March 12, New Delhi, India- On the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the National Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day, the Tibetan Women’s Association dedicated this day to honor the indomitable literary spirit of the Tibetan Women inside Tibet. TWA organized an exclusive literary event, “Honoring the Literary Spirit of Tibetan Women Inside Tibet”. The event held at the Deputy Speaker Hall of Constitution Club of India, featured a book launch and a panel discussion.
The book ‘A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations’ is written by Jamyang Kyi, who is one of the most important voices writing from Tibet. The writer has been jailed, and interrogated on many instances and continue to be under heavy scrutiny for her writing demanding more freedom in Tibet. As a writer, singer and blogger she continues to speak for her people at great peril of her life under the Chinese authorities. Her book originally written in Tibetan has been translated and published in three languages, Tibetan, English and Chinese by TWA who will be distributing the books worldwide.
Following the launch a panel discussion on the topic “Literary Spirit of Women Under Oppression” was held. Chaired by Swati Chopra , New Delhi based writer and poet and author of ‘Dharamsala Diaries’ and ‘Women Awakened: Stories of Contemporary Spirituality in India’, the key speakers for the panel discussion included: Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Jaya Jaitly, Former president of Samta Party and Social Activist, Nafisa Ali, Social Activist and Actor and Nilanjana S. Roy, Journalist and Literary Critic. The guest speakers for the panel discussion are themselves women writers and activist who have always spoken for people and causes even when sometimes, their speaking up has angered certain parties and they have been threatened.
Swati Chopra observed that the book A” Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” addresses bigger issues the Chinese authorities are trying to make out of it. She lauded the author Jamyang Kyi for painstakingly outlining in great details the physical and psychological torture that she endured. “A ray of hope runs through the book and Jamyang Kyi is a believer in truth.”
Gyari Dolma honored the brave women inside Tibet and lamented that ‘while we are living in exile because of the consequences of oppression and occupation by a brutal force, the women inside Tibet are under fear because of oppression.’ She commended the grit and perseverance of Jamyang Kyi and said that ‘it’s amazing that even in her fear, we see strength’.
Jaya Jaitly pronounced that today’s function is about honoring women who are expressing themselves. She proclaimed that ‘the chakra for Indian freedom fighters is the pen for Tibetan people’. “Book lasts longer that we do and this book brings out the struggle in women, therefore let us honor the writing of Jamyang Kyi as an effective tool of non-violent protest.”
Nafisa Ali saluted the courage of women like Tsering Woeser and Jamyang Kyi, their cause and their mission. She expressed condolences to those affected by the Tsunami in Japan but bemoaned that ‘what Japan is going through today, Tibet goes through everyday’. Nafisa vehemently remarked that the world should let China and Tibet get the reform that is required. ” If the dictatorship gives way for a peaceful benefactor, then we will have a wonderful place in South East Asia.”
Nilanjana S. Roy quoted an expression by Jamyang Kyi : “Chinese are allowed to write articles but we Tibetans are not even allowed to create them.” She expressed her adulation for the writer and said that ‘the fluency with which Jamyang Kyi remembers everything of her 21 days in prison is amazing.’ Nilanjana affirmed that the book makes for a poignant reading and reflects many voices of women around the world.
The speakers vented an affirmative tone in saying that the book “A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” make for an excellent example of ‘oral narratives of oppression that ends on a note of hope.’ They thanked TWA for bringing a remarkable writing into the consciousness of the readers.
Although it cannot be ascertained whether anything like the “A Sequence of Tortures; A Diary of Interrogations” will ever appear again, the fact remains that this writing represents a complete sequence of interrogations the likes of which had gone unrecorded. The publication not only lays bare the true situation of Tibetan people but also explores the harsh conditions under which individuals still continue to suffer. More importantly, it exposes a government that combines the characteristics of guile, deceit, and coercion. It is in a true sense a very moving personal account which resonates with the experiences of the elder generations, can be a source of inspiration for her peer group and provide a new avenue of emulation for upcoming generations.
Post 2008 national protests inside Tibet, the world is witnessing a cultural and intellectual renaissance in Tibet where intellectuals, thinkers and artists are reasserting their Tibetan identity and patriotism in a creative way. Tibetan Women like Tsering Woeser and Jamyang Kyi have written fiercely under oppression and their works have contributed largely to amplifying the suppressed voices in Tibet.
TWA pays paeans to these Tibetan women whose literary spirit, resilience and fearless acts have taken the Tibetan struggle notches higher and whose indomitable courage is exemplary of female fortitude and has encouraged women around the world. TWA is positive that today’s expression of solidarity will reach the women inside Tibet and that the voice of women inside Tibet will reach the women around the world.