The 14th reincarnation of Dalai Lama, Tenzing Gyatso, on Monday formally ended his role in Tibetan politics, but simultaneously asked Tibetan exiles to continue struggle to return back to their homeland.
Amidst sombre ambience that prevailed in the hall of Tibetan parliament in Dharamsala, speaker of Tibetan parliament–in-exile, Penpa Tsering read out Dalai Lama’s message that was written in Tibetan language, as soon as the budget session began at 10 am.
“I want to acknowledge here that many of my fellow Tibetans, inside and outside Tibet, have earnestly requested me to continue to give political leadership at this critical time” said the written message of Dalai Lama in which he had described himself as “semi-retired” for the past decade.
Elaborating the reason for reliquishing his political post that he had held in the exile for the past 52 years, the 75 – year-old Dalai Lama clarified that he was not devolving his political authority, because he was “disheartened ”. “My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility nor because I am disheartened,” he said.
Urging Tibetans to continue their struggle till the issue is resolved, the Dalai Lama maintained that he was devloving his political authority “solely” for benefit of Tibetan people. “ It is extremely important that we ensure the continuity of our exile Tibetan administration and our struggle until the issue of Tibet has been successfully resolved ”said Dalai Lama.
While spelling out reasons for relinquishing his political responsibility, Dalai Lama candidly asked the Tibetan parliamentarians to prepare for future after him. “If we have to remain in exile for several more decades, a time will inevitably come when I will no longer be able to provide leadership” said the Dalai Lama, adding that he took the decision to make the Tibetan political system more self reliant after him. “It is necessary that we establish a sound system of governance while I remain able and healthy, in order that the exile Tibetan administration can become self-reliant rather than being dependent on the Dalai Lama,” message read out to parliamentarians.
The Dalai Lama, who has managed to keep Tibet issue at the centrestage of the world for past half a century, inspite being crticised widely by China, told parliament to prepare for situation after him that might present an overwhelming challenge.
“But, if the implementation of such a system is delayed and a day comes when my leadership is suddenly unavailable, the consequent uncertainty might present an overwhelming challenge” said Dalai Lama who called on parliamnet to scrap Article 31 of the Charter that spells out provisions for a Council of Regency- an interim measure incorporated in the Tibetan charter for handling political affairs in his absence. “Therefore, amendments to the Charter on this occasion must conform to the framework of a democratic system in which the political leadership is elected by the people for a specific term” said Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama asked the parliament to change the title of Ganden Phodrang- the supreme leader of the Tibetans - that he held for 67 years. He assumed the political responsibility when he was 18 and had been the political and spiritual head of Tibetans.