Tuesday, 23 February 2010

In which I went to London ...

Tuesday 23rd February, and a trip to London to go to a Reception at Portcullis House, Westminster, at the invitation of The Office of Tibet, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Enthronement of the 14th Dalai Lama.

As you may recall, in May 2008 I attended a Group Audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Oxford. That was a gathering of families and friends of those who had been involved in Tibet and with His Holiness over the years.

This time, a smaller group was called together specifically to mark the time, 70 years ago to the day, when the Dalai Lama was enthroned. My uncle David was then stationed at Gyantse as part of the British military presence, and he was one of a very small group who made up the official British representation at the enthronement at the Potola Palace in Lhasa.

London was wet and bustling, and the physical act of entering Portcullis House lived up to the building's name. Since it is part of Parliament, we were scanned and searched, all the time surrounded by policeman armed with automatic weapons. I then had difficulty in finding a glass door that would open in order to ascend the stairs to the Boothroyd Room where the meeting was to take place.

With His Holiness presently in Florida, his greeting to us was conveyed by his official representative, especially to families of those who had been present at the Potola in February 1940. We then had a slide show of images of the event, as well as a short piece of silent film that had been found in the archives of the British Film Institute. The Lama's representative then gave ceremonial scarves to a member of each family, and my late uncle's daughter went forward to receive it. I have the one given to me by the Dalai Lama at our Oxford meeting.

It was good to be part of this gathering. Something to put down in the family archives.

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