‘Self-Immolation’ Satyagraha: An unprecedented epoch of Tibetan History

The votary of truth would not seek to vindicate truth by violent means. The best way to vindicate the truth is to win the heart of the opponent by self-suffering. – A basic tenet of Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha.

If I am not mistaken, I must call our self-immolators a staunch believer of Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of ‘Satyagraha’ because they hoped to vindicate truth by sacrificing their precious lives. None of them harmed anybody around them. They are true satyagrahi.  The basic concept of ‘Satyagraha’ is to seek truth by self-suffering. There are two essential requisites of Satyagraha- Fearlessness and love to all. It is needless to mention that all the self-immolators were fearless because they could end their precious lives. They didn’t fear China’s brutal repression nor did they surrender their wills to this despotic regime. Their love for nation is unfathomable because they have shown the highest form of political resistance. They wished to have return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his longevity. They shouted these slogans in order to attract global heed towards status quo and unbearable atmosphere being created by Chinese government. They loved their nation.

Since Pawo (Martyr) Thupten Ngodrup’s self-immolation on 27th April, 1998 in Tibetan Diaspora till Pawo Tenzin Gyatso on 20th May, 2015 in Tibet, there have been 141 Self-Immolators. This is historically an unprecedented event in contemporary world. What does self-immolation indicate? The most suitable question I have ever encountered in recent times. The self-immolation indicates that the situation in Tibet is unbearable and very brutal. China’s political repression is annihilating all the fundamental rights in Tibet. How could Tibetans inside Tibet live under such despotic regime? They only choice that they see is to sacrifice their precious lives to highlight these situations. Is it akin to committing suicide? Why humans commit suicide? They don’t see any alternative way to lead their lives freely. Thus, they resort to this drastic way. The self-immolation is a kind of suicide where an individual set on fire by tolerating all the unbearable pains. It can highlight the both pains: a pain of Chinese brutal repression and a pain of burning alive. They are self-immolation satyagrahi. I must claim it proudly.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that a politics without religion is meaningless. It is very true in contemporary world. The purpose of Government is to take care of its people, not to torture them. A government without moral values can’t accommodate its people because people need liberal environment to enjoy their inherent rights. China is condemning a religion as poison. So, how could it value human’s rights if they don’t have any moral background?

These self-immolators placed a spacious space in our mind to retrospect our past deeds and accelerate our policy to give off freedom light in the faces of every Tibetan inside and outside. The very votary of self-immolation would not adopt violent means to vindicate their truth instead they burn themselves alive to vindicate the truth of unbearable situation over there.

The ideas expressed in this article are personal. The readers are requested to express their views.

By Shingnakmetok



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