Written by Tashi Dolma, MK Toronto
The excellent discussion guide from Machik paved the course of our Khabda. Hua mo Tso’s poems “I am who I am” and “Approach Me Not” resonated with the participants. The described idea of women in the poems were seen or faced in different intensity in different levels of communities that we live in. The commentary for the poem “ I am who I am” helped us appreciate the unimaginable obstacles Tibetan women in the rural areas go through in their daily lives. The poems also make one reflect on the potential each of the women hold had they thrived in an environment where opportunities were more balanced for both gender.
Huamo Tso is a living example of that potential. Hua mo Tso is a teacher, writer, poet, mentor, thinker, advocate educating both women and men through her writings and the works of Srinmo Association, particularly in reproductive health of rural Tibetan women. The multiple roles she engages herself in, makes one imagine her love for her people and her desire to uplift them which is endearing and inspiring.
It is vital that different gender and generations and not only women, engage in such khabdas. As one of our participant pointed that a true gender equality liberates the men too. Our group was lucky to have different gender and generation. While a participant shared that practice of sex was common in drokpa areas and that it was considered masculine, the younger women pointed the need of consent, in disbelief and unanimity. As we shared the history behind Huamo Tso’s Srinmo Association, a participant observed the historical narrative of Srinmo as a message of power of women, a contrast to Huamo Tso’s idea, as it needed not 10 but 110 temples to subdue the ogress! However the others pointed that the narrative and the pictorial presentation is disturbing and enforces the gender disparity of which the Tibetan women in rural areas are hit the most. The need to unlearn our paradox and biases does not appear to be in the purview of men and women living along who are hit the most, owing to many reasons such as opportunities for literacy, education etc.
People like Huamo Tso allow people living in rural Tibet and Tibetans everywhere to reexamine our biased constructs towards gender and to imagine the beautiful possibilities.