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Presented as a part of Burning Against the Dying of the Light exhibition at KHOJ

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam engaged in a conversation with Ananya Vajpeyi, Venerable Kabir Saxena and Matthew Akester about the political and moral ramifications of the self-immolation protests in Tibet.

The idea of self-immolations as a weapon of political protest, with its gory imagery and echoes of suicide bombers, sits uncomfortably with many people and has divided opinion even among supporters of the Tibetan cause. It has been argued – and some of the last messages of the self-immolators reaffirm this – that the Tibetan self-immolations are rooted in a particularly Buddhist context and are not to be seen as an act of violence but rather, as a form of non-violent self-sacrifice that is in congruence with the highest ideals of Buddhism. But why are Tibetans resorting to this desperate form of protest in the first place?

Ananya Vajpeyi works at the intersection of intellectual history, political theory and critical philology. She is currently writing a book about the life and ideas of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

Kabir Saxena became a Buddhist at the age of 21 while studying in the UK. He has been the Spiritual Programme Coordinator and teacher of Basic Buddhist theory and practice at Tushita Delhi since late 2011.

Matthew Akester is an independent researcher and translator, and specialist in modern Tibetan history.

 For more information on the artists please visit this site.

In collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Vienna.


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