Annual Report 2017

ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31ST MARCH 2017

Manjushree Centre of Tibetan Culture (MCTC), Darjeeling is a non-profit non-political charitable institution founded in August 1988 by a group of volunteers who shared similar concern for the preservation of rich Tibetan cultural heritage which is shared by the people inhabiting the entire Himalayan region. MCTC is registered under the Government of West Bengal Society Act XXVI of 1961 and approved by the Department of Religion and Culture, CTA, Dharamsala. It is managed by a ten member Executive Committee, elected every three years from among its members. This Centre is purely aimed in preservation and promotion of Tibetan heritage: language, culture, tradition, habits and religion.

This year too passed with a sense of achievements. Apart from achieving the targets that had been set at the beginning of the year, there had been numerous unplanned activities that also contributed towards the fulfilling of MCTC’s aims and objectives.

One of the most cherished targets was to add sand mandala and butter sculpture in the Himalayan Tibet Museum and we managed to accomplish it thanks to the invaluable guidance and supports from Kungu Losang Jinpala of Gaden Phodrang, Kungu Jampel Choesangla and above all the Namgyal Datsang, Dharamsala that deputed four expert monk artists, who worked assiduously for nearly a fortnight in the unusual cold weather in March this year. The imposing sand mandala and the accompanying colourful butter sculpture of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, which the monks consecrated after the completion on 24th March 2017, has now become a big pulling force for visitors because exposition of such exquisite work of arts in sand mandala and butter sculpture are not found in and around the region.

In accordance with our calendar of activities, Manjushree Centre arranged an eight day Photo Exhibition on Tibet Past & Present. The exhibition was put up in collaboration with Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Darjeeling in the MCTC premises from 13th to 20th November 2016. The renowned mountaineer Jamling Tenzing Norgay, the son of the illustrious first Everest conqueror, inaugurated the exhibition which was visited by hundreds of locals and tourists. The remarks jotted down by the visitors were very encouraging. In fact, the observations inspired us to make plans to set up a permanent photo exhibition section along with audio-visual screenings in the premises.

The success of the Free Eye Camps, held several times in the past years, has motivated us to make it an annual feature. In collaboration with Jamgon Kongtrul Eye Care Centre, Kalimpong, we organized Free Eye Camp on 7th & 8th June 2016 at Darjeeling.  MCTC accorded boarding lodging for doctors and nurses of Eye Care Centre besides arranging sweetened lemon tea for patients who thronged to our premises even from far flung areas. More than four hundred people, mostly economically underprivileged people availed the free check up. MCTC bore the expenses and coordinated in sending two batches of patients on 11th and 25th June to Jamgon Kongtrul Eye Care Centre at Kalimpong where they received free eye surgery.

Since 1993 we have been organizing Inter-School Tibetan Song and Dance Competition and people always look forward to this cultural extravaganza. On account of some factors beyond our control, we missed a few show of this annual event. However, this year we organized it in the form of Tibetan Cultural Festival on 24th July 2016 and it was a grand success. Central school for Tibetans, Ravangla, Sonada and Darjeeling, and ITBCI School participated in the programme organized at the school hall of CST, Darjeeling. The motley group of MCTC students also presented a tuneful number besides the formal MCTC anthem. A jam packed audience enjoyed the show which also featured a colour dance performance by the little buds of Himalayan Nursery School. Since seven persons had died due to landslide in Darjeeling a few days earlier, we observed two minutes mourning at the outset of the programme.

Manjushree Centre was set up in the beginning primarily to conduct free Tibetan language classes to cater to the wishes and interests of large number of locals who wanted to learn the language but found no suitable institutions that could help them. MCTC has been conducting Part time Tibetan Language Classes for locals, Intensive Tibetan Language Classes for students from abroad, Adult Education Classes for senior citizens, and Special Winter Classes for children during school vacation in winter. This year too we conducted all these classes except the last one, which was suspended as the period clashed with the timing of the Kalachakra Initiation at Bodhgaya. It would be resumed this winter. However, the Executive Committee members decided to put on hold the Intensive Tibetan Language classes from March 2017 for some years on account of irregular and insufficient strength of foreign students. Gen Dawala and Gen Dechen Dorjela took the classes. The latter left for Bylakuppe and has now been replaced by Gen Penpa Tseringla.

Like every year, a delegation of Manjushree Centre went to pay homage to the renowned Hungarian Tibetologist Csoma de Koros at his cemetery at Darjeeling on his death anniversary on 11th April. Then the Executive Committee members, teachers, students and the staff of MCTC gathered on 14th August 2016, to celebrate the 28th Foundation Day. Students, including a young Bengali, presented impressions about the Centre in their newly acquired Tibetan language much to the joy and satisfaction of all concerned. They recited prayers and sang Tibetan songs.

We also, as usual, arranged video film shows with LCD projector on large screen on 6th July on the occasion of the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, on 2nd September, the Tibetan Democracy Day, and on 10th December on the anniversary of the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize to His Holiness. People look forward to these shows and throng to our Library Hall. Since bulk of the audience was senior citizens, we arrange tea and snacks during the shows.

Manjushree Centre normally invites scholars and spiritual teachers to give lectures and teachings to public. This year MCTC assisted the initiatives taken by four young Tibetans in this direction. Ven. Jamyang Choesang, Tenzin Dawoe, Tenzin Thardoe and Ngawang Kalden organized talks on Buddhism from 15th to 18th February 2017 and again on 13th and 15th April 2017 at the Library Hall of Manjushree Centre. Leading teachers from different Buddhist monasteries such as Lama Pemba of Druk Sangnag Choeling, Dali; Khenpo Gen Paldenla of Ghoom Sakya Gonpa; and Khenpo Lodoe Tenzin of Kurseong Sakya Gonpa spoke in Nepali and Tibetan on such relevant topics like: Meaning and Significance of Prostration, Eight Verses of Mind Training, Cycle of Life, Rebirth, and TriRatna. Many people attended these teachings with great interest and enthusiasm.

Among the numerous official visitors to Manjushree Centre was Kungu Sonam Topgyal Khorlhatsang, the Kalon for Home Affairs, CTA, Dharamsala who visited Darjeeling from 8th to 10th September 2016. On the last day, MCTC members had a formal meeting with him. After hearing the reports and seeing the museum, he expressed his deep appreciation and exhorted the members to carry on the excellent work. Similarly, on 2nd September 2016, Mrs. Samten Choedon, a member of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile met the MCTC members and conveyed her amazement and admiration that an NGO like Manjushree Centre could do so much work in the field of cultural promotion and language preservation for so many years. On 7th December 2016, a three member team from Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim, headed by its Director Ba-nyak Rinpoche paid a visit to Manjushree Centre. The team marveled at the good work that MCTC had done over the years and gave advices and suggestions regarding the submission of applications for government grants.

White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings’ a novel by late Dr. T.Y. Pemba was released in Darjeeling on 18th March 2017 at Manjushree Centre for Tibetan Culture. Since the Norbhus and Pemba families, who launched the book, are core members of Manjushree Centre, everyone at MCTC worked enthusiastically on the occasion which was graced by a galaxy of intellectuals and academicians of Darjeeling.

In compliance to the rules and regulations of registered organizations, MCTC keeps accounts of its income and expenses. This year too MCTC got statement of accounts audited by authorized agencies.

Recorded by Jigme Ugyan

Tshering Norbu Dekeva                                                 Ngawang T. Gyatso

GENERAL SECRETARY                                                      PRESIDENT