The concept of home: Kunzang Choden and Tenzin Tsundue discuss
Manipal: What is home? Is it a concrete place or an abstract notion? Such questions were deliberated and discussed on the panel held on the final day of M.I.L.A.P featuring Bhutanese writer Kunzang Choden and Tibetan writer-activist Tenzin Tsundue. They shared their experiences and views on the topic ‘Always at Home, Never At Home: Journey through Bhutan, India and Tibet’ along with moderator Chintan Girish Modi.
The common discussed themes were of the ‘Tibetan refugee’ and the true meaning of home. In addition, Tsundue focused on immigrants who left due to socio-economic or political issues. This not only referred to people who sought refuge in the country but inter-state migrations where immigrants brought their cultures with them. According to him, culture need not be a physical emanation such as clothes; real culture is how one responds to happiness and the way we think.
Kunzang Choden explained how the idea of ‘Gross National Happiness’ of Bhutan came into existence, courtesy of a small statement at a conference by the King of Bhutan in the late 70’s. Rediscovered in the 80’s, it was then supported by the United Nations. However, the quantification of happiness failed to meet expectations in Bhutan. This enabled the Bhutanese to ask for the ‘happiness’ spoken about by the Bhutanese Government.
“As long as one is able to train one’s mind with what one has, a certain amount of happiness can be gained and then there comes freedom,” said panelist Tenzin Tsundue elaborating on the idea of contentment presented by Kunzang Choden.
Tsundue read out his poem, ‘When It Rains in Dharamsala’, a poem reminiscent of his days in Dharamsala. Kunzang Choden was also requested to read out an excerpt from her book ‘Circle of Karma.’
Featured Image Courtesy: Sahaj Mathur
Edited by: Bhavna Subramanian