Dharamsala, Jan 24: It was a trip down memory lane for Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay here in Himachal Pradesh Friday as he released a biography of Takna Jigme Sangpo, the longest-incarcerated Tibetan political prisoner in China.
“I feel honoured to launch the biography of Takna Jigme Sangpo. Since my time as an activist during my college years in Delhi, I have heard of Sangpo’s incarceration in Drapchi Prison (in Lhasa, Tibet) and drawn inspiration from his heroic activism,” Sangay said at the book launch function.
Sangpo was released on medical grounds March 31, 2002, after serving more than three decades behind bars.
Sangay, the democratically elected leader of the Tibetan people, said Sangpo undertook various political activities even from within the prison.
“One significant protest was during the visit of Swiss human rights officials to Drapchi in 1992, when Sangpo raised slogans of Tibetan freedom, before he was subdued by Chinese officials.”
“Through him, I pay my respects to all the former political prisoners and those suffering under Chinese occupation in Tibet,” added Sangay, who was once dubbed a “terrorist” by China because of his earlier association with the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest group of exiles.
Sangay said there were reasons for releasing the biography, one being a speech by the Dalai Lama.
“In that speech, His Holiness urged older generation of Tibetans to put their experiences in writing. If you don’t record the sacrifices and sufferings, there is a chance that your sacrifices might gradually fade into oblivion,” Sangpo recalled the Nobel Peace laureate as saying in that speech to mark the 28th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern Indian hill town.