Towards the last two months of my last visit to India in the spring of 2012, I encountered the Tibetan community in exile in India experiencing painful news of their people self-immolating in fire one after another in China-occupied Tibet. My experiences in the past visits in India (drawing a cremation site in Varanasi, documenting fire pits, cremation alters, and contemplating on life and death around fire) synchronized with this particular movement, an extreme way of ‘offering’ their bodies to ‘fire’ for asking freedom and peace.I could not help drawing large and small drawings as emotional response and with a sense of mourning.

After coming back to Vancouver, the self-immolation kept happening and I felt that my personal and professional task is not finished.

I have come back to India to continue to document and draw under the same theme.

15 October 2018

Remember Jamyang Palden March 14 2012

For Jamyang Palden, who self immolated on March 14, 2012 in Rongwo Town, Rebkong, Amdo,

Jamyang, a monk from Rongpo Monastery in his late 30s, left the morning prayer session around 10 am and headed to Dolma ( Tara) Square in front of the main temple.  He offered a prostration three times towards the direction of the main temple.  Then he raised slogans 'May Gyalwa Rinpoche come back to Phayul  and may Tibetans and our language be always protected' to set up himself on fire.

The local people who were there to prostrate tried to extinguish the flame, however, he was badly burnt. 

He was admitted to the hospital then brought back to the monastery by monks, who feared his body may be taken by the authority.  A doctor was called in to give treatments.*

Monks and local people gathered at the site of his protest to offer prayers and to show the solidarity by raising slogans. 

Jamyang's self immolation protest has also likely triggered  a peaceful protest by around 700 students in the area for protection of Tibetan language and equanimity for Tibetans.

March 14 was the four year anniversary of a major protest that happened in Lhasa in 2008.  It is said hundreds of people were killed.

* I could not find the exact date but Kusho Jamyang passed away after one year. (Japanese) ( English)