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The Zhe-Sa and Phal-Skad Issue!
Restriction on Tibetan Languages in Classrooms is Causing Protests

It’s rightly said that history repeats itself, but in this case, history repeated itself even before it comfortably established itself as history. Two weeks back, Tibetan students in Rebkong and Chabcha in Amdo (Qinghai province) and Tawu in Kham (Sichuan province) started protesting over restrictions on the use of Tibetan languages in classrooms. This protest has now spread and has also influenced Chinese students. In Beijing, over 500 Tibetan students from the Tibetan Studies department of Minzu University of China reportedly raised their voice over this issue. This is quite similar to the anti-government violent uprising that took place two years ago over Tibetan freedom.

The three notable Tibetan languages are Zhe-sa, Phal-skad and Chos-skad. There is a looming fear that the current bilingual system in Tibet will be scrapped by China in favour of using Mandarin Chinese alone. This move is seen by Tibetans to be a step to curb and contain the Tibetan culture. This also is clearly a deliberate move by the Chinese regime to motivate China’s ethnic Han majority to migrate to Tibet (as currently the language barrier is one of the prime issues against such migration and against non-Tibetans taking up jobs within Tibet), and thus, over time, ensure that the numerical percentage of ethnic Tibetans in Tibet starts reducing.

But more than this, the Tibetan languages per se have stood as the totem poles and vanguards for leading the anti-China movement. Thus, the Chinese regime is hoping that over time, once the newer generations of Tibetans start forgetting their original language, the pre-existent basis of revolt might disappear.

Language based protests across the world have led to huge revolts – even in the Asian continent, Bangladesh is a prime example of how a different language led to a separatist movement from Pakistan, despite both being Islamic states. Will the current issue lead to an endgame?

By:- Sray Agarwal

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