DHARAMSALA, 6 July: The Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh today said that India stands with Tibetans and supports Tibet’s fight for independence drawing applauds and cheers from hundreds of Tibetans, as well as foreigners and Indian followers of the Tibetan spiritual leader, who congregated for the official celebration of His Holiness’ 87th birthday.
“India stands with you in this fight for independence and we will always stand with you,” Himachal’s forest minister Rakesh Pathania said as he attended the official celebration of His Holiness’ 87th birthday on behalf of the Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur who can not fly in owing to bad weather at the courtyard of Tsug-lag-Khang, the main temple in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala where the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides.
The minister said that “Today is a special and a big occasion for Himachal Pradesh and its people as it marks the 87th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.”
“Whenever we talk about peace, harmony and world peace, his Holiness’ name always comes first. When the Dalai Lama has conferred the Nobel Peace Prize, it was a victory for India, Himachal Pradesh and everyone in the world who loves peace and is committed to world peace,” he added.
He further thanked the Dalai Lama for making Himachal his home in exile and putting the state on the world map of tourism and concluded by declaring that the history of Tibet will now be included in the syllabus of Indian schools in the state so that children can learn about the truth and rich history of Tibet and its struggles.
Hollywood actor and activist Richard Gere, the chairman of the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet(ICT) who attended the event as the Special Guest, while extending his greetings to the Dalai Lama said to the Tibetans that “you should be proud of themselves.”
Tibetans should be very proud of themselves as once in a millennium, maybe once in two millennia, such a person as the Dalai Lama emerges and he’s Tibetan.”
Reminding Tibetans of the reality that the Dalai Lama won’t live forever, he urged Tibetans to step up and shudder the responsibilities.
“The Dalai Lama is not gonna be here forever, he is gonna leave his body at some point, and hopefully, it’s 113 years maybe it’s 150 years. But we can’t rely on the Dalai Lama to carry all of us.”
“We have to carry each other and it’s gonna happen soon enough that the reality hits us. It’s up to the Tibetan people to carry the weight of your freedom, the weight of your truth, the weight of your possibilities, and the weight of your visions,” he said and concluded by saying “The Dalai Lama can’t do it for all of us.”
CTA’s President, Penpa Tsering and the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel delivered the official statements of the Kashag (the Tibetan cabinet) and the Tibetan Parliament respectively.
Both the statements highlighted the numerous contributions and magnanimous endeavours of His Holiness for the Tibetan people and the world at large. They expressed the Tibetan people’s profound gratitude towards His Holiness and wished His Holiness the Dalai Lama healthy and long life on behalf of Tibetan people inside and outside.
The Tibetan leaders also expressed their gratitude to the government and the people of India on behalf of the Tibetan people for their unwavering support and hospitality for the last six decades in exile.
Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wished the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama a long and healthy life on his birthday.
Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter to announce that he spoke with the Tibetan Nobel Laureate to extend his greetings.
“Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the @DalaiLama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health,” Modi tweeted from his official Twitter handle at 11:04 am.
Though the Dalai Lama did not take part in the official function to celebrate his 87th birthday at Tsug-lag-Khang, the octogenarian Tibetan leader inaugurated “The Dalai Lama Library and Archive” at Lhagyal Ri, located almost halfway on the circumambulation path around his residence.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso was born Lhamo Dhondup on 6 July 1935 to a peasant family in Taktser village in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo.