“My intention to devolve political authority derives (not) from a wish to shirk responsibility,” said the Dalai Lama in a statement on Monday as he formally asked the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile to amend its charter to relieve him of his role.
He, however, exhorted the Tibetans to remain resolute on the Tibetan cause. “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, in which he had described himself as “semi-retired” for the past decade.
In a gloomy atmosphere at the Tibetan parliament hall in Dharamsala, the speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, Penpa Tsering, read the Dalai Lama’s message in Tibetan as soon the budget session began at 10 am.
Elaborating the reasons for giving up his position as temporal head, which he had held in exile for the past 52 years, the Dalai Lama, 75, said though he was devolving political authority, he was not “disheartened”.
“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,” he said.
While spelling out his plans, the Dalai Lama asked the parliamentarians to prepare for the future. “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.