Amid the raging debate over intolerance, Tibetan spiritual head the Dalai Lama today said overall Indians are religiously tolerant, but there are some politicians and some sections of the media who create sensationalism out of “small things”.
“Ninety nine per cent of Indians still are religiously tolerant and one per cent it is possible (to have intolerant people). I believe that. Some politicians may express different things, but that is their individual expression,” the Dalai Lama told PTI in an interview.
“Some people in the media too create small things into....create sensationalism,’ said the Dalai Lama, on a three-day visit to Bengaluru.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said a lot of problems are highlighted in newspapers but they are not that serious.
“In India I feel, when we look at the newspapers, there are a lot of problems, but besides that nothing serious -Totalitarian regimes’ newspaper is smooth, but underneath a lot of problems,” he said.
Asked about criticism that writers did nothing like returning awards during the Emergency and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Dalai Lama said US President Barack Obama had mentioned Modi as a straightforward and a visionary leader and his visits to different countries has improved India’s image and it is on the path becoming an economic power.
“President Obama sort of expressed Prime Minister Modi as brother, truthful, straightforward leader with a vision.During his visits to different countries, the image of India and also the economy, I do not know the details, but if you see his own sort of speeches, India’s economy is very rapidly increasing and India is on the path of becoming more powerful,” he said.
The Dalai Lama said he doesn’t not know the details about Modi’s alleged “connection” with the post-Godhra riots, but these issues crop up during elections.
“When he (Modi) was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, a Muslim friend said he (Modi) may have some doubt about his connection with post-Godhra violence. I don’t know ... During elections we see more criticism of such kind,” he said.
“This kind of criticism also is witnessed in Tibetan communities during elections and whenever a political matter crops up,” he added.
However, this sort of criticism is better than the totalitarian regimes of China and North Korea, where there is no sort of freedom of expression for different views, he said.
Asked if it was fair for writers to return their awards on the issue of “intolerance”, the Dalai Lama said, “I do not know the details, but there are some individuals - they have some reasons and resented. They also enjoy freedom. Whether that is right or wrong, we have to study very very carefully.”