By Tenzin Dharpo
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. file
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 16: The exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration today said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will attend the inaugural ‘thank you India’ event scheduled for March 31, the day the Tibetan leader set foot on India in 1959.
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has graciously consented to grace the event. His Holiness will be joined by other dignitaries and guests at the event which will celebrate Tibetan culture, and spirit that thrives on the Indian soil. March 31, 2018 marks the beginning of the 60th year, since His Holiness the Dalai Lama stepped on the sacred land of India,” CTA run Tibet.net said today.
The commemorative events planned by the exile Tibetan government to ‘thank you India’ after 60 years in India is relocated from New Delhi, the country’s capital to the Central Tibetan Administration’s seat here in Dharamshala. CTA was to hold high profile events in New Delhi at the Thyagaraja Stadium on April 1 as well as an inter-faith meeting at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial at Rajghat scheduled for March 31 with big names in Indian politics such as veteran BJP senior leader L K Advani and former PM of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, in contention of participating.
The move by the CTA follows Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale’s directive to Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha with the latter telling “senior leaders” and “government functionaries” of the Centre and states to not participate in the events of the Tibetan leadership in exile, citing deterioration in relation with China.
Despite the set back for the CTA, the Dalai Lama while speaking to CNN18 on March 10 said that he is not bothered by the development. He said, “I don’t like you see, these formalities... some formal function, and nice speech doesn’t matter,” adding that the spirit of the Tibetan people which is indomitable, is what matters. “Six million Tibetans, inside as well as outside Tibet, their Tibetan spirit is wonderful, that is what is important,” the Tibetan leader said.
The organising committee of the ‘thank you India’ initiative’s Vice Chair and DIIR’s Information Secretary (equivalent) Dhardon Sharling said, “A series of Pan-India events spanning 12 months both on the physical and virtual space will publicly express gratitude to the government and people of India, for ensuring the success of the efforts of Tibetan people: promoting its rich ancient culture and unique identity, assuring the viability and sustainability of Tibetan leadership and Tibetan communities, and leading the Tibetan struggle through steadfast commitment to non-violence and dialogue.”