The Politics of Reincarnation: India, China, and the Dalai Lama

April 21, 2017 By Tshering Chonzom Bhutia, THE DIPLOMAT

Much of the recent interest in the issue was sparked by comments made by local officials in Tawang – Deputy Commissioner Sang Phuntsok and Tsering Tashi, a local legislator – who expressed their wish for the next Dalai Lama to be reincarnated in Tawang. Robert J. Barnett from Columbia University too saw the visit as significant in this context. According to Barnett, it may be an attempt by the Dalai Lama to replicate some of his predecessors’ practice of visiting “places where they would later be reincarnated as babies.” He also saw the visit as a way to nudge the Chinese and to tell them that they have no control over the reincarnation process. Jayadeva Ranade, formerly additional secretary in the Indian government’s Cabinet Secretariat, and currently, head of the Center for China Analysis and Strategy, too saw the visit to Tawang as “a way of subtly sending the message on reincarnation.”[Source]

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