‘I have been to 12 jails... I am a soldier of freedom’

Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue says that the offering of body and life through self-immolation is a Buddhist way of achieving freedom, while those who are alive are living with their heads bowed down.

Participating here at the student's discussion forum Critique, at Panjab University on Friday, Tenzin further said that those who have sacrificed themselves in this manner are considered martyr soldiers and given a respectable burial. He said that these Tibetans have asked for the same two things - the return of Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibet.

Tenzin described how the idea of freedom is different for different people. He said there are three ideas prevalent in Tibet. "The first of autonomy of Tibet, propagated by Dalai Lama, the second of complete independence of Tibet which is propagated by ultra nationalists and the third of independence of Tibet, which I believe in," said Tenzin. Giving the example of Bhutan, he remarked that, though, a country might have autonomy, it may have little freedom and almost no integrity.

Tenzin said that, though, the world sees the Tibet issue as that between Tibet and China, other countries are also linked with it, especially India. He further said that, even as the Tibetans are extremely thankful to the Indian government for their support, the aid by India to Tibetans is not only out of kindness but because of long term strategic interests. According to him, for a country to have one enemy fighting with another is the best diplomacy.

According to Tenzin, spirituality and freedom are closely and that Tibetans search for truth through a path of non-violence, and to die for freedom but not to kill for it. "I have been to 12 different jails but the issues of personal security have humbled me to understand freedom. I have no fear, no desire and I am blessed to be born such. I feel I am a soldier of freedom," Tenzin described himself in his own words.

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