Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mohan Singh and Tibet connection

By Tenzin Lekshay

Tibetan Parliamentarians led by Speaker Penpa Tsering 
meet Mr Mohan Singh, (3rd from right) senior member of 
Indian Parliament in New Delhi on 15 October 2011
After the untimely demise of Mohan Singh, an eminent socialist leader and a member of Parliament, Tibet has yet again lost one of her oldest confidante. As soon as I received the shocking news, I called upon a small contingent of Tibetans based in Delhi to visit his residence at Pandara Road, Delhi. We paid homage to our dear friend, along with scores of Indian who thronged to condole his passing away. When we arrived, the gentleman who was coordinating the last rite announced the gathering to remain silent when the Tibetan monks recite monlam prayer. In the midst, he told us that Mohan Singh ji stood up for the Tibetan cause. He was right!  Mohan Singh has been one of our oldest friend who unflinchingly supported us throughout his life.

Over the years, I had a privilege of meeting Mohan Singh ji on several occasions. Even though, he was physically unwell for years, I saw him interacting with groups of people all the time. He was receptive and always tolerate our presence with his benign gesture whenever we visit him. While lying on bed with a simple white kurta, he would tirelessly inquire about the latest development inside Tibet. He had a deep interest on Tibet and was always ready to show his solidarity with Tibet.

After India became republic, the socialist movement led by Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia has championed the Tibet cause and had spearheaded the solidarity movement inside India. His famous 'Baby Murder' statement of 1959 after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, enrolled many of his followers to sympathize with the Tibetan cause. India-Tibet Friendship Society, which is one of the largest Tibet Support Groups in India, spreading all over India was formed by the members largely belonging to the socialist movement. This support group plays an instrumental role in raising the awareness about Tibet issue in India. After Lohia's death, Janeshwar Mishra, Brij Bushan Tiwari, and Mohan Singh followed the steps of their mentor, Dr. Lohia in supporting the Tibet issue.

In 2012, when Brij Bushan ji passed away, I wrote an obituary note. During his first death anniversary, few of his associates and likeminded fellows cladded in white kurtas attended, including the ailing Mohan Singh. Though he was not well at that time, he attended the program and spoke on length about his long association with Brij Bushan ji. It was such an emotional moment to witness his tears rolling uncontrollably while speaking.

Few days ago, Tibetan Parliament in Exile unanimously passed a resolution to mourn the sad demise of Mohan Singh. In the resolution, it stated "Shri Mohan Singh was a staunch supporter of the issue of Tibet. He took the leading role, along with Shri George Fernandes, in holding the First World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet in Delhi in 1994. He has also taken part in the subsequent World Parliamentarians’ Conventions on Tibet. He has raised the issue of Tibet in Indian Parliament. Moreover, he has shown the highest esteem and respect to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who he has met on several occasions."

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay sent his condolence message, where he expressed “We are saddened to hear about the passing away of Shri. Mohan Singh. With his passing away, we not only lost a very true friend but also a great parliamentarian – a man of high principles. He will be remembered by Tibetans for his unflinching support in the most trying of circumstances,”

Ram Gopal, General Secretary of Samajwadi Party rightly opined "After the demise of Janeshwar Mishra and Brij Bhushan Tiwari, the demise of Mohan Singh is a setback for the socialist movement. He was a man of principles and his death has left a void in the Samajwadi Party". I would further state that it was not just a setback for the socialist movement and the Samajwati party, it was also a huge lost for the Tibetan movement. We have few old, all weathered friends in the Indian parliament, he was one amongst them. With his passing away, we have lost a true friend and we will dearly miss him.

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