Ti­betans forced to face prospect of life af­ter Dalai Lama

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot - townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE Dalai Lama’s de­ci­sion to re­tire as po­lit­i­cal head of the Ti­betan gov­ern­ment-in-ex­ile has forced his fol­low­ers to con­front the prospect of life af­ter the death of the global fig­ure­head. Tashi Dolma, 21, a col­lege stu­dent at an anti-China ‘ ‘ Free Ti­bet’’ demon­stra­tion in New Delhi, said he thought the move was part of a long-term plan for democ­racy and new lead­er­ship.

‘‘ Be­ing a young­ster, I feel that it is the right time for the Dalai Lama to re­tire,’’ he said. ‘‘ He has a long-term vi­sion and it is for the young now to take the re­spon­si­bil­ity and take the move­ment ahead.’’

Ten­zin Dhondup, a 32-year-old film­maker, called it a ‘‘ wake-up call to all Ti­betans’’ that the man con­sid­ered both a god and a king by his fol­low­ers would not live for­ever.

‘‘ We want him to stay on for­ever, but prac­ti­cally speak­ing pos­si­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘ Some day or other, some­one has to step into his shoes. We are be­ing given more re­spon­si­bil­ity for our nation.’’

The 75-year-old spir­i­tual leader fled to In­dia from his home­land more than 50 years ago and has since suc­cess­fully built up a move­ment in ex­ile and kept at­ten­tion fo­cused on Chinese rule in Ti­bet.

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