Buddhism is a complex religion. So who better to give me a potted version than the 41st Sakya Trizin who now is head of the Tibetan community in Uttarakhand? Tibetan Buddhism has four main schools of which Sakyapa is one. Although owing allegiance, both spiritual and temporal, to the Dalai Lama, it has one difference from the other schools. The "Khon" family tradition began in the 12th century, and it is here that the Sakya faith is different. It is hereditary, passing from father to son (no women). His present Holiness has two children, one of whom will presumably succeed him, although he is only 61 years of age. Sakya began in India when the present incumbent left Tibet in 1959.
Fortuitously, the Sakya temple is on the borders of Sikkim which made the crossing easy. After a long spell in Mussoorie, Sakya Trizin decided to establish his teachings in Rajpur. His Holiness has two children, so is not bound by vows of celibacy. This is confined to the monks, whereas other lamas are free to marry.
I asked about inter-marriage outside the Sakya school. It is rare but does happen. The eldest son of the Sakya’s sister, living in Canada, married a Japanese girl, whereas her third son wed a strange combination of a Scottish father and a Filipino mother and they all live in Canada.
The hassles of living in India are few, I think; the Tibetans’ relations with the local people in Dehra Dun are excellent, and I have noticed that they live cheek by jowl in Rajpur village. Although possessing Indian travel documents, they are obliged to apply for a visa after a trip abroad and on return to India. Tibetan is widely spoken, although the original scripts are often in Hindi since Indian teachers were present in Tibet to impart knowledge of Buddhism. Buddha was after all a creation of India. Some things were dear to both our hearts. The main one being the enormous and escalating price of land in the Doon valley. Tibetans were sensible and bought cheap. The rest of us are still on the spiral upwards.
I thoroughly agree with the sentiments expressed about those silly people who file spurious complaints in courts about India’s moral values. It is reassuring to note that the President of Iran is getting the same treatment for thanking his old schoolteacher by kissing her gloved hand.
A great late friend in Dehra must have died happy at least in the knowledge that many frivolous FIRs filed against him are now null and void. Mixed marriages are cursed by the community, but often form the happiest and most tolerant. The petty complainant enjoys fleeting moments of pretentious glory, bragging in the evenings to cronies at the poppadom club. Surely magistrates should have the power and common sense to relegate these idiocies to the wastepaper bin. The law is not an ass nor will it be treated like one. I am all for truth and respect for sensitivities. But there is a line to be drawn.
As Rabindranath Tagore admirably put it, "Bigotry tried to keep truth safer in its hand, with a grip that kills it."
I am not terribly clever with money, which is why my wife and I employ an accountant and a lawyer to advise us. The usual is that a bank fixed deposit, especially for senior citizens, is prudent and attracts a reasonable reward in interest. Mutual funds are more profitable, but with a greater risk. Fair enough. If you bet on horses, running races that is, higher is the risk. Have you ever met a poor bookie? Or one that himself bets on races? Highly unlikely.
I see in the newspapers one can "buy" foreign nationality for a few crores. Petty cash to some. Well that is not how my bank sees it, based on my present account. But they have a vested interest in keeping my dosh firmly in their coffers. And which UK bank will offer a guaranteed return of 10.5% after 390 days? None that I know of.
Then comes the emotional question of nationality or citizenship. In the UK case, when the Indian receives a British passport, the now not so Indian is obliged to return his passport to the home ministry. The high commission gives him a piece of paper setting out the rules. Should he fail to do so he is in contravention of the law.
The not so Indian may think he can get away with it. But what a way to start a new life! Copybook already blotted.
Then there is tax. Too complex for me but I am taxed in the UK on the income earned there and by the Indians on income earned in India. My "Person of Indian Origin" card granted only because of my Indian wife. She can remain in India for 180 days in a year for tax exemptions, and requires a Schengen visa for visits to Europe.
My PIO card exempts me from Indian visa requirements. But I can only stay here for 180 days. So it’s not so simple.
Apart from emotional ties to India and changing nationalities, you may require a visa to visit your friends in the country of your birth. It may be simpler than I think.
By: David Keeling
Source: The Asian Age