New Exhibition Shows the History of Independent Tibet
The Tibet Post International
03 May 2011
Dharamshala: On May 3rd, 'The Tibet Post International' was invited for the inauguration of a brand new exhibition at the Tibet Museum located at the main Temple of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. Set in the modern surroundings of the museum's white chalked walls, frosted glass partitions and high ceilings, the exhibition, called "Glimpses of the History of Tibet", was launched by Kalon Kesang Y Takla, Kalon for the Department of Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration, who ceremoniously scissored a green ribbon and held a short welcome speech.
"We have been receiving many many requests from Tibetan communities and different Tibetan settlements asking for some kind of exhibition which reflects the past history of Tibet" she said and continued, "in the past the museum has been displaying mostly the activities of the different communities and our approach for non-violence and autonomy through non-violent means. Now we have here the history of Tibet, reflecting (...) what was Tibet before".
"Glimpses of the History of Tibet" is the brainchild of renowned expert on Tibet, Claude Arpi, whose effort to document the country's history seems integral to the exhibition. Consisting of 25 segments, the exhibition ambitiously attempts to provide the visitor with a comprehensive understanding of the history of Tibet, from the geological formation of the Tibetan Plateau to the present day occupation of Tibet by Communist China. "We have been very pleased that he kindly presented a set for us to have here at the museum" said Kalon Kesang Y Takla, commenting on Arpi's work.
The exhibition in many ways stands in stark contrast to the official Chinese version of the history of Tibet with numerous items on display indicating a Tibetan sovereignty stretching back many centuries. With reference to artefacts pre-dating Chinese rule, such as Tibetan stamps, passports and banknotes, Kalon Kesang Y Takla said that "according to international historical recognition, Tibet qualified as an independent state before 1959" and added that "this may in some ways contradict what china has been saying about the Tibetan situation, [but] the history speaks for itself, nobody can change [it]. So that is the fact, we just reflect it in this exhibition".
"Glimpses of the History of Tibet" will be exhibited at the Tibet Museum for a month, after which it will be taken to various schools and Tibetan communities around India. "Given time and other resources we would love to have this travel abroad so that non-Tibetans, and especially young Tibetans who were born abroad, will be reintroduced to the rich legacy of the history" said Information Secretary, Thupten Samphel of the Department of Information & International Relations of the Central Tibetan Administration.
Speaking of the scope of the exhibition he continued to say that "it is very comprehensive and in the same time it captures the important periods of Tibetan history in a nutshell" adding that "for Tibetans as well as non-Tibetans who are interested in the history of Tibet, it is a very powerful way to introduce them to the Tibetan people's past".