The flags of America and ‘Free Tibet’ fluttered side by side in the cool mountain air all along the route to the main Buddhist temple. Sending out a strong signal to the world, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, US house of representatives, and his Holiness, the Dalai Lama walked in hand in hand to greet the audience that had begun to assemble more than three hours before the official function was to begin.
Before that Pelosi and her husband Paul, along with nine other US delegates, flying in from Delhi, were personally welcomed in by the Dalai Lama when they arrived at his residence. They were all presented white khattas — the ceremonial Tibetan scarf — except Pelosi herself, who got a special one in golden yellow. The warmth between Pelosi and His Holiness, was unmistakable. Pelosi, after all, had played a key role in the Dalai Lama being awarded the Congressional Medal, a top US award, last year.
The audience clapped and cheered loudly as Pelosi, clad in a pastel green business suit, took the stage. Her speech, apart from endorsing the Tibetans’ demand for a probe into the events in Tibet since the uprising, dwelt eloquently on the human rights situation there. She insisted that America wholeheartedly supported the Dalai Lama’s quest to return to his home land. She praised the Tibetans for their courage. “We are joining you at a sad time,” she said, “to shed the light of truth on what is happening in Tibet”.
Pelosi is the most important American leader to ever visit Dharamsala, and her arrival was a big boost to the morale of Tibetan resistance. The delegation later held a luncheon meeting with Dalai Lama at his residence, where discussions lasted for two hours.