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Thank you India – A snapshot of Tibetans in McLeod Ganj

By Vikas Singla

BANGALORE, India, 9 April 2016

McLeod Ganj is one of my favourite places to visit. It was about 7:30 in the morning, and I was walking on the streets on the way to Dharamkot. On the way, I saw a local person, typical Tibetan short height man, carrying bread and milk in his hand for breakfast. He was continuously chanting some mysterious mantra. A couple of dogs in street made me look little worried. As I was hesitant to go ahead, he told me “Don’t worry, they won’t bite.” That little disturbance made me closer to him and hence we started talking. I asked him “What are you continuously chanting?” He said “om mani padme hum.” It is the mantra that is given to him by spiritual teacher the Dalai Lama.

In 1959, China took over their place [Tibet] and they got exiled from that place. He is one of the refugees who got settled down in India in 1959. Dalai Lama got settled in McLeod Ganj and he helped his people to get settled down. He talked with government and arranged houses for everybody.

Although I was listening to him pretending to be very intellectual and understanding — but, somebody got entirely uprooted from the place of their culture and that pain is still alive in their hearts after 50-55 years. It was hard to understand that pain for me. In fact, that entire culture is uprooted from its original birthplace. His story was so heartfelt. So far, I had only read this kind of story from books, newspapers, magazines. But this time it was directly coming from a person. This means, my real travelling had just begun.

“Have you seen ‘Thank you India’ written somewhere in this area,” He said.

“Oh yes, I have seen the one written at Dal Lake in Nadi.”

“Yes! It is gratitude shown by Tibetan people to India for letting us stay in your country and thank you preserving our culture.”

I saw some kids playing in the street, laughing badly doing some notorious things. Unaware of the fact that these moments of laughter is the result of the long struggle of a few people. Sometimes I wonder how much for granted do we take happiness in life, whereas it might be the result of a so long hard struggle of our parents, culture, society we live in. We can only realize it when we see others in pain.

By the time his house came, he said “Come on in, Let’s have breakfast.” I said “No! Thank you.”

From Vikas Singla’s blog at

Profile: Vikas Singla is an IT professional from Bangalore.

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2 Responses in the Thank you India – A snapshot of Tibetans in McLeod Ganj

  1. 2.
    Alok, from Delhi, says on 8 October 2020 at 5:49 pm

    Mcleodganj has something for everybody – history buffs, experience, foodies, and the individuals who just need to idyll away.

  2. 1.
    Arun Pasrija, from Bathinda, Punjab, says on 18 April 2016 at 11:51 am

    Good one. Ya its true that we take happiness for granted without knowing the fact of long struggle behind it done by our parents.

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