Phagpala, Jampa Phuntsok, Pema Thinley, and Lobsang Gyatsen are the highest ethnic Tibetan cadres in the Communist hierarchy in Tibet today; all from the Chamdo Prefecture.
It is also rumoured that they all support the Shugden cult, against the Dalai Lama.
Can you guess from where the Chinese 15th Dalai Lama will come from?

Gyaltsen Norbu, 11th Chinese Panchen Lama
This is the Panchen Lama ‘found’ by China.
He is presently Vice President of China Buddhist Association (BAC) and Member of the Standing Committee of the 13th CPPCC.
Gyatsen Norbu was born in Lhari County, Nagchu Prefecture on February 13, 1990.
On November 29, 1995, he was recognized by Beijing as the 11th Panchen Lama in front of the statue the Buddha Sakyamuni in the Jokhang cathedral in Lhasa. 
The Golden Urn was used; later the outcome was approved by the State Council.
He is the person who ultimately will 'recognize' the 15th Dalai Lama.

7th Drukhang Rinpoche Thubten Khedrup
He was born in December 1955 in Naqu. He joined the Party in July 1980.
He is presently the Vice Chairman of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference, BAC’s Vice President, President of the Tibet Branch and Dean of the Tibetan Buddhist College.
He is regularly used by the Communist regime when senior Party cadres visit Tibet.
See The Ethnic Religious Faces of China.
See also China lacks 'Buddhist' credibility.

Tsomoling Rinpoche
Vice Chairman of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference and BAC’s Vice President.
Tsemonling Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche was born in 1950 in Lhasa; he was one of the Four ‘Lings’, who from time to time acted as regents of Tibet (mostly when the Tibetan state was weak; particularly during the 19th century).
The Four 'Lings' (Ling Shi) were Kundeling, Demoling, Tsemonling and Tsechokling. They had their estates in Lhasa and around Lhasa.
Like his colleagues Reting, Phagphala or Dorje Phagmo, Tsemonling also  shoots for the Party from time to time.
Tsomonling has been a deputy in the National People’s Congress (NPC) from the 7th NPC (1988) to the 13th (2017).
He once declared that he was most impressed by the last report of Premier Wen Jiabao in the National People’s Congress. He found it inspiring and truth-reflecting. According to him, despite difficulties and challenges, the Chinese government has behaved well and there can be no development and innovation without Beijing’s support. This is what the Party wants to hear.
He has undertaken the task of re-carving (on wooden blocks) the Kangyur, which is a collection of Buddha’s sayings.
A few years ago, he spoke about self-immolation which, for him, is an insane act and violates Buddhist doctrine. He believed that the Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream is ‘related’ to the improvement of people’s livelihood, maintenance of social stability and steady economic development. Once again, the Lama is used by the Party to pass on its messages to the masses.
Also read A Battery of Rinpoche guns for China.

Drikung Chungtsang Rinpoche
The Drikung Kyabgön Chungtsang, the 36th throne holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage and the 8th reincarnation of the Chungtsang Rinpoche; he is said to be a manifestation of Manjushri.
He was born in the Water-Horse-Year 1942 in Lhokha as the youngest of five sons into the prominent aristocratic Lhagyari family, one of the oldest noble houses of Tibet descending from the ancient royal dynasty. The family branch is called Dewa Lhagyari Trichen.

Gomatsang Rinpoche, Lobsang Jampa Gyatso
He is from the important Labrang Tashikyl Monastery in Gansu; he is Vice President, Chinese Academy of Tibetan Buddhism.







Samding Dorjee Phagmo
Born in 1942, at the age of five, the Lady Lama was chosen as the incarnation of the abbess of Samding monastery, near Lhasa.
Deputy Director of the TAR’s Standing Committee of the People's Congress and Director of the China Tibet Cultural Protection and Development Association.
Dorje Phagmo was the only female reincarnation in Tibet.
In 2008, she declared that she was upset and angered by riots in Lhasa and accused the Dalai Lama of violating Buddhist teachings. She publicly affirmed that before Tibet’s incorporation into Communist China, Tibet was a backward feudal society. People were largely illiterate serfs with no medical care. The female ‘Living Buddha’ remembered that when she was a child, Tibet was dark and cruel; the so-called serfs lived worse than horses and cattle. Today, Tibet is transformed, thanks to the Party.
Her statement regarding Tibet needing to be ‘incorporated’ nonetheless shows that it was earlier a ‘separate’ entity.

After the unrest of 2008 and a few months before the Olympic Games, she was extensively used by the Party for propaganda. She was quoted as saying that the acts of the Dalai Lama and his followers seriously violate the basic teachings and precepts of Buddhism and damage traditional Tibetan Buddhism’s good reputation.

Lhakpa
He is born in August 1967 in Drung Dechen District. He joined the Party in June 2016. He is currently the vice chairman of the Lhasa CPPCC Vice Chairman of the Lhasa CPPCC, Vice President of the TAR’s Buddhist Association, Vice President of the Lhasa City Buddhist Association and Executive Deputy Director of the Jokhang Temple Management Committee.
He was used by the Chinese propaganda during the 'Two Meetings' (see interview quoted below).

Jewan Koondor Tulku
67 year old tulku originally from Champa Ling Monastery in Chamdo which has strong Dorje Shugden connections and has been present at every CPPCC in last 15 years. When 8 years old, his parents took him and followed the Dalai Lama to India. He eventually ended up in Switzerland. In 2011 he returned to China. Today he was made Vice Chairman of the TAR Overseas Friendship Association.


7th Taksang Tulku,Garang Thubten Lashay Gyatso
The 51-year old Tibetan tulku is from Taksang Monastery in Dzoege, Ngaba county.
He was born in July 1967 in Sichuan province. He joined the Party in November 2006 after graduating from the Chinese Department of Tibetan Languages.
He is currently a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC and the president of the Ngaba Prefecture Buddhist Association.

3rd Shangen Tulku, Phalden Dorje
He was born in April 1949 in Litang, Eastern Tibet (today Sichuan province). The-69 year old Tibetan Rinpoche is Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of Garze Prefecture People's Congress, Deputy Director of the National Committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC.












Lobsang Samten Rinpoche
Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Ngari National Association, Honorary President of the Regional Buddhist Association, Rinpoche from Trugo monastery near Purang in Ngari prefecture.








Rinchen Namgyal
In 1994, he graduated from the Higher School of Tibetan Languages. He is currently the deputy chairman of the 12th Qinghai Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Consultation Conference, the vice president of the China Interpretation Association, and the deputy director of the National Tibetan Buddhism Teaching Committee, and the president of the Qinghai Provincial Interpretation Association.
On January 29, 2018, the 12th Committee of the CPPCC Qinghai Province was held for the first time; Rinchen Namgyal was elected Vice President of the Provincial Political Consultative Conference.

Lhodro Gyatso Rinpoche
He is the Executive Director of the Tibet Branch of the Buddhist Association, member of the TAR’s Political Consultative Conference, Vice President of the Buddhist Association of Shigatse City, and Executive Deputy Director of the Sakya Monastery People's Management Association.
On January 24, 2018, the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th CPPCC National Committee, he was  appointed as a member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.

17th Dongbo Jampa Tulku
He was born in December 1968 in Gyezur, Garze in Sichuan; he joined the Party in November 1983.

Dongbao Jampa Hutuktu, the 49-year old Tibetan tulku belongs to the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism; he has been recognized by Tai Situ Rinpoche in India.
He is presently the Deputy Head of the China Buddhist Association, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC’s Shangri-La County in Dechen Prefecture of Yunnan Province and the vice president of the China Interpretation Association.

The 7th Reting Rinpoche
Tough not seen in Beijing during the Two Meetings, another lama Beijing is banking upon is Reting Rinpoche.
In January 2013, a 16-year old boy, recognised by the Communist Party as the 7th Reting Rinpoche was made the youngest member of Tibet’s CPPCC.
The Fifth Reting was the Regent of Tibet during the minority of the present Dalai Lama.
See 'Reting and the Dalai Lama's Incarnations'.


Hu Xuefeng (Mongolian)
Hu is abbot of the Yonghe Temple, also known as the Lama Temple in Dongcheng District of Beijing, China. The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles.
Though not Tibetan, Hu is very influential.
He was born in 1966 in the township of the Fuxin Mongolian Autonomous County. In 1981, he joined the Lama Temple and two years later was awarded a Masters degree.
In 1990, he was enrolled in the Senior High School of the Chinese Department of Tibetan Languages and in 1992, he graduated with honor. In 1994, he was elected as the deputy abbot of the Lama Temple. In January 2010, he was promoted to the abbot.
From 1995 to 2000, he was elected as the vice president of the Municipal Interpretation Association and the CPPCC member. In 2009, he was elected as the vice president of the Municipal Interpretation Association.

Beijing is trying its best to increase its control over the reincarnations of Tibetan lamas (and ultimately the Dalai Lamas), thus legitimising Communist rule in the Himalayan region. China has even revived the ancient title of Hutuktu, which was given by the Mongols and later the Manchus to Lama-rulers. Reting, like Pagphala, has also been styled as Hutuktu by Beijing.

Jamyang Shepa
Lamas like Jamyang Shape and Amchok Rinpoche should be added to this list.
Lobsang Jigme Thubten Chökyi Nyima, the present incarnation (the 6th) of the Jamyang Shepa, the head lama of the Labrang Tashikyl Monastery, in today’s Gansu province. He was born in 1948 and currently lives in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. During the Cultural Revolution, Jamyang Shepa became a layman but retained a high degree of prestige in the area. The Jamyang Shepas have traditionally been the most prestigious teachers at Labrang Tashikhyil monastery.
The case of the Jamyang Shepa shows that the Chinese are keen to use the traditional hierarchy to put across their message.
In 2013, when Yu Zhengsheng of the Standing Committee of the Politburo visited Labrang, he met the Jamyang Shepa. At that time, Xinhua affirmed that the famous Monastery was 'one of the six great temples of the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism', Yu was received by the Jamyang Shepa as the traditional head of the monastery.


Amchok Rinpoche
A recent returnee from Dharamsala.
According to The Global Times, Amchok Rinpoche (written Achok by the Chinese): “the living Buddha, returned to China in May [2015] and has settled down in the Aba [Ngawa] Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan Province after he gained approval from Sichuan in April.” The Communist tabloid commented: “Move indicates futureless end of the Dalai Lama group”.
He may also play a role in finding the reincarnation …in China.

It seems that Beijing has now decided to bring forward its entire collection of ‘Living Buddhas’ to ‘spiritualize’ the Roof of the World; this, at a time when the Dalai Lama is working towards ‘secularising’ Tibetan society.
Moreover, their role will be to find the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Propaganda battle has started
One of the ‘political advisors’ mentioned above, Lhakpa spoke at length to Xinhua about the progress of the religious freedom and the Jokhang Temple, “in downtown Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, is a must for visitors to Tibet and a sacred site for Tibetan Buddhists. It attracts about 800,000 tourists and receives over three million Buddhist followers each year.”
The Jokhang cathedral is “home to plenty of historical relics and typical Tibetan architecture. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000,” noted the agency.
Lhakpa is quoted saying that Beijing attaches “great importance to the protection and preservation of the temple. Five years ago, for example, the government invested over 60 million yuan (8.94 million U.S. dollars) in gilding the five golden roofs of the temple. The Buddha figures, thangka and murals in the temple have also been well preserved. To better protect these precious cultural relics, a database for Buddha statues and thangka in both Mandarin and Tibetan languages, launched in 2015, will be completed next year,” said Lhakpa.
According to the monk administrator, “more than 6,000 Buddha statues and over 600 thangka have been included in the database. The government has invested 100 million yuan in protecting the cultural relics."
Lhakpa concluded that as a political advisor, his job was “to serve all the people, including tourists, believers and researchers who visit the temple. We have personnel working 24/7 in the halls of the temple, including monks, firefighters and police officers to prevent the cultural heritage from being destroyed or stolen, and to ensure tourists' safety. …On the Lamp Festival, we have Dharma assembly here and the butter lamps are lit on top of the temple. Believers come to pray for happiness and health," he added.
It is clearly said that the monks’ duty is to serve the millions of Chinese tourists.
According to Lhakpa, like the Jokhang Temple, almost all the temples and monasteries in Tibet are under national or regional protection.
Incidentally, according to the official Tibet Daily, a fire broke out at 6:40 pm on February 17, 2018 in part of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. It was eventually put off in the evening; the News Agency said: "Located at the center of old Lhasa, Jokhang Temple is a renowned temple for Tibetan Buddhism. It has a history of more than 1,300 years and houses many cultural treasures, including a life-sized statue of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old."
This inauspiciously occurred on the second day of the Losar, the Tibetan New Year (Earth Dog Year).
During the Two Meetings, another ‘Living Buddha’, the Drigung Chungtsang stated that today's Tibet observes many traditional folk and religious activities: “The Shoton [yoghurt] festival at Drepung Monastery and the worship activities at Sera Monastery are among the most popular ones.”
The Drikung Lama added: "Tibetan Buddhists, young and old, would sway their praying wheels and chant sutras when significant activities are launched."
As vice chairman of the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, Drigung Rinpoche is in charge of the Kangyur printing: “The precious wooden templates of the Kangyur have been well preserved and printing is suspended in winter because cold weather may cause damage to the templates.”
Another ‘political advisor’ Lodro Gyatso, a senior monk from the Sakya Monastery told Xinhua that the monastery has two Buddhist colleges, “offering various classes including Tibetan language, Tibetan calligraphy, Buddhist texts, astronomy, calendrical calculation and philosophy to monks and lamas.”
A ‘returnee Living Buddha’ Jewan Koondhor is also one of ‘political advisors’. Xinhua noted that he spent most of his life outside (in Switzerland) and when he was 60 in 2011, he returned to his hometown, Chamdo in Tibet: “My hometown Chamdo has changed a lot and is continually improving. The traffic there today is much more convenient. I'm happy to be back," he told the agency.
He is a proponent of Shugden cult, and therefore violently anti-Dalai Lama.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sixty Years Ago: The Dalai Lama crosses over to India

At a time when China says that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is not his ‘personal decision’, but that he should follow the ‘Communist Party’s instructions’, it is important to remember the momentous event which took place sixty years ago in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), today’s Arunachal Pradesh.
On March 31, 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet crossed the Indo-Tibet border at Khenzimane in the NEFA’s Kameng Frontier Division, north of Tawang; a couple of kilometers south, he met a detachment of the Assam Rifles waiting to welcome him at Chuthangmu.
Since then, he has been an honoured guest of India.
Four days earlier, the 24-year-old Tibetan leader had sent a message to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India: “Ever since Tibet went under the control of Red China and the Tibetan Government lost its powers in 1951, I, my Government officers and citizens have been trying to maintain peace in Tibet, but the Chinese Government has been gradually subduing the Tibetan Government.
He further stated: “The Tibetans have great love for and faith in Buddhism and their religion is more precious to them than their lives. In order to root out Buddhism, the Chinese published some articles in the press against Lord Buddha’s teachings and circulated them widely. This has created [an] unhappy atmosphere amongst the Tibetans and they have started disliking intensely the Chinese Administration.”
The Dalai Lama told Nehru about the circumstances of his departure: “On March 17 at 4 pm, the Chinese fired two shells in the direction of my residence. They could not do much damage. As our lives were in danger, I and some of my trusted staff managed to escape the same evening at 10 pm.”
The party headed south and reached Lhuntse Dzong, north of the NEFA on March 26, after what has been termed as the Escape of the Century. The Dalai Lama observed: “India and Tibet have had religious relations for thousand years and they are like brothers without any differences;” he then requested Nehru for asylum: “In this critical situation we are entering India via Tsona [last town north of Tawang]. I hope that you will please make necessary arrangements for us in the Indian territory.”
Ever since, India has looked after the Tibetan leader’s welfare.

The Arrival in India
On March 27, TS Murty, the Assistant Political Officer was told to rush from his headquarters in Tawang to the border; on March 31 in the morning, he reached Chuthangmu in time to receive the Tibetan Lama.
The Dalai Lama’s advance party, under a junior officer, had already come two days earlier; they had informed the Assam Rifles that the main group consisted of the Dalai Lama, his family, his two tutors and three ministers; they were expected to enter India soon. Indian officials were also told that there was no sign of a Chinese pursuit; the party only needed more porters once they entered India.
A secret report sent to Delhi observed: “At 1400 hours on March 31, the Dalai Lama and his party reached Kenze Mane [Khenzimane] which demarcates the frontier in Chuthangmu area. His Holiness was riding a yak and was received by the Assistant Political Officer, Tawang. They proceeded to the checkpost without halting at the frontier.”
It was agreed that all porters, who had come from Tibet, would be sent back and that porterage arrangements thereafter would be made by the Government of India; the report continued: “It was also agreed that all pistols and revolvers, except those in possession of the Dalai Lama, his family and ministers (excluding their servants), and all rifles would be handed over to us for safe custody and that these could be collected at the frontier by those members of the body guard who were to return to Tibet after escorting the Dalai Lama to the plains or that alternatively, we would keep that in our custody and obtain disposal orders from the Government.” It is doubtful if the Dalai Lama himself had a pistol.
A reply from the Prime Minister to the Dalai Lama’s message was received through KL Mehta, Advisor to the Government of Assam on April 3: “I received Your Holiness' message only yesterday on my return to Delhi. My colleagues and I welcome you and send you greetings on your safe arrival in India. We shall be happy to afford the necessary facilities for you, your family and entourage to reside in India. The people of India who hold you in great veneration will no doubt accord their traditional respect to your person.”
Sixty years later, the veneration remains.

The Dalai Lama’s account
Let us come back a few days earlier.
In his memoirs, Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama narrated his last days in Tibet: “From Lhuntse Dzong we passed to the small village of Jhora and from there to the Karpo pass, the last before the border. Just as we were nearing the highest point of the track we received a bad shock. Out of nowhere, an aeroplane appeared and flew directly overhead. It passed quickly - too quickly for anyone to be able to see what markings it had - but not so fast that the people on board could have missed spotting us. This was not a good sign. If it was Chinese, as it probably was, there was a good chance that they now knew where we were. With this information they could return to attack us from the air, against which we had no protection. Whatever the identity of the aircraft, it was a forceful reminder that I was not safe anywhere in Tibet. Any misgivings I had about going into exile vanished with this realisation: India was our only hope.”
As the party was spending its last night in a small village called Mangmang; it suddenly began to rain: “This was on top of a week of appalling weather, which threw blizzards and snow glare at us by turns as we straggled along. We were all exhausted and it was the last thing that we needed, but it continued torrentially throughout the night,” remembered the Dalai Lama.
Though the young leader was very sick, he decided to move on: “I now had the difficult task of saying goodbye to the soldiers and freedom fighters who had escorted me all the way from Lhasa, and who were now about to turn and face the Chinese. There was one official too who decided to remain. He said that he did not think that he could be of much use in India, therefore it would be better to stay and fight. I really admired his determination and courage.”
It is how the Dalai Lama arrived in India sixty years ago: “After bidding these people a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzomo, for I was still too ill to ride a horse. And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.”
On the back of a yak!


A Report from the Political Officer
Har Mander Singh, the Political Officer (PO) of the Kameng Frontier Division received the Tibetan leader in Lumla, south of the border, mid-way to Tawang.
Har Mander informed Delhi that after crossing to India, the Dalai Lama had moved south, passed the historical Gorsam Stupa, reached Shakti village the next day and Lumla on April 3.
Here the PO had long discussions with the Tibetan officials and the Dalai Lama: “the [Tibetan] Foreign Minister [Thupten Liushar] briefly recounted the circumstances under which the Dalai Lama was forced to leave Tibet. About the relations between China and Tibet, he said: “…The Government of Tibet was, however, in possession of documents refuting Chinese claim of suzerainty over them and in support of theirs being an independent country.”
Liushar said that the Dalai Lama himself had felt that he should work in harmony with the Chinese: “Indeed during his visit to India [in 1956] he was advised by the Indian Prime Minister himself to cooperate with the Chinese in the interest of his country.”
In spite of the Dalai Lama’s effort to accommodate the Chinese viewpoint, “the Chinese interfere in the religious affairs of the Tibetans... They had desecrated several monasteries in Kham Province and had also killed several incarnate Lamas,” wrote the PO.
The Indian officials were informed how the Dalai Lama had decided to escape via the Southern route as the only Chinese garrison (of about 600) on the way was in Tsethang where the Chinese: “were surrounded by the rebel [guerilla] troops and Tibetan Government forces and could not, therefore, interfere with the movement of the party.”
Before moving on to India, the Dalai Lama had established an exile Government in Lhuntse Dzong.
Later, on the way to India, the Tibetans mentioned the aircraft flying over them near Tsona; it could well have been an Indian airplane from Squadron 106, mentioned by Wing Commander ‘Jaggi’ Nath in a recent interview to Rediff.com.
The Tibetan ministers informed the Indian officials that: “The policy of the Chinese was becoming increasingly anti-religious; the masses of Tibet were restive and he was no longer able to make them put up with the Chinese rule; the Chinese had attempted to endanger [the Dalai Lama’s] person; Tibet should be free; his people would fight to win their freedom; he was confident that India’s sympathies are with the Tibetans; the seat of his Government had shifted from Lhasa to Lhuntse Dzong.”
The program of the party was briefly discussed, reported Har Mander Singh: “The Foreign Minister indicated that they might like to stay up to ten days in Tawang. I explained briefly the disadvantages of their prolonged stay in Tawang and said that we could perhaps make them more comfortable in Bomdi La. I made it clear, however that we were prepared to accede to the Dalai Lama’s wishes. The Foreign Minister said that it would be possible to cut down their stay in Tawang to about three days.”
Har Mander Singh assured Liushar that India would provide all facilities for travel beyond Tawang to all persons accompanying the Dalai Lama, but there was danger that stray persons escaping from Tibet may take this opportunity and come in along with the main party. He wanted a full list of persons entering India, as comprehensive and accurate as possible, he said.
During the following weeks, 12,000 refugees would cross the border; the exodus will continue for several years.
The rest is history.

Crossing the border

Assam Rifles Guard of Honour in Tawang
The Dalai Lama's Mother in Bomdila
With PO Har Mander Singh
In Tawang
In Siliguri with PN Menon, former Indian Consul general in Lhasa

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The IAF hero awarded the Maha Vir Chakra Twice

Wing Commander Jag Mohan 'Jaggi' Nath receives his second Maha Vir Chakra
from President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
The second part of my interview with Wing Commander 'Jaggi' Nath The IAF hero awarded the Maha Vir Chakra Twice was published in Rediff.com

Here is the link...

Claude Arpi reveals how Wing Commander Jag Mohan Nath won a second Maha Vir Chakra in the 1965 War.

The Indian Air Force is in the news for the exploits of the anonymous Mirage-2000 pilots who conducted a raid on a terror camp in Pakistan.
The shooting down and subsequent three-day captivity of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who, with his Mig-21 Bison shot down a Pakistani F-16, also got a lot of coverage.
It is perhaps the right time to salute the feats of the first Indian military officer to be twice awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, India's second highest honour for gallantry.
After describing his sorties over Tibet in the first segment of an exclusive interview conducted at his Juhu, north west Mumbai home, Wing Commander Jag Mohan 'Jaggi' Nath describes to Claude Arpi his daylight missions over Pakistan during the 1965 War.
Wing Commander 'Jaggi' Nath reveals the background of the operation which led to his second MVC. Some explanations have been added in italics.

With Dr Zakir Hussain, then India's vice-president.
It started after Pakistan had already failed with Operation Gibraltar (external link) in August 1965 in Kashmir (Operation Gibraltar was the codename given to Pakistan's plan to infiltrate into and take control over Kashmir by starting a rebellion against India's rule), then Pakistan decided to start Operation Grand Slam,(external link) (a plan drawn up by the Pakistan army, in May 1965, to attack the vital Akhnur bridge in Jammu. The bridge was not only the lifeline of an entire infantry division posted in Jammu and Kashmir, but could also be used to threaten Jammu, the vital logistical hub for the Indian forces).
"The Pakistanis were given us a beating; the Indian tanks, though very close to Sialkot, were stopped. After Operation Gibraltar, I used to make daily sorties to see how the Pakistan forces were ositioned."
"The cameras we were using were so good we could read the number plates! We could see human beings, like with the U2 cameras (used by the Americans). Our cameras were really high resolution cameras.'
The soon--to-be-90 wing commander digresses for a moment: "Of course, the Americans could use their U2 or the SR71 (The Lockheed SR-71 'Blackbird' is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the US air force). Can you imagine it was a plane faster than a bullet? It was an amazing plane."
"We had landed into problems in Akhnur; the Pakistanis tanks were coming in and giving us problems. I knew what was happening because I had daily runs; the problem in our army is that they are restricted by the orders of the government. The army chief (General J N Chaudhuri) had to get clearances (for a move); (in the air force), we did not have these problems."


To explain the issue, Wing Commander Nath shows me a picture of the then air chief -- later the Marshal of the Indian Air Force -- Arjan Singh with his arm around his shoulder. "He told me, 'You are my foster son'. I told him, 'If it was not for you, I would not be alive today'."
Wing Commander Nath refers to an Indian mole at air headquarters in Delhi. "One plane got shot down because of a compromise in security. Pakistan had prior notice of our plane flying over Pakistan on April 10, 1959."
In another interview, the wing commander recounted: 'In the IAF there was a mole, that too at a very senior level in the form of an officer in the Western Air Command who controlled all the flight movements of ours. He'd give Pakistanis all they wanted and that is how when our reconnaissance plane went over Pakistan on the morning of April 10, 1959, the pilot found the PAF Sabres actually waiting and obviously bombed him.
'When we found out, the officer, a Group Captain, was thrown out. This event helped us become tighter and more secretive.'

Wing Commander Jag Mohan Nath
receives his second Maha Vir Chakra
At that time, Arjan Singh had just taken over as acting Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of the Western Air Command in Delhi.
After having explained why in 1965, he was getting his orders directly from Arjan Singh, the then chief of air staff, Wing Commander Nath returns to the operation. "All the requirements came from the army. Every time something would take place, Arjan Singh would say, 'Send reconnaissance, send reconnaissance'."
"Arjan Singh had given me a code name, 'Professor' and would directly assign to me missions."
"During the 1965 War, like in 1962, the sorties that we did every day gave us the entire picture (of the enemy's forces)."
"Every day, we would get a briefing and do sorties. We had a complete picture how the war was proceeding."
"I had a clear picture of what was going wrong anywhere on any front."

You were providing the information to whom? To B N Mallik, the Intelligence Bureau director, to the air chief?

The information was going directly to the army chief; in 1965, it was General J N Chaudhury.
While the operations were going on, the army chief used to send his requirements to the air force; (for example) how the Pakistanis were moving or if they were not.
It would have been difficult (to take decisions) without knowing what was going on the other side of the border, how the Pakistanis were progressing.
There was no other way to get this information, but from the records of the reconnaissance planes.
Pakistani foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the army chief had planned Operation Gibraltar; (at the beginning) they finished off so many of our Vampires that we had no option but to bring our air force (in the war).
It was the time Nur Khan was brought in. (Air Marshal Malik Nur Khan was the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan air force. During the war with India in 1965, Nur Khan was credited with temporarily turning the tide of the war in Pakistan's favour, at least in the first 24 hours).

With Yashwantrao B Chavan, India's defence minister
In Pathankot, the top brass of the army and air force was there, they said: "We want a reconnaissance from the north, from Lahore and then Sargodha (in Pakistan Punjab), to the south."
Do you understand that I had to operate in day time? I could not do reconnaissance and take pictures at night. I had to fly low to avoid the radar and my target was 15 to 20 miles.
Usually, I used to build up my speed, convert into height, go at 12,000 feet (to take the picture)and was staggering around.
I had 5 to 10 minutes at the most. Later, I would come back (to India).
It was not enough time for the radar to activate anything. For so many years, I did this particular exercise.
But I could not do this for this particular reconnaissance for the second front the army wanted to open.
I told them: "How can I fly for 30, 35 or 40 minutes doing this business?" If I had broken it into small (shorter) sorties, this would be alright, but it was not what I was asked for.
When I finally did it and as I was heading back towards India, I told my navigator, "We go back to India now, we have taken the picture."
I got a warning on my tail radar. The tail radar of the Camberra picks things 15 miles away. You know exactly where the other plane is going to shoot you down.
The navigator said "Sir, I saw a black spot (in the radar)." I told him, "Never mind, if it comes closer, some 5 miles away, call me up."
I thought it would be from this distance that they would launch their missile.
Starfighters needed 5 to 10 seconds to log into the heat source and then shoot its missile. With less time than this, it has no time (to adjust the target).
It means that I have been on the move and not remained steady for more than 10 or 15 seconds.
And suddenly another spot (on the radar), and then another one; total four planes (behind us)!
I don't have any time to think. I improvised, I started barrel rolls. You do loop like this (demonstrates with gesture) it is called a barrel roll.

(A barrel roll is an aerial maneuver in which an airplane makes a complete rotation on both its longitudinal and lateral axes, causing it to follow a helical path, approximately maintaining its original direction. It is sometimes described as a combination of a loop and a roll).

That way I headed towards India.
I was caught by Indian radar. My friend Wing Commander (Krishna) Dandapani (Commanding Officer of the 203 Signal Unit in Amritsar) was not even informed, as the orders had been given to me at such a short notice.
Dandapani was on his toes; he said: 'Five airplanes are coming". He thought they were all Pakistani planes.
Remember that I been in the air for some 30 minutes already. So, Dandapani sees five planes coming and suddenly four going away.
He thought there was still one Pakistani plane. The Pakistani was me.
And then, my navigator tells me: "There is another airplane coming".
I said: "But we are in our country".
So I started doing a curve, I didn't need to do barrel turns; the difference between a fighter plane and a Canberra is the latter can do tighter turns while fighter planes have to do larger turns.
It was difficult to shoot me down while turning. So they missed me and overshot (our plane). At that time, they saw the Indian marking.
They called the airfield and told them: "This airplane is ours, how can we shoot him down?"
The control tower in Pathankot confirmed: "Yes, it is our plane; he has taken off from Pathankot and has to land there". They had just realised.
With all these exercises, I run out of bloody fuel. My gauge said 'zero' and I had no other option but to land in Pathankot.
The air control said: "No, you can't land, there are planes landing in a row from Akhnur (front)."
I said "I will land between two of them".
And as I landed one of my engines copped out.
Can you imagine such a flight!
And the information which came out of it was so vital!

'Jaggi' Nath on top of a PR Canberra with various other members
of 106 Squadron (Courtesy Bharat Rakshak)


The army (authorities) could find a place called Barki to launch a counter-attack (Barki is a village that lies south-east of Lahore near the border with Punjab, India, and is connected with Lahore by the bridge over the Ichogil canal).
Later, the Indian Army withdrew by itself and the Pakistanis reinforced the place.

(The Battle of Burki (or Barki) was fought by Indian infantry and Pakistani armour in the 1965 War. The battle resulted in an Indian victory after the army captured the town on September 11, 1965. After the capture of Burki, the Indian advance continued towards Dograi, a town in the immediate vicinity of Lahore. No attempt was made to capture Lahore.)

But my flight gave them the information exactly where to go.
One particular flight gave them (the Indian Army) so much information.
You were awarded the Maha Vir Chakra for the second time for that?
The first MVC was awarded on January 1, 1962.
Though the war had not started, the reconnaissance had started, and the bar (the second MVC) was granted in September 1965.
I was the first officer of the armed forces to be awarded the MVC twice.
In 1965, General Sparrow got a bar and then four bars were given in 1971. (Major General Rajinder Singh, MVC**, nicknamed 'Sparrow' was awarded the MVC for his role during the War of 1947 and for displaying gallantry in the War of 1965).

I feel two Maha Vir Chakras should be equal to one Param Vir Chakra. It is not a joke to have two MVCs, but the government does not agree.

The Citation for the Bar to the MVC

Sqn Ldr Jag Mohan Nath, Award Date: September 1, 1965
During the Indo-Pak War 1965, Sqn Ldr Nath was again the Flight Commander with the Strategic Photo Reconnaissance Squadron flying the Canberra aircraft.
He led his unit several times over the hostile territory to obtain vital information about the enemy.
The unescorted missions, which were in the nature of reconnaissance, entailed flying long distances over the enemy territory and well-defended airfields and installations during day light.
Sqn Ldr Nath was fully aware of the risk he was running on each of these missions. Still, he chose to undertake the risky missions himself.
It was after great persuasion that he allowed his colleagues to do some risky assignments. The information gathered by him during his missions proved vitally important to Indian air effort.
The missions enabled our Air Force to attack vital enemy targets and this adversely affected enemy's war effort. Sqn Ldr Nath was awarded Bar to Mahavir Chakra for displaying courage, determination and devotion to duty.

I am grateful to Jagan Pillarisetti of www.Bharat-Rakshak.com for his suggestions/clarifications.