Former prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile Samdhong Rinpoche, who is the current vice chancellor of Sanchi University, on Monday said India faces four major challenges and stressed that they be addressed at the earliest.
Rinpoche said the first major challenge is the surge in violence, aggression and terror activities.
“The aggression has increased in general and no one feels safe these days. In the past, it was anger that led to violence. But these days, it is greed that is leading to violence,” he said.
“The war in Vietnam continued for 18 years. It could have been stopped in a day. But the weapons built and sold had to be used. You don’t ask about suppliers who supply weapons to the terrorists and warmongers,” he said.
The second challenge, according to Rinpoche, is the wide gulf between the rich and poor. “I don’t see this gulf bridging any time soon. The exploiter and the exploited have become part of the economic structure,” he said.
Saving the environment is the third major challenge, said Rinpoche. “Water has been polluted. We have to buy packaged water these days. Air has been polluted and soon we may have to may have to buy packaged air. And scientists are not very optimistic about this issue,” he said.
Rinpoche listed the fourth challenge as the so-called “religious intolerance” in the country. “However, I have a problem with the term dharmik asahishnuta (religious intolerance). If someone is religious, he can’t be intolerant. And I also have a problem with the word tolerance. Why not respect? We don’t have to tolerate other religions, we need to show respect for other religions,” he said.
Saying that the Western model of development was not the solution for all the ills India faces, Rinpoche said the country needs to look into the roots and address these issues at the educational, economic, political and social level. “And I think unless people in India have freedom of language, use their own language, decolonisation can’t be complete. When you write in English, it naturally inclines your mind towards the culture of the country from where the language originated,” he said.