Himal South Asia had presented a report in its September edition on the accusations and counter-accusations between the Dalai Lama ´camp´ and the Shugden Supporters Community (SSC), a Buddhist group based in London. The story had suggested, among other things, that the Dalai Lama´s followers might have been a little over-zealous in enforcing his stricture against worshipping the deity Dorje Shugden. Little did we know then that Himal itself would have to face the displeasure of some these followers over the same matter.
Salugara, near Siliguri in the Indian state of West Bengal, was the site where Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, conducted his latest Kalachakra initiation. An estimated 200,000 Buddhists devotees were gathered from all over the Himalayan rimland and overseas. Even though security was tight, the atmosphere in Salugara was carnival-like, and we were glad to be a part of it, through the presence of Himals for sale at a stall.
Little did we know that the Minister of Security of the Tibetan Government in Exile had de facto policing powers in Salugara during the period of the Kalachakra, not that we had done something objectionable. Freedom of speech, after all, is not something that Karunamaya, the compassionate one, would frown upon.
Apparently those in charge of protecting the “living incarnation” of the Compassionate One do not agree. Before less than five copies of the September issue had been sold, Tibetan sleuths swooped on the stall and demanded that Himal be withdrawn from sale. It contained subversive matter, the said. Intimidated, the hapless stall-keeper relinquished the copies of Himal, which the Tibetan officials promised to keep in “safe custody” until after the Kalachakra.
Interestingly enough, those who have read the September issue find that the article on the Shugden controversy was generally favourable to the Dalai Lama. But that is besides the point. What is not, is that the writ of Dharamsala´s security apparatus could run on a Nepali citizen in India. Which leads us to wonder if all those stories about immoderate pressure applied on the Tibetan followers of Dorje Shugden followers might just have been true.