[PTI] BAIJNATH (Himachal Pradesh), Nov 21: India should not change its political path when it comes to Tibet keeping in mind the long traditional relationship between the two countries, union minister Kiren Rijiju said on Saturday.
“India has a long tradition of relations with Tibet and its dharma gurus (religious leaders). India should not change its political path. India is the land of Gautam Buddha and the land of Mahatma Gandhi,” said Rijiju.
The minister of state for home affairs also said it was the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government that decided to declare Buddha Jayanti a national holiday.
Rijiju was addressing the Tibetan community at the Palpung Sherabling Monastery (7 km from Baijnath) on the occasion of Guru Padma Sambhava maha puja on Saturday.
Veteran BJP leader and former chief minister Shanta Kumar was also present on the occasion.
“After we formed the government last year, we declared Buddha Jayanti as a national holiday. Earlier, the day was observed by some institutions and in some pockets. I took up the issue of declaring the day as a holiday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he agreed.
“Indians and Tibetans have a spiritual relationship. Guru Padma Sambhava went to Tibet and at a later day, Buddhism returned to India in its purest form,” said Rijiju.
“The Dalai Lama said India is the guru and Tibet is the ‘chela’ (disciple). But it is a very dependable chela.”
On the occasion, the head of the monastic seat, the 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa remembered his arrival in India as a child of five years in 1959.
“The monastery could be set up in India because of the kindness of the people of India and the government of India. I came here as a child when the Dalai Lama came here. We should thank the people of India. Thank you,” the Tai Situpa said.
Rijiju further stressed the role of religious leaders in containing the threat of violence faced by society.
“Only the government and the security forces cannot stop violence. We have to depend on the dharma gurus to spread the message of peace,” he added.