chapter  17
13 Pages

Nationalising a Diaspora

The Tibetan government-in-exile in India
WithFiona McConnell

Clinging to the mountainside, mid-way between the bustling Indian town of Dharamsala and the former British hill-station of McLeod Ganj, is the headquarters of the Tibetan Government-in- Exile. The talk in the Department of Home is of infrastructure problems in Arunachal Pradesh, agricultural yields in Orissa and eviction notices in Delhi. At the Department of Education they are rolling out the new ‘Tibetan Education Policy’ and across the courtyard the Department of Health is concerned with rising tuberculosis cases and the recruitment of Tibetan doctors. Things are more upbeat in the Department of Finance. The government budget is in surplus for the first time, and the voluntary taxation contributions are on the rise. Meanwhile, staff on the ground floor are processing applications for the exile Tibetan ‘passport’, the rangzen lagteb, which every ‘bona fide Tibetan’ must hold, but which neither permits the holder to travel, nor offers any legal security. 1