The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama listens to Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, during the commemoration ceremony of the 52nd anniversary of the founding of Tibetan democracy at Tsug-la Khang courtyard in Dharamshala, India on Sptember 2, 2012. (Phayul file photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, September 11: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, and Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay in marking the 50th anniversary of the Central Tibetan School Administration yesterday in New Delhi.
CTSA, a body under the HRD ministry of the Indian government, was set up in 1961 by the then Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to look after the special academic needs of Tibetan children.
Since the opening of the first CTSA school in Mussoorie, north India with 50 students, the Administration today manages 67 schools across India, caring for over 8700 students.
Speaking at the ceremony, the elected head of the Tibetan people, Dr Sangay, who is a former student of a CTSA school and later went on to study law in Harvard, expressed his gratitude to the Dalai Lama and CTSA.
While acknowledging the generosity of the government and the people of India in providing Tibetan children with modern education, Dr Sangay noted that the ancient traditions of Buddhism and ahimsa and the contemporary practice of democracy among Tibetans follow an Indian example.
“It’s easy to thank you on the one hand,” he said, “but difficult on the other, because we can’t thank you enough.”
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal in his address said that CTSA is an institution born out the vision of the two great visionaries of all times, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“CTSA is a unique institution in the sense that it not only has a transnational character but an institution that is engaged in the preservation and development of Tibetan history and culture,” Sibal said.
The minister urged that in the years to come, “schools generally and CTSA schools more particularly should not only be institutions of learning, but must also provide an individualised environment where a student learns the simple techniques of goal setting, planning, dealing with difficult situations in life.”
The Dalai Lama in his remarks stressed on the oneness of humanity and the need for modern education to promote kindness and compassion.
“We are biologically equipped to be kind and compassionate by our mother’s care, which owes nothing to religion or education, but education can strengthen these values within us,” the 77-year-old Tibetan leader said. “Unfortunately, sometimes modern education pays more attention to the secondary differences between us, rather than the uniting common factors.”
The Dalai Lama described the Golden Jubilee of the CTSA as a “special moment” that brought to mind discussions he had with Pandit Nehru soon after arriving in to exile, during which the late prime minister remarked “the best way to keep the Tibet issue alive was to educate our children.”
“Pandit Nehru, who was a highly educated person himself showed deep concern for the Tibetan people and particularly the welfare of their children,” His Holiness said.
“There was discussion about what the medium of instruction should be, whether it should be Hindi or English. Nehru recommended English because it is an international language. After lunch he insisted that we announce the formation of the CTSA. Now, 52 years later, this organisation is still looking after our schools.”
Off late, talks have been going on between the exile Tibetan administration and the Indian government for a hand-over of all Tibetan schools currently being managed by the CTSA to the Education Department of CTA.