Tibet: storia e misteri sul tetto del mondo

di Paola P. 63

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Il Tibet ha sempre esercitato un grande fascino nell’immaginario occidentale, come mito geografico, culturale, religioso.
Anticamente lo si pensava come un altopiano inospitale, percorso dai venti, innevato, isolato dal resto del mondo da imponenti catene montuose e vette elevate.
L’aura di mistero che lo circondava era legata proprio alla sua inaccessibilità che, insieme all’altitudine, lo rendevano uno dei luoghi della terra più ricchi di fascino e magia.
La sua elevazione fece presupporre una corrispettiva elevatezza di vedute dei suoi abitanti. Si credeva fosse popolato da saggi e mistici, immersi in profonde meditazioni o nell’estasi contemplativa, in fondo alle grotte.

Negli anni Cinquanta la drammatica realtà tibetana si affacciò sullo scenario internazionale, rompendo con la sua crudezza le fantasie utopiche fino a quel momento intrattenute sul suo conto.
Contrariamente a quanto si credeva, il Tibet era stato aperto alle civiltà vicine per molti secoli, instaurando con loro scambi sia materiali che culturali.
La sua civiltà si era sviluppata negli ambienti naturali più vari e non solo nell’arido altopiano.
Il sentimento religioso faceva sì parte della quotidianità di ogni tibetano, ma la maggioranza della popolazione era più attenta alle necessità materiali della vita. Soprattutto si badava a cercare di resistere e a sopravvivere in un ambiente così ostile.


La cultura tibetana si è diffusa su una vasta area geografica (3.800.000 kmq circa) che supera di gran lunga le frontiere dell’attuale regione autonoma del Tibet (fondata nel 1965) e comprende le regioni tibetane delle province di Gansu, di Qinghai, di Sichuan e di Yunnan ad est, così come le alte vallate himalayane a sud, dal Ladakh fino al Bhutan.
La media delle altitudini si aggira intorno ai 4500 metri e i rilievi hanno proporzioni grandiose.
Gli studi archeologici, seppur ancora circoscritti a poche aeree, hanno rilevato la presenza umana sull’altopiano del Tibet a partire dal medio paleolitico, circa 50.000 anni fa.

Le popolazioni tibetane hanno origini diverse: alcune, in un primo tempo considerate come straniere, furono poi assimilate con il passare del tempo, grazie anche ai numerosi movimenti migratori avvenuti nel corso dei secoli.
La vastità dei territori, l’altitudine e le ampie aeree disabitate hanno contribuito ad accentuare la diversità fra i popoli delle varie regioni.
Tuttavia si possono classificare in due gruppi principali, in base ai diversi habitat ed agli opposti modi di vita: gli allevatori nomadi e gli agricoltori sedentari.
I primi sono dediti all’allevamento estensivo degli yak, dei montoni e delle capre sull’altopiano del nord e dell’ovest, e nelle steppe d’altura.
Gli agricoltori, in numero nettamente maggiore rispetto agli allevatori, si occupano invece di coltivare l’orzo (l’alimento base), il grano, i piselli e talvolta, quando il clima è meno rigido, anche il mais, il riso ed il miglio.

La lingua e la religione sono gli elementi che conferiscono unità all’area della cultura tibetana ma anche certi tratti sociali e psicologici.
Il tibetano fa parte della famiglia delle lingue tibetobirmane che, a loro volta, si ricollegano ad un vasto gruppo detto sino-tibetano.
Ai numerosi dialetti si è sovrapposta, dopo l’introduzione della scrittura nel VII secolo, una lingua letteraria legata al Buddhismo, che è diventata una lingua franca in uso in tutta l’area tibetana.
La religione, il Buddhismo tibetano, ha contribuito all’unità di quest’area culturale e, grazie ad essa, Il Tibet ha esportato la sua cultura dotta al di là delle sue frontiere: verso certe popolazioni tibeto-birmane al sud e soprattutto verso i mongoli al nord.

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Ma l’influenza ed il fascino della cultura tibetana sono andati oltre: il cinema di tutto il mondo ne ha tratto ispirazione per moltissimi film e documentari.
Come dimenticare Sette anni in Tibet di Jean-Jacques Annaud, con Brad Pitt che tocca con mano l’essenza e la pratica della filosofia buddista.
Del 1997, Kundun di Martin Scorsese, che narra la vita del Dalai Lama in un affresco che nessuno si sarebbe sognato di raccontare, fatto solo come un grande maestro può fare (una scena fra tutte: l’incontro con Mao).
O ancora il celebre documentario Cry of the Snow Lion di Tom Piozet, del 2002, sull’oppressione e la resistenza.
La lista potrebbe protrarsi all’infinito, a testimonianza del grande fascino che il Tibet continua ad esercitare sull’immaginario collettivo. Sarà che l’incanto dei luoghi è talmente evocativo da suggestionare l’anima e creare magia, arte, mistero.
Un viaggio in Tibet non è una semplice vacanza, ma è un vero viaggio, un percorso spirituale e fisico alla ricerca della propria storia personale.

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