Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, on Friday fought tears and the memory of “difficult” and “hard” times after China had taken over his homeland.
“I am the longest-staying guest in India,” he said in an emotional address to the local and Tibetan people.
The event, “Thank You, Himachal”, was in which the Tibetan government-in-exile marked its leader's 50 years of settlement in the hill town of Dharamsala since his escape to India in 1959 after failed uprising against the Chinese troops.
“I am son of not only India but also Dharamsala,” His Holiness told a large gathering at the Darhi ground.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was in the audience on stage. The Dalai Lama first took refuge in Mussoorie and, a year later, shifted to Dharamsala. He also talked about his efforts for the freedom of his homeland.
“I was only five when I arrived in Lhasa; and at 16, I took over the reign in Tibet at a critical juncture,” said the most revered monk in the plateau nation.
He has not given up hope for the independence of his people. “From that time (when he fled Tibet) to today, I have faced difficulties, but not relented to situations. I will continue to take forward the Tibetan struggle,” said the 75-year-old Nobel laureate.
He spoke about the cultural ties between Tibet and India and how the exiles had gained strength from the Indian philosophy of non-violence. “I am a firm believer in ahimsa and spreading the philosophy throughout the world,” said The Dalai Lama, who won Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989.
He asked the Tibetan youth to watch their behaviour and learn from the older generations of exiles.
Earlier, Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibet, blamed the Indian “red tape” indirectly for delay in the Tibetan administrative works. Rinpoche also apologised to the local people for the “misconduct of some Tibetans.” Dhumal, after The Dalai Lama had honoured him at the function, said the Tibetans exiles had his full support. He described The Dalai Lama as “living Buddha” who had brought laurels to Himachal Pradesh.
Ugyen Trinley Dorje, leader of the Kagyu Karma sect, who also goes by the name of Black Hat Lama, was sitting with the spiritual leader. Dorje's escape to Dharamsala from his seat at Tsurphu in Tibet had taken the security agencies by surprise. Minister of Industries Kishan Kapoor was present.