June 6, 1999
BHUBANESWAR, JUNE 5: Like any other 28-year-old, Tenzin Chodar looks completely at ease astride his Enfield Machismo motorcycle. Chodar’s mission, though, is far from macho: Since May 20, he is on a countrywide trip to try and convince fellow humans of the futility of war.
The frail youngster from Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), who is passionate about peace, started his cross-country tour from Bangalore on May 20 and reached the city on Sunday last from Sambalpur.
“War and peace are like the colours black and white, very different. The American leaders say they are bombing Belgrade for the cause of peace. How can bombing be a solution,” he asks.
Airstrikes and bombing may buy peace, but for a very short time, he says. “Have the Serbs stopped after the US attack. Has Saddam Hussain stopped after the US attacked his bases? On the other hand, Saddam says he is ready to attack the US. In such situations, can you expect peace for long?”
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Chodar got the idea of going on a peace mission after he didVipassana courses in Nepal, Nashik and Bangalore. “Vipassana give me the strength to do these things. When I meditate, I can imagine how people suffer due to war. We can’t have any more war and conflict for the coming generation,” he says.
From Bangalore, Chodar went to Hyderabad, Raipur, covered Maharashtra and finally Orissa. From Bhubaneswar, he will head for Bihar. The tour will be complete in the next two months, after which he will return to Bangalore.
While on tour, Chodar stops at various places and displays the slogans on world peace with the message of His Holiness Dalai Lama written on two rexine blackboards. On highways and the countryside, he tells the people about world peace. “Though they have never heard about NATO or know the necessity of world peace, they show curiosity. In a big country like India, the media does not reach poor and illiterate people. By going around the country, I think I am reaching them,” he says.
On the current Indo-Pakistan conflict at Kargil, he says both thecountries are fighting a war without actually declaring so. Both the countries have fought three wars in the last 50 years and yet, no solution is in sight, he says. “It’s very easy to sit in New Delhi and say `let there be war’. But if your family and cousins lived in Kargil, would you prefer war there,” he asks, adding he may visit Kargil, if allowed to.
About his other mission, that of freeing Tibet from China’s clutches, he says the Chinese authorities have scant regard for human right norms there. “The worst thing is China’s population transfer to Tibet. The Chinese have outnumbered us. So far, 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed,” he says. Quoting the Dalai Lama, he says the need of the hour is that the strong and the weak contribute to world peace. “I’m doing that,” he says.
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