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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Poor weavers nurture free Tibet dream

October 26, 2008

Pupul Chatterjee
The Telegraph (India)
October 23, 2008

Ranchi, Oct. 23 -- They grow crops, weave exquisite carpets and warm
woollen sweaters or caps and dream of a free Tibet that would allow
them to live free in their homeland.

Though, India has been a kind host to Tibetan refugees after Prime
Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered them shelter in this country,
Tibetan refugees have to make do with limited resources offered to them.

For one, despite possessing formal education none of them can aspire
for a government post here. Many able men and women such as Tsering
Dolkar gave up their studies after Class XII, knowing well that
government posts in India were out of their reach and that private
sector offered limited, often prejudiced, options.

Often those limited jobs, too, have to be given up to help out
parents during the four months of winter when markets are set up all
over India by the refugee parents.

In Ranchi, Tibetan Refugees, especially from Potala, have been
setting up makeshift markets in the city since the sixties. It has
been a long journey from the streets near Firayalal Chowk to the
present location at the town hall where the market and business have
undergone considerable expansion. However, not much has changed for the people.

When this reporter meets her, Tsering Dolma, 60, is dressed in a
traditional Chhupa, Unju and Panden, the apron that married women
wear. The woman who originally settled in Dehradun said: "When the
winter ends we go back to Dehradun, where my family makes carpets
that we sell in Delhi. The prices begin from Rs 1,000, a pair of
carpets sometimes fetches around Rs 3,000. However the demand varies
from place to place."

Dolma adds that Tibetan carpets are of two kinds, Khaji Kadum and
Peshi Korsum. Khaji Kadums are more fine and expensive for woven from
thin wool and have intricate cut works with scissors on them. Peshi
Korsums are thicker carpets with lotus patterns and are easier to make.

The secretary of the Potala Tibetan Sweater Market Association,
Tenzing Rinchen, reveals a surprising fact that the biggest
concentration of refugee camps are in south India — in Kollegal on
borders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with 22 camps each having around
32 families.

There are a large number his fellow countrymen settled in Madhya
Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and
Uttar Pradesh, Tenzing said.
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