In Pictures: Living with the Tibetan dream

Tibetans, particularly youth, are worried about their future as they mark 55th anniversary of uprising against China.


Ever since the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, fled Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, thousands of Tibetans have made the perilous journey through the Himalayas to find refuge in India.

On March 10, 1959, hundreds of Tibetans rose up against Chinese rule in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, but the uprising was brutally suppressed by the Chinese army. China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for centuries, but Tibetans say the mountainous region was virtually independent until China occupied it in 1950.

Following the uprising, the Dalai Lama, then Tibet's political as well as spiritual leader, fled to India on foot followed by his supporters, who made India their second home.

There are about 100,000 Tibetan exiles in India today, out of whom about 6,000 live in the country's capital, New Delhi. The northern Indian Himalayan town of Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile and the abode of the Dalai Lama. The government-in-exile takes care of the Tibetan community, and runs a network of hostels, schools and guest houses. The schools, which are based on India's curriculum, also teach the Tibetan language, history, culture and religion.

Young Tibetans continue to come to India in search of better economic and educational opportunities, but many of them are worried about their future. The fact that the Dalai Lama is getting older has also been a point of concern for many Tibetans.

The 78-year-old spiritual leader handed over his political powers to the democratically elected Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay in 2011.

On Monday, hundreds of Tibetans gathered in Dharamsala to mark 55 years since the uprising. Speaking on the occasion, Sangay said: "It was not easy for young Tibetans still living in Tibet - isolated from cousins, friends and former neighbours who have gone into exile in countries around the world."

"It is the younger generation of Tibetans in Tibet who clearly and loudly demand their identity, freedom and unity," Sangay told AP news agency.