High Peaks Pure Earth presents the English translation of the song “Black Hat” by the imprisoned Tibetan singer Lhundrub Drakpa.
On October 31, 2020, the Tibetan Centre for Human and Rights and Democracy along with several other Tibetan NGOs based in India, reported on the sentencing of singer Lhundrub Drakpa to six years in prison. Lhundrup Drakpa is from Driru County in Nagchu, central Tibet, and was detained in May 2019. His song “Black Hat” was released in March 2019 and he was finally sentenced in June this year.
Two days earlier on October 29, 2020, Human Rights Watch reported on the death in custody of Lhamo, 36, a herder also from Driru County, Lhamo and her cousin Tenzin Tarpa, 39, had been in detention since June “apparently on charges of having sent money to family members or other Tibetans in India”.
The “Black Hat” music video below was translated by Bhuchung D. Sonam and we thank him for the timely translation. In his note, he explains that a “black hat” is an unfounded accusation or allegation of wrongdoing that is untrue.
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated work by imprisoned Tibetan singers in the past, please visit the posts about Tashi Dhondup (2010), Ugyen Tenzin (2013), Gebey (2014), Choegon (2012), Chakdor and Pema Trinley (2013).
“Black Hat”* By Lhundrub Drakpa
Translation by Bhuchung D. Sonam
On the heads of a sincere and truthful people
A black hat has been forcefully put on
For years and months under this black hat
They’ve suffered as if hell is on earth
A language that is more precious than jewels
Is hemmed in by a thousand insidious means
For years and months in this state
The voice of the six million Tibetans is gagged
For years and months the sun is clouded
For days and nights the moon is blackened
In this realm of strangled darkness
Lies the sorrow of the people of the Snowland
Translator’s Note: ཞྭ་མོ་ནག་པོ། or ཞྭ་མོ་ནག་པོ་གཡོགས་པ། lit. ‘a black hat’ or ‘to put on a black hat’ is a well known Tibetan phrase that means a false/groundless/unfounded accusation or allegation of wrongdoing that is untrue. A very popular aphorism goes མི་དཀར་པོ་ལ་ཞྭ་མོ་ནག་པོ་མ་གཡོགས། i.e. ‘don’t put a black hat on an innocent person’.