After watching Rockstar, I felt numb and dumb

By Tendar Tsering

Paying hundreds of Rupees, we took a taxi to travel from Mcleodganj, the seat of our exile government to Pathankot to watch the much anticipated Indian film 'Rockstar.'

After watching the Indian film 'Rockstar,' we were left frozen not knowing whether to give an applause to the film or to demand an apology from the director. Nevertheless, we learnt a lesson!

Just after the shooting of a song 'Sadda Haq' of the Indian film 'Rockstar' at Norbulinga, the summer palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama where the Indian actor Ranbir Kapoor sang 'Saddar Haq, ither rag' (my rights, leave here) amidst Tibetan monks and nuns waving the Tibetan national flags, and Free Tibet banners- the good news, the joyful one that Tibet was being shown in an Indian film reached all the Tibetans across the world through words of mouth, online and by phone.

The news that the Free Tibet banner was being shown in the film, the news that the Tibetan flag was being shown in the film, the news that some Tibetan monks and nuns were being projected in the Indian film made all Tibetans so happy and so joyful as if the film was going give us the freedom to return back to Tibet. Maybe its because most of us were born and grown up in India and bollywood has become a part and parcel of our life.

We waited for months for the release of the Indian film, and we were very excited to watch the film despite the eleven self-immolations in Tibet because for us-for the refugees, 'Rockstar' is not just a flim, but its the voice for the voiceless. But alas, at the last minute, Amtiaz Ali, the director of the film, with no second thought simply decided to blur the Free Tibet banner just because the Censor Board of India told him to do so.

Of course, we can't demand anything from India nor from any Indian because we are guests and India is our host. We have no choice but feel the gratitude of India.

Since we can't demand, we requested the director to rethink about the deletion of our Free Tibet slogan, and through protests, we urged the general Indian masses not to compromise its principles of democracy to please the communist country 'China' nor to sale Tibet for its own business.

Amtiaz Ali is for sure, very sympathetic towards Tibetans and he has projected Tibet in  one of his previous films (Jab We Met-where some Tibetan youngsters dance in Tibetan traditional dress) and has plan of projecting Tibet in his up coming film too but after watching the film, 'Rockstar', I felt numb and dumb.

We are thankful to Ali for including our monks and nuns in the song and showing the Tibetan flags, and the 'independence for Tibet' in Tibetan language written on the small cloth patch running on the length of the guitar that Ranbir carry almost through out the film. Yet, we felt dispointed for blurring the gigantic free Tibet banner because we feel no one is respecting our sentiments, we feel no one is supportive enough to stand against the Communist Party of China.

The existence of the Free Tibet banner in the film won't affect much to the struggle of our freedom, but we felt India-the biggest democracy voluntarily blurred the banner to kowtow to the Beijing government, and that really made us feel bad!

Objecting to the censorship of the banner is not a just for the appearing of the banner in the film, but a fight, a stand that we take against the Chinese government.

In a small way-small step, but we feel we lost the battle with China in this censorship of the film.

As the Indian Newspaper 'DNA' rightly pointed out if Amtez was sympathetic enough towards Tibet to object the order of Censor Board of India, he could have called for a press release or press conference. But he didn't because he is more of a business man than an activist-he care more about his career than about the sentiments of other freedom lovers.

As the times go on, as we stay more and more in exile, we see Tibet is just becoming a business card for everybody including the governments of the world, and the eleven self-immolations in Tibet in recent months are also just becoming numbers!

As much as the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has become the strength of Tibetans in its freedom struggle to get global support, the Tibetan issue has become a business card for the governments of the world and even for the writers, film makers and singers.

Tibet has become one of their best tools to maximize their sales in the market.

Its not only the 'Rockstar', nor just films but a bunch of songs and books have been also made on Tibet.

It would be so kind of them if they could high light the issue of Tibet through their productions, and even if they can't speak for Tibet, it would be so nice of them if their business don't hurt our sentiments.

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