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Dark Matter as an Escape

first_img(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Employing exotic unobservable entities such as dark matter may be an escape from scientific rigor in more ways than one.Recently, the notion that most of the universe is composed of dark matter took an evidential hit.  Live Science said, “A sprawling collection of galaxies and star clusters surrounding our own Milky Way is challenging long-standing theories on the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance thought to pervade the universe.”  According to a survey of satellite galaxies of the Milky Way conducted at the University of Bonn, dark matter theories fail to account for the arrangement of matter in a region spanning 10 times our galaxy’s diameter. The astronomers extended the impact of their findings to the entire universe:“Our model appears to rule out the presence of dark matter in the universe, threatening a central pillar of current cosmological theory,” said study team member Pavel Kroupa, a professor of astronomy at the University of Bonn. “We see this as the beginning of a paradigm shift, one that will ultimately lead us to a new understanding of the universe we inhabit.“The statement also implies that previous “understanding of the universe” was misguided or absent.Last month Ker Than, reporting for National Geographic News, quoted an astronomer who said the finding of a huge structure of satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way puts cosmology “basically in a shambles.”  He referred to his other National Geographic article two weeks earlier that also questioned the existence of dark matter because it wasn’t detected where needed to explain the Milky Way’s halo.  That finding “could provide ammunition for skeptics who argue that the invisible substance is just an illusion,” he said.  About the same time, though, another National Geographic reporter claimed that dark matter particles hit the average human once a minute.Growing questions about dark matter’s existence may be giving rise to a proverb called the “dark matter argument.”  In another context, Maggie McKee at New Scientist reported doubts that the star Fomalhaut has a planet.  A bright spot imaged in a dust disk surrounding the star, imaged by the Hubble Telescope in 2004, had been hailed as a direct observation of an extrasolar planet.  Astronomers were encouraged at the time by the fact that it appeared in a gap in the dust dusk, suggesting that the planet had cleared a path for itself.Now, however, a new study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has shown that the bright spot might be a dust cloud, not a planet.  Furthermore, simulations shown in a computer animation within the article indicate that gaps in dust disks – even with sharp edges – can form without the presence of a planet.A JPL scientist used the occasion to joke about the escape hatch dark matter theories provide:“I call it the dark matter argument,” says Wladimir Lyra at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “There is something you are seeing that you cannot explain, and you blame the gravity of something you cannot see.“Dark energy has also come under scrutiny.  National Geographic asked, is it a kind of “reverse gravity” as usually described?  Perhaps not.  The pressure leading to accelerated expansion of the universe might come from normal old antimatter, well characterized in earth-based detectors.These appear to be dark days for dark matter theories.Philosophers call appeals to unseen, unknown entities “occult phenomena.”  Like spiritually occult things, they are placeholders for ignorance.  But given a name, these placeholders take on a reality of their own, used by scientific shamans to tell the peasants why things are the way they are.For too long, dark matter has been a rhetorical flubber to impress laypeople while escaping scientific rigor.  It’s time to call astronomers to account.  Account for dark matter, or turn on the light.last_img read more

Brand South Africa calls on citizens to stand up for human rights as the world commemorates International Human Rights day

first_imgJohannesburg, Monday 10 December 2018 –  Today South Africa joins the international community to commemorate International Human Rights Day which is observed annually on 10 December and marks the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.On 10 December 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and on the same day in 1996, the Constitution of South Africa was signed into law by former South African President Nelson Mandela.Ms Thoko Modise, GM for Communications for Brand South Africa said: “Premised on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, South Africa has included amalgamated human rights in our own Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. The Bill of Rights widely addresses South Africa’s history of oppression, colonialism, slavery, racism and sexism and other forms of human violations. It embeds the rights of all people in our country as an enduring affirmation of the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all. The principles enshrined in the Declaration are as relevant today as they were in 1948. We need to stand up for our own rights and those of others. We can take action in our own daily lives, to uphold the rights that protect us all and thereby promote the kinship of all human beings.”As the world marks 70 years of the adoption of the UDHR, the UN’s year-long campaign #StandUp4HumanRights draws to a close. Through this campaign, the UN to ‘called on people to take action for greater freedoms, stronger respect and more compassion for the rights of others’.Today also marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a campaign that is steered towards the elimination of violence against women and girls.“As Brand South Africa – we encourage citizens and leaders everywhere to heed the call and stand up for all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – and for the values that underpin our hopes for a fairer, safer and better world for all,” concluded Modise.For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:Tsabeng NthiteTel: +27 11 712 5061Mobile: +27 (0) 76 371 6810Email:tsabengn@brandsouthafrica.comlast_img read more

High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 3

first_imgIronically, here in California – where we pride ourselves on being so advanced from an energy perspective – our energy code has spawned legions who follow the “just pass” mindset. And, greatest of ironies, often among the legions we find even our energy consultants! Even on high-performance projects!On more than one occasion, I’ve found myself in a conversation with one of these guys (or gals) when they’ve said, “No, we can’t do that, it will cost more.” Wait a minute – aren’t you the guy/gal who is supposed to be the most savvy, and most concerned about optimizing energy performance? And maybe first cost isn’t the only thing at stake here?So why does this happen? It happens because this occupation has been beaten down by a steady river of clients whose principal interest in the energy code is scraping by with the bare minimum compliance. This means, as a number of my venerable colleagues have been known to quip, that if they built any more poorly, their homes would be illegal. Yet we can hardly blame those poor, beleaguered energy consultants for their uninspired mindset. Its genesis lies in the code, and in their mainstream, same-old-thing clients. Code cultivates a mindset of compliance, not one of innovation and leadershipFolks in our industry have become accustomed to the unspoken mandate from builders and developers, “I just want the house to pass code at the lowest possible cost.” Instead, as I was harping on last month, everyone on the team should be asking the question, “What’s the most energy-efficient house I can build within budget?” RELATED ARTICLES High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 1High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 2High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 4High-Performance and Net-Zero Homes — Part 5 In California, the code doesn’t incentivize the use of photovoltaics for on-site renewable electricity generationIn general, the highest energy production of photovoltaics (PVs) occurs at times of peak system loading – afternoon and early evening. This is a great benefit to the grid and hence to the state, utilities, and infrastructure as a whole. In the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, for example, there are certain power plants that are only needed at peak demand and therefore only operate for a few hours a year. (Yes, you read that right – a few hours a YEAR.) Needless to say, the cost of those few hours is extraordinarily high, and the power plants reserved for these periods of demand are often the oldest, dirtiest, and least efficient.PV systems have the potential to delay or even eliminate the need for these plants, once widely deployed. And yet Title 24 dings PV homes for electric use – even at their peak production times. Let me explain.Many net-zero and high-performance home projects on which I have worked are also all-electric homes, for the simple reason that the owners want their homes to be fossil fuel-free. They believe that natural gas will become increasingly scarce and expensive, as petroleum has become, and wish their homes to be capable of operating solely on renewable energy. This means that loads like water heating, drying clothes, and cooking are electric rather than gas loads; and some of these loads may be expected to occur at peak.The code-based energy models take this into consideration and accordingly penalize these projects for those loads – in spite of the fact that those same homes may be cranking a very nice surplus amount of electricity from their PV arrays into the grid at exactly the peak time for which the homes are being penalized by the model. Not exactly incentivizing, eh?Furthermore, every unit of electric energy supplied to the grid by a home-based renewable electric system typically represents a hefty multiplier effect, as shown in the illustration.For every single unit of grid-supplied electric energy, roughly 3½ units of fuel energy need to be burned at a power plant (most of the other 2½ units are lost through combustion as waste heat). Correspondingly, 1 unit of energy supplied by an onsite PV array instead of by the grid avoids the need to burn more than 3 units of fuel. (The nationwide average site-to-source multiplier for electric energy is around 3.4.)But the code is blind to this benefit. Go figure. Regulation: friend or foe?So there you have it – my beefs with the energy code. We’re due for a code update soon, though, so hold good thoughts that these things will change.Don’t get me wrong – in general, I’m a proponent of regulating things, stopping environmental problems before they happen. Take the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act: if we don’t let pollution happen, we don’t have to clean it up. If we didn’t let energy waste happen, then we wouldn’t have to worry about climate change or national security. (Maybe. You take my point.) But regulations, as I’ve now presumably persuaded you, have adverse consequences as well as positive ones. We can’t assume that code changes will fix all our problems; we have to remain vigilant, and pull the covers off the problems that codes fail to fix, or that they even create.I hasten to add the footnote that there is much in California’s energy leadership to trumpet, and the code has been instrumental to much of the progress that has been made here. My point is simply that it behooves us to be aware of and to combat the unintended and unfortunate consequences of the energy code(s). Among the takeaways:We need to be discriminating in our selection of energy consultants, ensuring that those we choose to work with are in fact not of the “just-comply” school of thought. Some can be quickly jostled out of that rut; others, not so easily.We need to constantly examine the benefits associated with energy improvements, not just in terms of first cost but also in terms of operating energy savings, comfort improvements, and other non-energy benefits.We need to benchmark our designs against more appropriate “reference homes” – homes that are smaller, more compact, and simpler in form.We need not to be deterred by the blindness of the code to the benefits of what we may be doing in our homes. Just because the code models don’t reflect all those benefits doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile or valid.And finally, we need to look for opportunities to influence code development for the better, while at the same time understanding that we can’t rely on codes to do our job (of curbing home energy use) for us.center_img During the last month we’ve had a very stimulating conversation going about design – and how some important design opportunities for improving energy performance are often overlooked, and why. The dialogue started here and, thanks to fellow GBA Advisor Bruce King, continued on Facebook.Now to continue the fun, we’re going to look at CODE – specifically, the energy code – and its role in high-performance and net-zero energy homes.You might (understandably) be thinking, “My homes are way above code; where’s the conversation?” And if you’ve been at this energy efficiency thing for a while, there is no conversation. But what’s interesting is how often I see the code getting in the way, particularly for project teams that are relatively new to the arena of high-performance home design. Here’s how. The code turns a blind eye to design decisions that may have substantial influence on energy useIn California (and elsewhere, if I’m not mistaken), energy performance is often expressed as a compliance margin, or “percent above code.” The energy models calculate this percent by comparing the predicted energy use of the home as designed with that of a minimally code-compliant home – i.e., one that incorporates a set of prescriptive energy features mandated for homes in that climate zone (e.g., R-19 walls, R-38 roof, etc.). This minimally code-compliant home is referred to as the “standard reference house.” The standard reference house has the same basic geometry, orientation, and size as the home as designed.The standard reference house may be an energy HOG (meaning no offense to the very intelligent porcine species): poorly oriented, bloated, and excessively complex. This means that energy performance is benchmarked against something that – while it might comply with minimum R-values and so forth – is far, far away from anything that might be considered efficient. So you might design something that is 50 percent more efficient than an energy hog. Well and good. Does that mean it’s truly efficient?Suppose you had started with an inherently more efficient geometry and a more modestly sized home? Ironically, you would find it more challenging to achieve substantial modeled reductions in energy demand; your design would show up as having a lower compliance margin, suggesting that its energy performance is inferior to the hog, when in fact the opposite is true. You would be penalized for having made good decisions from the outset. And worse, there is nothing in the code or the energy models that remotely suggests that the designer might want to tinker with size, geometry, or orientation; these critically important variables are completely ignored by the code and accepted by the models as fait accompli.It’s no surprise, then, that these opportunities also are overlooked by design teams as potentially fruitful avenues to explore when seeking improvements in energy performance. It doesn’t benefit them (as viewed through the eyes of the energy model), even if they were to actually think about it … and they typically don’t.last_img read more

Making a Short Film With Little to No Crew: The Aftermath

first_imgWe’ve asked before if making a film by yourself is possible. Well, it’s been a couple of years, and the technology has advanced, so we’re asking again . . .In 2016, we published an article titled “Making a Short Film with Little to No Crew: Can it Be Done?” The article documented tips and advice on the growing trend of short films (and features) made with just a handful of crew members or with no crew members at all — just one person handling everything but the acting. Although 2016 was just a blink ago, technology, as always, has advanced, making it perhaps even easier to make a film on your own than it was just two years ago.However, while technological advances have allowed new filmmakers to go it alone, after finally making a short narrative film myself, I can say there were indeed a few areas one doesn’t normally explore when working with a collective. In short: it’s just not as fun, and it’s quite lonesome. Working entirely alone eliminates the best part of making a film — collaboration. Filmmaking at its core depends upon the creative work of like-minded individuals. Those who make short films with little to no crew members do so out of desperation and an insatiable desire to create.I’m sure others have encountered their own challenges, but from my experience, post-production took longer than anticipated — especially when I expected the hardest part of making a film by myself to be lugging a car full of equipment through a muddy forest. However, that hasn’t been the case.If you’re about to make a film by yourself, here are four aspects of post-production that I found challenging without a team.1. Second-Guessing Your Creative ChoicesIf you followed the tips laid out in the previous article, you may have created a short film with just one character, two at most, and shot it in one location. This format helps with managing production when your hands are already full. However, one element we didn’t discuss before is collaborating with your actor(s). During production, you can bounce ideas off each other, but when the dust settles, and it’s just you again, there’s no one to ask, “What do you think works better?” Or more importantly, there is no more experienced voice in the room than your own.2. Feedback OptionsMany know that asking friends and family for opinions on creative projects rarely pans out because they often want to be supportive and will tell you it’s fantastic, while a professional would tell you a certain scene could be shorter. Furthermore, there’s nothing more infuriating than explaining to someone that this is just a rough cut and the sound has not been mixed or finalized, and their only critique is that it sounds like the audio has not been mixed or finalized.If you find yourself second-guessing yourself and continuously changing a scene, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and make a choice — and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll spend more time wondering what’s good than pushing the project forward. If you are truly unable to get a second set of eyes on your work outside of the actors who appear in your short, it’s best to take it online. The community you’re presenting it to will critique your work, and ultimately, that will be your collaborative feedback.3. When The Motivation Stops, So Does The ProjectFollow enough film outlets, and you’ll hear weekly horror stories about how difficult it actually was to make a feature film. Harsh winds on set, actors nearly catching frostbite, editors accidentally deleting footage. Filmmaking is a difficult endeavor no matter your budget level, but ordinarily you’re going to have a team you can depend on — and who will depend on you.No matter which crew member the production is waiting on to move forward, everyone’s roles comprise a single working machine, and each cog needs to turn. When you’re a lone wolf, there are no cogs; there is no machine. Metaphorically, you become a stream, and like nature, the flow will decrease at times, and at other times it will move faster. But when it stops, so does the entire film. If that motivation dwindles for weeks at a time, that’s your project stalling. This can become a mental battle as there are two detrimental paths you will likely travel.The first: beating yourself up over the thought you haven’t worked on your project for the last several weeks — but life happens, it’s fine. If you’re creating a film solely by yourself, it’s likely that there are several factors at play — money, available crew, etc. You’re also going to have commitments outside of the project, and they’ll need attention to.The second: paradoxically, you can get caught up in the mindset that you have to consistently advance the project because you can’t let it stop, and as a result, from grinding out edit sessions for the sake of momentum, you run out of creativity and motivation.It’s essential to balance hitting goals and finding inspiration. However, when you’re responsible for the editing, audio, VFX, grading, and so on, your motivation can dwindle when you think about how much work you have left to do. So break it up. Even if your short is just 10 minutes long with three scenes, separating them onto different timelines can be mentally rewarding. The amount of work, although it still exists, doesn’t look as challenging. Opening up Resolve and seeing only 30 seconds of timeline instead of ten minutes is much less intimidating.4. Lack of Team MoraleThe final element, which blends with both previous factors, is the belief in your project — and more importantly, the belief in your talent. One of the strangest elements of working on a film solely by yourself, especially when you’re used to a team environment, is the lack of accountability. No one is asking where you are with the project. There’s no makeup artist eager for stills — no producer wanting to know why you’re a day behind. When you’ve made a film with a team, there’s no greater feeling than showing off a completed a scene to the rest of the crew.I think this is the most detrimental element of working alone — the lack of outside interest. You make a film because you want to share a story, opinion, or theory with a group of people, and that in itself is very rewarding. But the the most rewarding element of making a film is often the adventure that comes with making it — and the people you make one with. Remember, if you’re making a film by yourself and you’re struggling to get it over the finish line, the primary purpose of doing this in the first place is to advance to a position where you can hire (or at least bring on board) other people for your next film.All images via Lewis McGregor.Looking for more production tips and tricks? Check these out.Film Study: How to Pull Off a Twist Ending in Your FeatureA Look at The Masterclass Sound Editing of “A Quiet Place”The 5 Keys to Capturing Beautiful Landscape FootageAudio Gear: 10 Super Cheap Accessories for Your Audio KitPost-Production Tips: How to Save Corrupted Footagelast_img read more

They came, they fought, they stayed

first_imgEnter the CIADhondup was a member of the only modern insurgent group of Tibet, the Dhokham Chushi Gangdruk (DCG). The DCG was formed on June 16, 1958 in Tibet by a charismatic nobleman, Andrup Gonpo Tashi. For some time the group carried out ambushes against the Chinese forces as Beijing tried to consolidate its gains in Tibet. Dhondup, then in his twenties, was one of the early recruits in this movement and was trained in sabotage and the use of arms.“During the struggle, we used basic weapons like the old rifles that fired one bullet at a time,” he says, explaining that the movement expanded rapidly from the Kham region of Tibet despite shortage of weapons and ammunition.The DCG became known worldwide for being the secret force of the CIA, which sent trainers and equipment to Tibet to support the rebels. Dhondup recalls how the Americans sent high-flying cargo jets into the Tibetan airspace for his group that consisted of 600 volunteers.  The war of 1971 was not the first Dhondup and his compatriots in Lama Camp experienced. Their war began 20 years earlier in the 1950s, when they fought a guerrilla battle against the Chinese forces in Tibet supported by weapons and trainers from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which wanted to dislodge China from Tibet.As we catch up with Dhondup, he is soaking in the celebrations of Losar, the Tibetan New Year which began in the last week of February. Losar to the Tibetans means crushed corn which is sprinkled on guests and meant for auspicious occasions, good food, drinks and a time to recollect the past. His kitchen is stocked with savouries and drinks. This is the Year of the Firebird which, like the phoenix, stands for resurrection and the burning away of wasteful deeds. Keeping with the spirit of the new year, Dhondup wants to relive the war of his youth.“We had inadequate weapons and ammunition but we wanted to fight the Chinese who forced us to build roads and bridges,” he says in a mix of Hindi and Tibetan that was interpreted by his son Tsering. The guerrillas fought with .303 rifles of World War II vintage, receiving better weapons only in the later phase.Dhondup and five other veterans are the remaining few from the hundreds of unknown foot soldiers of a liberation war, unlamented and unsung. These former soldiers were of fighting age; in exile now, time is ticking away. Many have passed away. One of their comrades, who rose to run a movie theatre in the neighbourhood, passed away earlier this year. They were the pioneers of a resistance movement that took to violence before the Dalai Lama weaned them away to non-violent means. The last of Tibet’s guerrilla fighters | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar “The war of 1971 was not the first Dhondup and his compatriots experienced”. Dhondup Palden and his wife Sonam at their residence in Lama Camp.  One of the key assignments of the DCG was to guard the Dalai Lama as he planned to go into India. A little distance away from Dhondup’s Tezu home lives one of the former DCG fighters who accompanied the Dalai Lama during that momentous journey. “The journey of 1959 was arduous. Yaks and horses were used to cross the snowy mountain. We ensured safety for the Dalai Lama with one group travelling with him and another providing support at Lhasa,” says Zolpa Sibu, the ex-DCG fighter.Sibu is nostalgic about his DCG days. “We did not have the best of weapons to fight. Many of our comrades died in bombing and counter-insurgency operations carried out by the Chinese forces,” he says, recounting that even the force’s founder was brought to India with injuries he sustained in a blast. He remembers how grim the situation in Tibet had become. “We were evicted from our homes. Families broke up — the Chinese employed women and men separately for forced labour projects that would go on for months. Social and religious gatherings became impossible as the police questioned all such gatherings.”The DCG put up a strong resistance, but the end was inevitable. Sibu was arrested but released after months of detention. As was Dhondup. “I was kept in prison for two months and for weeks my hands were tied up,” he says, showing his permanently scarred hands.The DCG’s fighters decided to escape into India through the mountain passes in eastern Arunachal district of Upper Dibang Valley and the western district of Tawang via Bomdila. The journey was difficult; many perished but the likes of Dhondup, Sibu and their families survived the trek.The war for BangladeshSoon after coming into India, these fighters were asked to settle in Tezu but within a year they had to move as India-China hostilities intensified in the run-up to the 1962 war. As the border districts of the North East Frontier Agency, as Arunachal Pradesh was then known, were evacuated, the fighters were resettled in Dibrugarh and Guwahati in Assam. They returned to Tezu after the war ended, and soon found themselves recruited by Indian military officers who had by now realised their potential as trained guerrillas and intelligence-gatherers. “The military instructors tested our firing skills, asked us to take physical fitness tests. Most of us passed the test and joined the Indian military as we were eager to go back to Tibet and fight the Chinese forces again,” says Dhondup.The fighters boarded a train at Guwahati and were taken to Chakrata in Uttarakhand (then in Uttar Pradesh) where a rigorous training programme began to equip them for special military operations. “We were trained to handle mortar fire, automatic weapons, rocket launchers. I was specially recruited into a team of paratroopers in the SFF,” says Dhondup, explaining that the Tibetans were expected to go back into their country for special operations. As first-generation exiles, the men did not always understand the detailed discussions held among Indian military officers, but carried out the assigned duties nevertheless.Havildar Sangey was also among the ex-DCG SFF recruits. He counts himself as lucky, having been taken as part of a three-member group for a special training programme in Europe. “I even trained with some American officials abroad,” he says, reliving his days as a paratrooper.The hostility between India and Pakistan gave the SFF fighters a new chance to test their fighting skills. “During the 1971 war, many of our friends died fighting,” says Dhondup, recounting that the war had left him injured and he was admitted in the Armed Forces Medical College, Pune. “Generals and [Prime Minister] Indira Gandhi came to see us in hospital. We got a transistor radio as reward,” he adds, his eyes lighting up as he recounts the heady days.By the time the Bangladesh war ended, most of the soldiers had acquired family and had young kids at home. But newer assignments beckoned, including reconnaissance missions in Ladakh and in the high Himalayas. “We wanted to fight in Tibet because the SFF [training] taught us lot more than we knew in the DCG days, but that fight never came,” rues Sangey. “We had all the necessary advanced weapons. We would not have left Tibet if we had these weapons and training at that time.”Renewed rumble in the eastcenter_img  The amphitheatre of much of the 1962 war, the epic face-offs of yesteryear still linger in the air of the Arunachal Himalayas, especially the mountains from Tezu to Anjaw district which were the scene of the bloodbath of Namti where an unknown number of Indian and Chinese soldiers died.Having spent their youth in the midst of guerrilla warfare and tectonic political churn, the elderly denizens of Lama Camp find themselves still engulfed by geopolitics thanks to the evolving importance of the Eastern Himalayas. In recent years, the U.S. and India have begun to work on salvaging the remains of aviators who crashed in the mountains near Tezu during World War II. The discovery of a Chinese citizen in the region in 2010 stirred up matters between India and China. Guang Liang spent months in a prison in Arunachal Pradesh before the Chinese reportedly took him back. In addition, barely a dozen kilometres from the neighbourhood of these former guerrillas is the brand-new easternmost airport of India at Tezu which can also host heavy bombers and cargo carriers. Recent reports about an impending visit by the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh have again stirred up the pioneers of DCG.While the region remains the locus of power games, the exploits of the octogenarians of Lama Camp slowly recedes into oblivion. In the sunset of their lives, they wish to bequeath their saga of resistance in Tibet to posterity. “Most of us did not get a chance to lead a normal life. We were deprived of the education that would have trained us to record and write our experience as soldiers,” says Sibu.The legacy and the futureIn recent years there have been some attempts to recognise their signal contribution. The Central Tibetan Administration has set up offices in Delhi and Dharamsala for addressing the needs of these senior community members. On the 50th anniversary of the founding of DCG in 2008, special commemorative events were organised by the Tibetan community in India to honour them and recognise the armed struggle that they executed against China.Young Tibetans also drop in once in a while to seek blessing of these elders. The Tibetan diaspora has also shown interest in chronicling the story of DCG and a number of websites provide information about the violent movement which faded out with the exile of Tibetans to India. However most of the literature focusses on the CIA’s role in fuelling the war in the Cold War period and is inadequate in recording the narratives of the men who fought the war not just for the CIA but also for India. “Our lives were disrupted. At the time of DCG, we did not foresee our exile and that is why we did not bother to photograph our homes and our struggles,” says Sibu, urging better documentation of the scattered photographs and other records of the movement in Tibet.Despite their advancing years, the DCG fighters do not receive any additional financial support from the Government of India — the SFF gave a comprehensive settlement package, a one-time lump-sum amount at the time of retirement.While the passage of time has dimmed Dhondup, Sibu and Sangay’s hopes of returning to their homeland, the fire still burns. “Even now I dream of fighting in the streets of Tibet with a gun,” says Dhondup. The DCG, incidentally, still exists in exile, espousing an independent Tibet. Dreams don’t die. On December 16, 1971, the India-Pakistan war ended with the liberation of Bangladesh. The war was short — it had raged for all of 13 days — but India had mobilised its entire land forces, including a secretive unit of soldiers from the Special Frontier Force (SFF), a group raised for trans-Himalayan combat. Some of the SFF recruits were not Indians. They were from Tibet and had come into India on forced exile, in waves and participated in the ground battles and the combing operations that followed with minimal knowledge of South Asian languages and the people they encountered. They had hoped that after the war India would send them home to fight the Chinese forces in Tibet as a reward — but that was not to be.Dhondup Palden, now in his 80s, a resident of Lama Camp in Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh, was one of the Tibetans who despite their Buddhist faith took up arms. Sitting at the porch of his home-on-stilts that is painted blue and decorated with Buddhist prayer flags, he reminisces about the war and how he had ventured into unfamiliar territory. “We killed many enemies in that war. For 15 days, we moved across the country rounding up Pakistani soldiers and pro-Pakistan agents.” The war stood out as it was the first time that the Tibetans, a mountain people, had to negotiate with the riverine landscape of Bangladesh. “We walked on muddy riverbeds, and went from village to village looking for enemies. The experience was unusual for us Tibetan soldiers,” he says. Zolpa Sibu Lama (left) and Adrouk with their certificates | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar last_img read more