BJP leaders attend Tibetans’ ‘Thank You India’ event at Dharamsala

DHARAMSALA: BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma and BJP MP Shanta Kumar on Saturday attended the Tibetans'' ‘Thank You India-2018’ event at Dharamshala. The year-long event has been planned by Central Tibet Administration to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.

BJP leaders attend Tibetans’ ‘Thank You India’ event at Dharamsala

The Dalai Lama honours Union Minister Mahesh Sharma at the 'Thank You India' event at McLeodganj, Dharamsala, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Kamaljeet

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Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), March 31

BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma and BJP MP Shanta Kumar on Saturday attended the Tibetans' ‘Thank You India-2018’ event at Dharamshala.

The year-long event has been planned by Central Tibet Administration to mark 60 years of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in India.

Speaking at the event in McLeodganj, Madhav said India appreciates the desire of the Tibetans-in-exile to return to their motherland, and that they should not consider themselves refugees in “their second home”.

“India has always welcomed people in problem with open arms. Many people came to India as refugees, and found love and shelter here. The life of a refugee is very tough and full of struggles, but the Tibetans should not consider themselves refugees as they are living in their second home,” Madhav said.

He said that then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru followed the “dharma of the land” to give shelter to the Tibetans, though “we followed the one-China policy at the political level”.

Actually, the Dalai Lama should be thanked for coming to India along with so many Buddhist scholars, the BJP leader said.

“Buddhism went from eastern India to Tibet 1,300 years ago. We are bound by spirit, religion, culture and knowledge. So, we are brothers, and brothers do not thank each other,” he said.

“We appreciate your desire to go back to your motherland ... And we wish you all the luck. This desire must not vanish. Till then, India is your home. India is the land of the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama,” Madhav said.

Union Minister Mahesh Sharma said, “India and Tibet have decades-old relations which cannot be measured by any scale. Our relationship is that of an elder and a younger brother, who need not thank each other.” He said it is painful to call the Tibetans refugees.

“You are our guests. Our relationship is like flower and fragrance,” he added.

BJP MP Shanta Kumar said, “Dharamsala has become the spiritual centre of the world due to the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama here. It is the greatness of the spiritual leader that he wanted to thank India.”

Tibetan leader takes on China

Lobsang Sangay, the president of the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan government-in-exile, quoted the Dalai Lama as saying, “India is the guru (teacher) and we are the chelas (disciples). And to respect the guru is our dharma.” “We are thankful to India, as we rebuilt the Tibetan civilisation, revived the Tibetan culture and preserved and promoted the Tibetan identity in India,” he said.

No other country has done what India did for the Tibetan people in the past 60 years, he said.

“The Dalai Lama says he is the son of India and, therefore, we are all its grandchildren,” Sangay said.

Lashing out at China, he said the situation in Tibet is “very grim. It is more difficult for the media to go to Tibet than to North Korea”.

“Since the formation of our government-in-exile, China has destroyed the Tibetan culture and carried out a number of killings,” he alleged.

Sangay said that “our government-in-exile in an exclusive product of the ‘Make in India’ campaign”, which is supported by all Tibetans.

Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi and Himachal minister Kishan Kapoor were among those who attended the event.

The event, which was earlier planned in Delhi, was shifted to McLeodganj in upper Dharamshala after the Indian government directed its officials to stay away from it, citing “sensitive time” for relations between India and China.

Dalai Lama embraces jawan who escorted him in 1959

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama got emotional on Saturday as he embraced one of the five Assam Rifles jawans, Naren Chandra Das, who escorted him in India after his escape from Tibet.

In 1959, as a young trooper Das, now 80, escorted the Dalai Lama, now 82, on his arrival in Arunachal Pradesh. Dalai Lama has lived in exile ever since fleeing Tibet in March 1959.

"I feel blessed once again as His Holiness touched me and bumped his head with my head," Das told reporters after he was honoured by the leader at the 'Thank You India' event.

Das said he was overwhelmed by the gesture of His Holiness for inviting him.

In 2017, Das was reunited with the Dalai Lama for the first time in 58 years at a festival organised by the Assam government.

Das, who joined the force in 1957, said he was told to escort the Dalai Lama along with others. "We were directed only to escort the Dalai Lama and not to speak with him," said Das.

He was then posted at Lungla near the China border after having completed his training at Tawang in the then North East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh, he said.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing China in 1959 after a failed uprising against Communist rule in Tibet. Agencies

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