India: The Olympic Torch and Tibet

It seems like Tibet refuses to go away from people's mind. Tibet continues to be the dominant topic of conversation and is clearly gathering a lot of public support, especially in virtual India. Baichung Bhutia, India's well-known football player has refused to carry the Olympic torch when it comes to India in mid-April. Bhutia is a Buddhist from the Indian state of Sikkim. Bhutia told the Indian media that this was his way of standing up for the people of Tibet, and clearly Bhutia's stance has resonated with many Indian bloggers.

Sushbh of Insanity Rediscovered writes that he is very pround of Bhutia's stance on Tibet and not carrying the Olympic torch, while Sudharshan writes that he does not care if the Indian football team makes it the world cup final, and is very proud of Bhutia's decision. Patrix writes that finally we have an Indian celebrity who can stand up to China.

However Avinash differs and writes that Tibet should be discussed but now now since the Olympics is a global event. What Avinash is pointing out in his blog is that Tibet and Beijing Olympics issues need to be de-coupled.

While Bhutia has decided not to carry the torch, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan announced that he will be part of the Olympic torch. To say that Aamir Khan's decision to carry the Olympic torch has created a buzz would be a bit of an understatement. Khan,(probably the only Bollywood actor with a blog) writes about his decision to carry the Olympic torch:

“I categorically state that I am absolutely against any form of violence, and certainly I am deeply upset whenever the basic rights of human beings are violated anywhere in the world.”

He adds:

“I request those of you who have asked me to stay away from the Olympic Torch Relay to understand that when I do run with the torch on the 17th of April it is not in support of China. In fact it will be with a prayer in my heart for the people of Tibet, and indeed for all people across the world who are victims of human rights violations.”

Khan's blog post has created quite a bit of reaction from the bloggers. Raman's Strategic Analysis in his open letter to Aamir Khan writes:

“You have millions of admirers as an artist all over the world. You will continue to have millions of admirers what ever be your final decision. But many of them will have feelings of vacuum in their hearts over your failure to distinguish between the right and the wrong.”

Prasanna Vishwanathan of Benched@Bangalored finds Khan's explanation “convoluted” and writes:

“(Khan) he cannot camouflage the fact that commercial consideration motivates his decisions rather than any lofty intentions .Or it could well be that oppression in Iraq or Afghanistan by US could or NBA agitatation against Modi government is what strikes emotional chord in Aamir Khan's heart.The selective heart-bledding has been consistent hallmark of left liberal intelligenstia.”


  • […] India: The Olympic Torch and Tibet Global Voices Online, MA Baichung Bhutia, India’s well-known football player has refused to carry the Olympic torch when it comes to India in mid-April. Bhutia is a Buddhist from […]

  • anita

    Currently in Tibet

    China’s deadly attack on Tibetans in Tongkor Township (Karze County) in southeastern Tibet on April 3rd came after Chinese authorities detained two monks for possessing photos of the Dalai Lama following a raid by over 3,000-armed police at Tongkor monastery. The police opened fire on the crowd of over 700 people, nearly half of whom were monks, gathered to protest the arrests. All Tibetan areas remain closed off to independent media, but eyewitness reports from all across Tibet describe horrific beatings, suicide attempts by monks locked inside their monasteries, house-to-house searches, and large groups of Tibetans being boarded onto trains at Lhasa’s new railway station. As the situation inside Tibet remains critical, several peaceful protests and actions are planned for tomorrow’s relay here in London.

  • Riversword2008

    I thought Sikkim is India’s Tibet. A nation taken control by India.

  • Sutapas Bhattacharya

    Chinese internet propaganda is suggesting that Dalai Lama and nonproductive Tibetan monks are hurting India’s interests. On the contrary, India has a proud history of giving sanctuary to persecuted peoples such as Jews fleeing Babylonian exile and Zoroastrians fleeing Mohammedan persecution in Persia. The Tatas are such Parsees. India’s interest lies in standing up for freedom. Note that weak UPA coalition relies on CPI(M) in W. Bengal which maintains power with votes from millions of illegal Bangladeshis (hence Taslima expelled). Why is Indian policy of China-appeasement being dictated by a regional party relying upon Muslim illegal immigrants! My CPI(M) relative even has books by Eric Honecker, the disgraced East German dictator famous for his Stazi Police State. UK Channel 4’s Undercover Tibet showed Chinese Police State Terror in Tibet. UK Guardian (Saturday) tells of repression of Uighurs also occupied by PRC. China gave Pakistan the nuclear blueprint and via N. Korea missiles. Wake up Indians, Chinese imperialism is the real threat to India and we must stand up to support Tibetan and Uighur independence from Han colonialism.
    Sutapas Bhattacharya

  • David Collin

    I seriously think that those protesters are not real Buddhist. Buddhist promote peace, not to creat war & fight. These people were creating fights, they even attacked a girl on a wheelchair. What a shame!!! They are insulting the whole Olympic spirit, insulting all sportsman around the world.

    They talk about human right. Yes, they have the right to protest, to tell people about your political view. But they have no right to kill the spirit of Olympic, to kill the dream of millions of people who want to join the Game!

  • Nano

    @Sutapas Bhattacharya
    “India’s interest lies in standing up for freedom.”

    Sure, India is apparently democratic and stands for freedom. It has been intimately involved with Burma’s trade and supporting the Burmese junta, yet it has not being singled out for western bashing. Why? Because it is the west’s LAPPING DOG.

  • sanjana kapoor

    it realy sadend me that amir khan is taking a torch for the olympic game.well!! it’s very diplomatic to say i am carying with the prayer.i am sure all your fans would be very upset with you.
    who are you?if you dont have fan amir? well!!! think twice!!

  • sanjana kapoor

    well!!! Amir,its not just a game, but its about human life..dont you have any feelings…no one would appreciate if you carry olympic torch.

  • Sutapas Bhattacharya

    India is Indo-Centric, and if our interests coincide with West, we will cooperate with West. Presently our civilisation faces threats from Han imperialism and Mohammedans in West who, as with Pak nukes, work together. India was opposed to Burmese junta but given increasing Chinese presence in Burma has needed to engage junta to counter Chinese influence including destablization of India’s North-East. China is building naval bases in Burma. A few months ago Indian, Japanese, US and Australian navies held joint exercises in Bay of Bengal. This week, German Navy held joint exercises with Indian Navy and Germany (Merkel very pro-Tibet)will sell latest high-tech weaponry to India. India also has Phalcon AWACs which China wanted but US would not allow to be sold to Communist dictatorship.
    I like to compare rise of China and India to Sparta and Athens. China, like Sparta is just brute,crude military power, enslaving other races, but little creativity as totalitarian mindset. India is more like Athens, leaving a legacy of ideas. Hu Shih, a Chinese ambassador to USA, said that India conquered China without a single soldier. 35,000 Chinese words are of Sanskrit, Pali origin and Kung Fu, Feng Shui, Chinese Herbal medicine etc. are also Indian in origin as was block printing. S.E. Asia was called Greater India due to Indo-Aryan influence from Korea (first king married Indian) to Indonesia. Of course India had massive westward influence as well. Greek philosophia came from Jain Yoga (see Thomas McEvilley, The Shape of Ancient Thought) and so-called ‘Arabic’ numerals, algebra, arithmetic, zero, solution to general eqns etc. are all indian. As A.L. Basham noted, medieval Arabs called maths ‘Hindisat’ (Art of Hindus).
    Chinese ‘soft power’ now means N.Korea, Tibet, Uighurs, Burma, Darfur, Zimbabwe etc. In 1950s, Arnold Toynbee predicted that in 21st Century, India would conquer her conquerors with her ideas. This is already happening. Buddhism came out of Brahmanism. Tibetan Buddhism is old Indian tantric Buddhism. Tibetan Dzogchen is much like Brahmanism. I have identified brain correlate of Divine Light (a.k.a. Atman, Buddha Nature, Inner Light of Christ, al haqq, Godhead)with well-known brainwaves and such knowledge will undermine all theistic religions in due course – see my The Divine Light and the Mystery of Existence (on EmazipationeHumanum website) or my book on Google Books!.
    Sutapas Bhattacharya

  • Sutapas Bhattacharya

    Dear James,
    If you email me directly at I cen forward to you the full evidence for my RAS Brainwave Correlation for the Atman (Inner Light) along with some new info. I am finally going to focus my mind now – after two more years of research since writing the stuff presented free on the web – and finish this book.
    Best regards,
    Sutapas Bhattacharya

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