The Caravan Features StoriesAsia: Tibetan Poet Tenzin Tsundue’s Journey Into Activism

11 July, 2018

Over 150,000 Tibetans live in India, away from their homeland. Many of the older Tibetan residents of India fled Tibet along with the fourteenth Dalai Lama, after an unsuccessful uprising against the Chinese regime, in 1959, whereas most of the young refugees have never even seen Tibet. Yet, more than anything else, they long to “return” to a free or truly autonomous Tibet. While they are grateful to be able to stay in India, they do not want to move on and “settle in” in this country.

Tenzin Tsundue, a poet and activist, who lives in McLeodganj—a suburb of Dharamshala in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and the exiled home of the Dalai Lama—personifies the restlessness among the young refugees. He survives on the minimal profit he makes from selling self-published books of his poetry. Tsundue has been jailed 15 times for crossing the borders between Tibet and India and holding protests. He said he will continue until Tibet is free.