By Yama Choezom
Nyima Lhamo came to India for a purpose. Her rosy cheeks show the identity of Tibetans from the roof of the world. From the highlands of Tibet, she is the niece of the Tibetan political prisoner Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, who was tortured tremendously and died in a Chinese prison a year back.
Lhamo left her six-year-old daughter and her own mother behind in Tibet and came into exile in India. She said that she might never meet her daughter and mother again. She said she came to India by paying seven hundred dollars to a Chinese man to exit from the Chinese border and reach India. For a poor, simple family like hers, seven hundred dollars is a large amount of money.
After a week in Dharamsala, Lhamo bravely appeared before press conferences surrounded by cameras, mics, and journalists, stating the purpose of her coming to India. For Lhamo, this is the first time she’s appear in front of so many journalists. She had to answer numerous questions, something she has done relentlessly and continuously since appearing before Chinese authorities for the release of her uncle when he was unjustly imprisoned.
She told the press that she purposefully came to India to tell her uncle’s story to the world and to reveal the torture and fraudulent accusations made against him by the communist party of China. She told the press that her uncle is now gone forever, but that there are many like him in Tibet who are innocent and being tortured inside the prison walls of China. Her main purpose in coming to India is to get through the investigation regarding the death of her uncle. She does not trust what the Chinese authorities claim about the details of his demise.
As she faced the press, it is understandable that there is a lingering feeling of not being able to be good enough to express what she wants to say. But these are minor fears compared to the torture and injustice done to her uncle. With this, Lhamo managed to convey and express her hopes and purpose for coming into exile, fighting back tears the entire time.
All the listeners could surely feel the lump in her throat and struggle in her voice. The journalists who could understand her accent were heartbroken by her words. I myself had to fight back tears as she spoke to us.
She shared an incident about her relationship with her uncle. I could feel the struggle in her quivering voice as she spoke. She said, “I was in my uncle’s Geshe Lungpa Orphanage School. One day, winter clothes were distributed among the students. My uncle didn’t give me my share. I was so disappointed and angry. Later, my uncle told me, ‘Lhamo, we don’t have enough clothes. It’s okay if you don’t get one because all of your friends are orphans and they are not like you.’ I later realized that I had not been as compassionate and thoughtful as my uncle.” Lhamo bent down her head a bit, wiped the tears away and regained the strength to continue speaking.
I watched her, in awe of her courage and strength. I silently prayed that she would achieve the purpose that she had set out for, leaving behind her precious daughter, mother and homeland.