Diaries Magazine

Tsewang Yishey Pemba – White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings

Posted on the 18 February 2017 by Jaideep Khanduja @PebbleInWaters

It was a day to remember Dr. Tsewang Yishey Pemba and the official release of his book White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings. Needless to mention, Niyogi Books has a great role to play in publishing this book. This is a Tibetan tale of Love & War. Though the author is no more with us, his sweet memories will always remain there with so many of us. Basically, there were two sets of people at Meghdoot Theatre 1, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Rabindra Bhavan, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi. The first section was of those who know Dr. Pemba including his daughter and many persons from Darjeeling. And the second set was people like me who didn’t know about him at all but was totally amazed by the end of this launch to know about the life and journey of this multifaceted personality.

Unveiling of the book – (L-R) Poet and Academic Ms Shelly Bhoil, Journalist, Author & Tibetologist Mr Vijay Kranti, Director, White Cranes Production Mr Tenzing Sonam, Ms Lhamo Pemba, Daughter of author Dr Pemba

The title White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings itself indicates a lot about Dr. Tsewang Yishey Pemba. A surgeon by profession, a writer by passion, and a poet by heart are few of the qualities to mention. This novel by Dr. Pemba highlights two major phases that Tibet had gone through. The first phase talks about the Christian Missionaries on an unsuccessful mission to convert Bhutanese to Christianity. And the second prominent phase is China’s invasion in Tibet. When we think about Tibet and Tibetans, the first few things that immediately come to mind are Peace Lovers, Buddhism, Calm, Serene, Soothing, and so on. But this book shows the other side of Tibet. Like Resistant to Wrongdoing, Freedom Loving, Fighters, Modern, Fast Adopters of Technology, and so on.

Tsewang Yishey Pemba

Though the book is a pure piece of fiction but there is a lot of reality pointers in it. Few prominent personalities like Tenzing Sonam, Writer, Essayist, and Tibetan Film Director, White Cranes Production; Vijay Kranti, Journalist, Photojournalist, and Tibetologist; Diwo Lhamo Pemba, daughter of author Dr. Tsewang Yishey Pemba; and Shelly Bhoil, Poet and Tibetologist were there to grace the occasion. After Lamp Lighting by the guests, there was a fabulous dance and song performance. It was, in fact, Tibetan dance and opera.

Dance and song performance in Tibetan tradition by Thangtong Lhugar Tibetan Performing Arts (TLPA)

The trailer on the book by Sumit Sehgal was quite impactful and impressive. In fact, at times, a small video or picture says it all what a speech of thousand words can’t convey. This images and background score in this trailer is really amazing and powerful to bring the alive. It was, definitely, a visual treat that was mesmerizing the whole gathering. Lhamo Pemba presented a visual chronology on her father’s life sharing snippets from the past. The panel discussion, after this, gave quite important insights on the book. I feel, the book is a must read to understand the real Tibet and Tibetans. The book, in fact, is unique in many aspects. And the best part is that we are hearing from the horse’s mouth. Rather, from the person who was part of the consequences throughout.

Tsewang Yishey Pemba

White Crane, Lend Me Your Wings is a posthumous novel by Dr. Tsewang Yishey Pemba. He is, in fact, the founding father of Tibetan-English Literature. Dr. Pemba was born at Gyantse in Tibet in 1932. His father was a Tibetan Cadre officer in the British Trade Agency. Dr. Pemba came joined Victoria Boys School at Kurseong near Darjeeling in 1941. He was 9 at that time. In fact, He has, many firsts to his credit. Firstly, he was the first Tibetan to become a doctor and surgeon in Western Medical science from the University of London in 1955. Secondly. he got the prestigious Hallet Award by the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, in 1966. thirdly, he started the first hospital of Bhutan in 1956. In addition, he was a member of the Bhutan delegation to WHO in Geneva in 1989.


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