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View: India must revive its Tibetan Buddhist links to show a mirror to China

Jun 15, 2024 09:12 AM IST

The Modi government has no intentions of renaming places in Tibet as a tit for tat to China. India has umbilical links with Tibet.

New Delhi: Four years ago on this day, the Gallant 20 led by brave 16 Bihar Commanding Officer Colonel B Santosh Babu repelled a PLA attack near Patrolling Point 14 in Galwan in East Ladakh, resulting in death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of PLA personnel.

Tashi Lunpho monastery in Shigatse in Tibet.
Tashi Lunpho monastery in Shigatse in Tibet.

While many Indian soldiers lost their lives due to drowning in frozen Galwan river, the brief skirmish was a game changer as the Indian Army, shedding the 1962 loss, took on the aggressive PLA and ensured that Chinese did not disturb the status quo in Galwan by erecting a new post.

Apart from the PLA aggression in East Ladakh in May 2020, the Xi Jinping regime has launched full-fledged information warfare against India by renaming geographical entities in Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017, the Chinese released Mandarin version of six places in Arunachal Pradesh, 15 places in 2021 in second list, 11 more places in third list in 2021 and in March 2024, another 30 places were renamed by Xi Jinping regime as if to earmark their claims on the Indian border state.

Mahavir Chakra winner Colonel Santosh Babu with his family.
Mahavir Chakra winner Colonel Santosh Babu with his family.

While there were media reports of India planning to rename some 30 places in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as a riposte to the Chinese exercise in Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry of External Affairs is not aware of any such exercise.

Fact is that India does not need to do any renaming in Tibet to make its point to the Communist Party of China as the Indo-Tibetan plateau of Lamas has ancient links with India through Buddhism. Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake in Tibet are revered by both the Hindus and the Tibetan Buddhist alike with Hindus making pilgrimage to the abode of Lord Shiva for centuries.

Despite Chinese communists trying to impose atheism on the Tibetan and Chinese people at large, Buddhism is growing in China by leaps and bounds. Fabulous Buddhist temples are being built all over China especially in Tibet so much so that priests and followers of the religion have given up on meat eating and turned vegetarians. Since Buddhism spread to Tibet through teachers in Nalanda in Bihar, all the major sutras are based in Sanskrit and hence chanted as such including ubiquitous “Om Mani Padme Hum.” Hindu female deity ‘Saraswati’ resembles Manjushri, a Bodhisattva representing transcendent wisdom in Mahayana Buddhism. The list goes on and on. Suffice to say that India-Tibet links are civilizational and intertwined through the Nalanda-Lhasa link of the past centuries. After all, it was the Nalanda masters who taught Buddhism to their Tibetan counterparts, a fact acknowledged time and again by the 14th Dalai Lama.

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Despite 74 years of brutal occupation by the Han Chinese, the Communist Party of China, much to its chagrin, finds Buddhism flourishing in Tibet and the chants of Sanskrit based sutras pervading the Indo-Tibetan plateau. India does not need to rename places in Tibet to emphasize on its historical relationship with the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism, it is reverberated in the mantras daily in the highlands and in the temples. It is time that India recognizes its past linkages and ancient tradition with Tibet. This alone will give jitters to the Xi Jinping regime.

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