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International Journal of Physical and Social Sciences
Year : 2016, Volume : 6, Issue : 1
First page : ( 78) Last page : ( 89)
Online ISSN : 2249-5894.

Constructing a virtual tibet: the emerging cultural revolution among the tibetans in exile

Dr. Coelho Joanna P.

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Goa University, Goa-403 206

Online published on 21 April, 2016.

Abstract

Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognises the dignity of every human being. This ideal, which was enshrined in the French Revolution, remains an endeavour even in today's post industrial society. Though the twentieth century saw the birth of many independent countries and the end of colonialism, modernisation and development has not lessened the social and economic disparity between the various categories of people. The principle of equality and human dignity, the guiding principles which inspired many a freedom movement, were forsaken ironically, in the quest for the formation of the modern nation state. The modern nation state with its homogenising principle led to the creation of minorities - those that refused to be homogenised. In its extreme, this intolerance of difference led to a situation, where people were forced to flee their motherland and become refugees. Once in the land of refuge, too the rights of the displaced people are often ignored or encroached upon by the coercive state machinery, powerful class, or by an ethnic community which is on the rampage. While the refugees are victims of statecraft and the discursive power of nationalism and human rights, they are at the same time, active agents of social transformation and socio economic progress. This paper focuses on one of the most active and successful refugee community in India- the Tibetan refugees in India.

The occupation of Tibet in 1959 was followed by the Cultural Revolution, which was a systematic destruction of Tibetan religion, language and culture and forceful imposition of Han culture on unwilling Tibetans in an attempt to Sinocise them. In March 1959, the XIV Dalai Lama, fled to India with thousands of Tibetan refugees. When a symbiotic national community with specific political and geo-cultural boundaries gets dismantled, it leads to the collective construction of a sense of community among the members of the former national community. The Tibetan refugees soon got on with the task of the creation and sustenance of unified Tibetan community. One powerful tool in this exercise is the internet. Through a rapidly growing profusion of cyberspace activities, Tibetan exiles in India and the world over have created a virtual Tibet that is free to propagate various dimensions of Tibetan culture and religion that is banned in China, thus ushering in a new Cultural Revolution.

The main focus of this presentation is on how the formation of a new virtual Tibet and its growth in the wake of ICT development, has shown a ray of hope for the otherwise seemingly futureless Tibetan diasporic community in India. How the ICT revolution has been contributing to combating the hegemonic influence of the mighty Cultural Revolution of China by showing the path towards international social justice is the axial problem of this presentation.

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Keywords

ICT development, cultural revelution, refugees.

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