DHARAMSALA, Jan 3: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama was conferred with the Santokbaa Manavratna Award for his contribution towards world peace on Jan 2 in Surat, Gujarat.
Gujarat governor O P Kohli presented the 79-yr-old Tibetan Nobel Peace laureate with the award, citation and a cheque of Rs 25 lakhs at the Sanjeev Kumar Auditorium in Surat, a city known for its diamond industry.
The award was instituted by the SRK Foundation set up by diamond baron Govind Dholakiya of the Shree Ramkrishna Exports in his mother Smt Santokba Dholakiya’s memory.
Referring to His Holiness as a missionary of peace, Govind Dholakia said: “Today’s world is full of violence, selfishness and competition and it needs the coolness of peace, compassion, love and selflessness, and Dalai Lama is one such individual who has all these virtues.”
Wearing a traditional Gujarati turban, His Holiness in his acceptance speech called for a different mode of development that would be beneficial for the poor and urged the gathering to stick to organic farming in the interest of health.
“If life is improved in the rural areas, everyone will benefit. Friends tell me our present mode of development is unsustainable, so we need to find a different approach to uplifting the poor and challenging issues such as caste and gender discrimination. We should also explore ways to limit the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, seeking more organic farming methods in the interest of health.”
He referred to his three commitments: promotion of human values in the interest of general happiness, promotion of religious harmony and preservation of Tibetan culture.
To a question from a young journalist on religious conversion His Holiness noted that the solution to the issue lies in education.
“His Holiness pointed out that it is much more difficult to convert educated people, so education has a role in this matter. He reiterated that all the major religious traditions have the potential to help humanity through their teachings,” His Holiness said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader who is revered by the Tibetan people as Chenrezig-the bodhisatva of compassion- also reiterated that the continuation of the lineage and the institution of the Dalai Lama will depend entirely on the wishes of the Tibetan people.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama became the seventh recipient of the Santokbaa award since inception in 2007. Past recipient of the award include Sam Dr Pitroda, Dr Verghese Kurien, renowned kidney transplant surgeon Dr H L Trivedi, veteran Gandhian Shri Narayan Desai, freedom fighter Smt Poornima Pakwasa and professor M S Swaminathan, pioneer of Green Revolution in India.