The plea of the Tibetan who set himself ablaze

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 28, 2012 17:23 hrs

New Delhi: Life away from Tibet, the motherland, is akin to "lamp in wind ... without direction". These words form part of a letter written by a young Tibetan who died after immolating himself here.

Tawu Jamphel Yeshi, 27, died here on Wednesday demanding freedom for Tibet from Chinese rule.

In a letter he wrote before dying, he said that Tibetans were setting themselves on fire so that the world realized their suffering.

"We (Tibetans) demand freedom to practice our religion and culture. We demand freedom to use our language. We demand the same right as other people living elsewhere in the world. People of the world, stand up for Tibet. Tibet belongs to Tibetans," Yeshi's final letter read.

The young man immolated himself here Monday to protest the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India.

The handwritten statement was found the same day from his room in a suitcase, kept safely in an envelope, Youdon Aukatsang, member of Tibetan parliament in exile, said.

A copy of the translated letter is with IANS, translated into English by a fellow activist.

"Freedom is the basis of happiness for all living beings. Without freedom, six million Tibetans are like a butter lamp in the wind, without direction," wrote Yeshi.

"My fellow Tibetans from Three Provinces, it is clear to us all that if we unitedly put our strength together, there will be result. So, don't be disheartened.

"We must strive to ensure return of His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) to Tibet.

"I pray and believe that the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet will be united and sing the Tibetan national anthem in front of the Potala Palace."

Yeshi became the first Tibetan to die in India after setting himself on fire during protests.

"At a time when we are making our final move toward our goal - if you have money, it is the time to spend it; if you are educated it is the time to produce results; if you have control over your life, I think the day has come to sacrifice your life," the letter adds.

Fellow activist Tensin Kyi described Yeshi an a "very active" member in the Tibetan cause.

He left Tibet in 2005 and was in a Tibetan transit school for three and a half years in Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama. He shifted to Delhi two years ago.

Yeshi was a member of the Tibetan Youth Congress.

Yeshi was rushed to hospital with 90 percent burn injuries. He had poured fuel on himself and set himself alight before running towards a crowd where he collapsed.

The Chinese president arrived in India Wednesday for the BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.