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Tibet

Community to discuss Tibet issue in detail. Bringing out the problems faced and seeking solutions and support.


Self censorship of lyrics in exile




Rangzen Shonu (Freedom Youth") was a rock and roll band formed by Tibetans in India . Dadon la ( first Tibetan pop singer from central Tibet , late 80s) reportedly integrated some of Rangzen Shonu's signature style after hearing a cassette smuggled in Tibet in 1988. Rangzen Shonu is best known for the unique sound of Tibetan lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitars rather than traditional Tibetan instruments.
They burst on to the exile music scene in the late 1980s, firmly establishing the genre of Tibetan rock and forever changing the landscape of Tibetan music. As one of the first Tibetan rock bands, Rangzen Shonu’s signature sound of soulful song and meaningful lyrics accompanied only by the acoustic and electric guitar captured the hearts and minds of Tibetans in Tibet and in exile. The release in 1987 of their self-produced album titled Rangzen Shonu albums marked a historic moment in the nascent Tibetan music industry.

Rangzen Shonu’s three members were Tenzin Choesang, Norbu Choephel and Paljor. Their songwriter was Professor Ngawang Jinpa. The songs are folk-like in simplicity and sound, evocative of the old songs of the highlands, and yet nuanced and complex in meaning and melody, full of poetry and passion. These absolutely beautiful songs are infused with the spirit of freedom and resistance and resonate powerfully with Tibetans of all generations even today. Their song “We Tibetan Nomads”, one of the most popular Tibetan songs of all time, can be said to function as an unofficial Tibetan national anthem.

Although Rangzen Shonu has now been disbanded for many years, Tibetan music lovers honor and remember their immeasurable contribution to Tibetan music and Tibetan freedom struggle. (source ; Yuthok lane)
Rangzen Shonu's songs are not only a songs but it's very strong political statement made by youngsters of exile at the time. If we look only through musics then it's just simple but if we look into more deep and source of inspirations then it's not only song and they tried to show the feelings of exile Tibetans at the time. In other words , we can assume the political ideology of exile youngsters at the time. Their lyrics are superb and heart touching... I listened their song first time inn my life doing the college days but it wasn't original song , I have listened song " Rangzen" covered by some college students and then I checked out the original song. Their song are very inspiring and there's smell of exile Tibetans courage at the time. Over all Rangzen Shonu has been a very important musical band and voice of exile Tibetans crying for freedom and it's important part of exile history. But , shocking incident happened at Concert titled Aakama host by Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts ( TIPA) at TIPA hall that they sang the iconic song called " Rangzen by Rangzen Shonu " but here the word Rangzen is no more welcome and it was changed from Rangzen to Rangwang. It was big shot for me as a die hard fan of that iconic song. It's hard to listen the beautiful song in that way ... Ops ! What could be the reason behind ? Lots of big Qs pumping in my head and I was shared this shocking incident with my sister and she told me that " Sonam ! Have chill beer and don't over react". Yeah ... may be I am over reacting on this small issue but for it's very big issue because it is showing the directions we are going to and the direction that leads exile politics into ignorance and stupidity. I am don't know the exact reason behind the self censorship of the lyrics and why they did that ? I am not against the word Rangwang or freedom and it's very beautiful word but original should be untouched because this iconic song has to do with feelings of many people and nobody has right to hurt that feeling , the feeling of loving once country and sense of resistance. If you want to sing a song and spread the message then you can compose your own song. But , manipulating someone's message is not right and morally incorrect.
The fever of self censorship is not new to exile community and it has been playing huge role since the exile government established. But , recent years it became more of showing one's loyalty to elite group and gesture of patriotism which is totally wrong and have not understood what His Holiness is saying and advocating. Censorship can be described in both ways positive and negative but it is very dangerous when people censoring themselves while saying something or writing something because it will lead our society into darkness and ignorance.
In this case, it's still not clear that TiPa has been instructed or they self censored themselves. Whoever did this , It's not good move at all and it may creat some negative thoughts in our society because TIPA is comes under Kashag( cabinet). The law enforcement institution of Tibetan government in exile. Then what message will go in society ? The question is was Kashag censored or it was just self censorship of showing stupid loyalty ?
Whatever, it's humiliating and bitter truth of exile politics and covering each other's ass.
please if you can't compose new song then don't ruin the song that has touched then thousands of hearts. I hope you get what I am trying to say. It is insult to those legendary singer , the Rangzen Shonus because it's not a song as I have mentioned above that it's feeling of loving one's nation and its political statement at the time. So , we should keep it that way and let it shine from the dust. Don't try to rewrite the song because you can't rewrite the history and song Rangzen is history.
May be I am have been over reacting on this issue but I have seen lots of self censorship during the workshops , confidences and public gatherings. And I found it is very dangerous and another form of controlling the people. If we can't think freely then how can we fight for our nation. Before getting external freedom we have to free ourselves from self censorship because it's real form of freedom. Of course we can't spread hate speech but we can have freedom of speech which has rights and duties too. You may feel that changing lyrics is not a big issue and you are right at certain level. But it indicated that we are controlled and censored which is sign of authoritarian and curtailing our freedom of thinking. In another words , somebody wants us to fitted in their believe system. Self censorship is more dangerous because it already manipulated our mind and we are following their idea of system. And I have seen these kind of self censorship at many occasions. Whatever happened at TiPA was a unfortunate incident and it's bitter truth of exile politics. I am happy that some people rise the issue on social media sites including activists and law makers.
I am just sharing my humble opinions because i love my country and my people .
P.S. It's not about Rangzen Vs U-Ma. So , I really appreciate if you guys don't debate between them.

23/10/2016
Kathmandu , Nepal.

Rangzen Shonu (Freedom Youth") was a rock and roll band formed by Tibetans in India . Dadon la ( first Tibetan pop singer from central Tibet , late 80s) reportedly integrated some of Rangzen Shonu's signature style after hearing a cassette smuggled in Tibet in 1988. Rangzen Shonu is best known for the unique sound of Tibetan lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitars rather than traditional Tibetan instruments.They burst on to the exile music scene in the late 1980s, firmly establishing the genre of Tibetan rock and forever changing the landscape of Tibetan music. As one of the first Tibetan rock bands, Rangzen Shonu’s signature sound of soulful song and meaningful lyrics accompanied only by the acoustic and electric guitar captured the hearts and minds of Tibetans in Tibet and in exile. The release in 1987 of their self-produced album titled Rangzen Shonu albums marked a historic moment in the nascent Tibetan music industry. Rangzen Shonu’s three members were Tenzin Choesang, Norbu Choephel and Paljor. Their songwriter was Professor Ngawang Jinpa. The songs are folk-like in simplicity and sound, evocative of the old songs of the highlands, and yet nuanced and complex in meaning and melody, full of poetry and passion. These absolutely beautiful songs are infused with the spirit of freedom and resistance and resonate powerfully with Tibetans of all generations even today. Their song “We Tibetan Nomads”, one of the most popular Tibetan songs of all time, can be said to function as an unofficial Tibetan national anthem. Although Rangzen Shonu has now been disbanded for many years, Tibetan music lovers honor and remember their immeasurable contribution to Tibetan music and Tibetan freedom struggle. (source ; Yuthok lane) Rangzen Shonu's songs are not only a songs but it's very strong political statement made by youngsters of exile at the time. If we look only through musics then it's just simple but if we look into more deep and source of inspirations then it's not only song and they tried to show the feelings of exile Tibetans at the time. In other words , we can assume the political ideology of exile youngsters at the time. Their lyrics are superb and heart touching... I listened their song first time inn my life doing the college days but it wasn't original song , I have listened song " Rangzen" covered by some college students and then I checked out the original song. Their song are very inspiring and there's smell of exile Tibetans courage at the time. Over all Rangzen Shonu has been a very important musical band and voice of exile Tibetans crying for freedom and it's important part of exile history. But , shocking incident happened at Concert titled Aakama host by Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts ( TIPA) at TIPA hall that they sang the iconic song called " Rangzen by Rangzen Shonu " but here the word Rangzen is no more welcome and it was changed from Rangzen to Rangwang. It was big shot for me as a die hard fan of that iconic song. It's hard to listen the beautiful song in that way ... Ops ! What could be the reason behind ? Lots of big Qs pumping in my head and I was shared this shocking incident with my sister and she told me that " Sonam ! Have chill beer and don't over react". Yeah ... may be I am over reacting on this small issue but for it's very big issue because it is showing the directions we are going to and the direction that leads exile politics into ignorance and stupidity. I am don't know the exact reason behind the self censorship of the lyrics and why they did that ? I am not against the word Rangwang or freedom and it's very beautiful word but original should be untouched because this iconic song has to do with feelings of many people and nobody has right to hurt that feeling , the feeling of loving once country and sense of resistance. If you want to sing a song and spread the message then you can compose your own song. But , manipulating someone's message is not right and morally incorrect. The fever of self censorship is not new to exile community and it has been playing huge role since the exile government established. But , recent years it became more of showing one's loyalty to elite group and gesture of patriotism which is totally wrong and have not understood what His Holiness is saying and advocating. Censorship can be described in both ways positive and negative but it is very dangerous when people censoring themselves while saying something or writing something because it will lead our society into darkness and ignorance. In this case, it's still not clear that TiPa has been instructed or they self censored themselves. Whoever did this , It's not good move at all and it may creat some negative thoughts in our society because TIPA is comes under Kashag( cabinet). The law enforcement institution of Tibetan government in exile. Then what message will go in society ? The question is was Kashag censored or it was just self censorship of showing stupid loyalty ? Whatever, it's humiliating and bitter truth of exile politics and covering each other's ass.please if you can't compose new song then don't ruin the song that has touched then thousands of hearts. I hope you get what I am trying to say. It is insult to those legendary singer , the Rangzen Shonus because it's not a song as I have mentioned above that it's feeling of loving one's nation and its political statement at the time. So , we should keep it that way and let it shine from the dust. Don't try to rewrite the song because you can't rewrite the history and song Rangzen is history. May be I am have been over reacting on this issue but I have seen lots of self censorship during the workshops , confidences and public gatherings. And I found it is very dangerous and another form of controlling the people. If we can't think freely then how can we fight for our nation. Before getting external freedom we have to free ourselves from self censorship because it's real form of freedom. Of course we can't spread hate speech but we can have freedom of speech which has rights and duties too. You may feel that changing lyrics is not a big issue and you are right at certain level. But it indicated that we are controlled and censored which is sign of authoritarian and curtailing our freedom of thinking. In another words , somebody wants us to fitted in their believe system. Self censorship is more dangerous because it already manipulated our mind and we are following their idea of system. And I have seen these kind of self censorship at many occasions. Whatever happened at TiPA was a unfortunate incident and it's bitter truth of exile politics. I am happy that some people rise the issue on social media sites including activists and law makers. I am just sharing my humble opinions because i love my country and my people . P.S. It's not about Rangzen Vs U-Ma. So , I really appreciate if you guys don't debate between them. 23/10/2016Kathmandu , Nepal.

Lobsang , Tibetan student Oct, 22 2016


ཛམ་བྷ་ཚང་ ཡི་ཐོགས་ your writings are a learning for us, gives so much hope to see the passion in you. You have brought topics in front of us which are never discussed, and these are the things which will give us pride and confidence in being Tibet. We need to pass this to our younger generations so that the our culture is preserved, is continued.

Young Tibetans don't have much places to know about our culture, We need to talk about our music, our festivals, importance of our dresses.


ཛམ་བྷ་ཚང་ ཡི་ཐོགས་ your writings are a learning for us, gives so much hope to see the passion in you. You have brought topics in front of us which are never discussed, and these are the things which will give us pride and confidence in being Tibet. We need to pass


ཛམ་བྷ་ཚང་ ཡི་ཐོགས་ , The price in exile ! Oct, 22 2016


Thank you so much for reading my amature shot articles.


Lobsang Tsering , Fighting for Free Tibet. Oct, 22 2016


Rangzen's songs even became unofficial Tibetan anthem. especially this one "We Tibetan Nomads":

Never knew that he was band.




Rahul Singhla , Thinker, Blogger, UPSC aspirant. Oct, 22 2016


Has Indian govt. Banned Rangzen Shonu?