By Tenzin Dharpo
Dignitaries at the 'Thank you Himachal' event at Ridge ground in Shimla on Oct. 15, 2018. Photo- tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 15: In a grand gesture, the exile Tibetan community based in the state of Himachal Pradesh, along with the Central Tibetan Administration and Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama thanked the government and the people of the state for their hospitality and help for the past sixty odd years, at the iconic Ridge ground in the state’s capital Shimla on Monday.
The Dalai Lama in his video message for the event said, “I always refer to Himachal Chief Minister and Governor as My Governor and My Chief Minister because now for nearly 59 years, I have lived here. In the summer of 1960, I reached here so I consider myself as a citizen of this state.
“On behalf of several thousand Tibetans in this state, I want to thank the State government and also pray for the Governors and Chief Ministers of the last few decades. Many of them are now only in our memory. As they have shown tremendous support for us, I always remember them in my prayer,” he further said.
The chief guest of the event Honourable Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Acharya Dev Vrat welcomed the gesture and espoused a relation of brotherhood between Indians and Tibetans. Fellow guest and the former CM Vir Badhra Singh said he and his family’s relation with Tibet is a centuries old bond.
The head of Tibetan polity, Dr. Lobsang Sangay said, “No other country or people have done more for Tibetans than India. We are always treated like family in Himachal and we will never forget your kindness and generosity.”
President Sangay also said that Tibetan religion and culture that continues to undergo persecution in its homeland have found refuge in the state of Himachal, as has in many states in India where refugee Tibetans are given land and freedom.
Tibetan dignitaries Finance Minister Karma Yeshi, Health Minister Choekyong Wangchuk, and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok also attended the event. Members of five Tibetan settlements based in the state and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts presented musical and dance performances that were received with applause.
The state of Himachal Pradesh has been the home of the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the seat of the exile Tibetan government for the last sixty odd years.