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BJP leaders attend Dalai Lama’s Dharamsala event, Tibetan leader in exile takes on China

After cancelling events in Delhi, the Tibetan government-in-exile has now started countrywide “Thank You India” programmes to mark the beginning of the 60th year of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2018 22:15 IST
Dalai Lama,Tibetan government-in-exile,Mahesh Sharma
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Union minister Mahesh Sharma and BJP’s Ram Madhav, among others, at the Thank You India function at Tsugla Khang Temple in Mcleodganj, Dharamshala, on Saturday. (PTI photo)

The Dalai Lama thanked India on Saturday for giving shelter to him and said the Tibetans have turned their unfortunate circumstances into a path of enlightenment by reviving their spirit and influence wherever they are.

At a public event in Dharamsala marking the beginning of the 60th year of his exile in India, the 82-year-old spiritual leader got emotional and embraced one of the five Assam Rifles troopers who escorted him to India after his escape from Tibet.

Union culture minister Mahesh Sharma, members of Parliament Shanta Kumar and Satyavrat Chaturvedi, and BJP leader Ram Madhav were present at the event along with functionalities of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

Earlier this month, media reports said India had told top officials to avoid events held by Tibet’s exile government to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s life in India, fearful of hurting relations with China.


“I feel blessed once again as His Holiness touched me and bumped his head with my head,” said Naren Chandra Das, now 80, who escorted the Dalai Lama on his arrival in Arunachal Pradesh.

Das said he was overwhelmed by the invitation he received to attend the event that marked the onset of a year-long ‘Thank You India’ campaign. The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing China in 1959 after a failed uprising against Communist rule in Tibet.

‘This is your land’

BJP’s Ram Madhav said India had always hosted people in difficult times with an open heart.

He expressed hope in his speech that the Dalai Lama “would be able to find a solution to the Tibetan issue through peaceful and democratic means that will facilitate your honourable return to your homeland.”

“We know the life of a refugee is very tough...we hosted many people in trouble. India always welcome with open hands and open heart those in difficulties.”

Addressing the Tibetan administration-in-exile, he said: “Friends, we don’t want to use the word refugee (for you). This is your land. At the most, you are in exile and Tibet is waiting for you.”

China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, and has governed it since 1951. But many Tibetans say the region was effectively independent for most of its history.

Hard-hitting speech

Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in India, urged his compatriots to strengthen efforts to make the return of the Dalai Lama to his native land a reality.

He said Tibet has seen 60 years of destruction of its civilization, culture and identity by the Chinese since the Dalai Lama fled to India.

He said the Dalai Lama “dreamt of himself in a room in the Potala Palace filled with light where he will be reunited with Tibetans inside Tibet.” The Potala Palace in Lhasa was the residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

“Thousands and thousands of Tibetans have been killed and have died for the cause of Tibet. Many of them have burned themselves alive,” he said in a hard-hitting speech.

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 18:07 IST