By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, April 1 : Thousands of Tibetans and supporters gathered at the courtyard of the Tsug-lag-khang, the main temple in McLeod Ganj yesterday as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) kicked off its year-long ‘Thank You India’ campaign to mark 60 years of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.
The event was attended by India’s Union Minister for Culture, Mahesh Sharma as the Chief Guest along with BJP National General Secretary, Ram Madhav as the Special Guest, former Himachal Chief Minister and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar, Food and Supplies Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Krishan Kapoor, Congress MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi and the representatives of the three pillars of Tibetan democracy as well as members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and officials of the CTA.
The Tibetan spiritual leader had an emotional second reunion with Naren Chandra Das, the lone survivor of Assam Rifle, the battalion that escorted him upon arriving in India 60 years ago as he graced the event.
“As a result of the support and kindness of our host, the Government and People of India, now what we can see is that we can make some contribution from the Tibetan literature that has been passed to Tibet by the Indian scholars who visited Tibet and translated by numerous Tibetan scholars,” the Dalai Lama said.
On Indo-China relations, the Tibetan Nobel laureate said that ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ is the need of the hour and that confrontation will not yield any result as the two Asian giants are capable of destroying each other.
The contigent of Indian politicians spoke about the spiritual and cultural ties between India and Tibet, their support for Tibetans struggle to return to Tibet, described Tibetans and Indians as spiritual cousins and thanked His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The CTA had to move the event from New Delhi to Dharamsala following a circular issued by the Government of India directing its senior leaders and functionaries of both the Centre and States to stay away from the proposed commemorative events.
The circular was widely reported as a snub by the Government of India to appease China, But the President of the CTA, Dr Sangay maintained that his administration understands India’s move and further stated that the Government of India and its people has done the most to Tibetan people.
“Today is not about how big the event is or who is here or who is not here. Today is a day of celebration and gratitude from the hearts and minds of the six million Tibetans,” CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay said in his address.
The Tibetan administration presented Mahesh Sharma, India’s Union Minister for Culture an Ashok chakra as a symbol of Tibetan people’s gratitude to India and its people.