Dharamsala, July 6: Around five thousand Tibetans and supporters today participated in the official celebrations of the 79th birthday of the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Tsuglakhang courtyard.
The exiled Tibetan leader who turned 79 today is currently in Ladakh for the 33rd Kalachakra initiations. An official public function was attended by top officials of the Tibetan government in Exile, including Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay, deputy speaker Sonam Tenphel, and officials of the Tibetan government in exile. The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa was also present along with the chief guest Sri G S Bali, Himachal Pradesh minister for Transport, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs.
The Tibetan PM Sangay said his government is observing the year 2014 as the “Year of the great 14th Dalai Lama” to express his appreciation of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s great accomplishments for the cause of Tibet and promotion of peace, inter-faith harmony and human values throughout the world.
A small girl eats ladoo (sweetened ball) to celebrate Dalai Lama's 79th birthday/Photo/Nakahara
Sangay reiterated his administration’s belief to resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue with the Chinese government. “It is our hope that the new Chinese leadership will soon realize the fact that the Middle Way Approach is a mutually beneficial solution to the Tibet problem,” Sangay said. “To this day, the Middle Way Approach continues to receive support from governments around the world and from the international community, including a growing number of Chinese citizens,” Sangay said.
Mr. G. S. Bali, on behalf of the people and Government of the Himachal State said, “We all wish His Holiness a long and healthy holy life. We are fortunate and blessed that His Holiness has chosen this state his second homeland”. Bali conveyed greetings from his Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on His Holiness’ birthday to PM Sangay by offering him a bouquet. A new volvo service between Chandigarh and Dharamshala was also announced on the occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's birthday.
Bali also said that the speculation about His Holiness shifting his residence out of Himachal is worrisome. "We will never let His Holiness leave this place", said Sri Bali.
On the occasion, Sri Bali announced a personal donation of hundred thousand rupees to children of TCV School.
For Tibetans the world over, the Dalai Lama’s birthday is one of the most important and auspicious occasions in a year and is normally marked by elaborate celebrations in traditional Tibetan way.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyatso, was born Lhamo Dhondub to a peasant family in a small village called Taktser in Amdo (Ch: Qinghai) Province, north-eastern Tibet on 6 July, 1935.
In 1950, the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949. In 1954, he went to Beijing for peace talks with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, including Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai.
In 1959, after an aborted uprising in Lhasa against the Communist Chinese rule, thousands of Tibetans followed the Dalai Lama into exile and re-established Tibetan Government in Exile in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala where he now resides.
From Dharamsala he travels extensively around the world and occasionally meets with world leaders to present the case of Tibet and, also to promote human values and religious harmony, describing them as the main commitments of his life.
The Dalai Lama advocates a "middle way approach" calling for a “real and meaningful” autonomy for Tibet within the framework of Chinese Constitution and an end to what he has said are widespread human rights violations against his people.
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his relentless non-violent movement for the peaceful resolution of Tibet's issue through dialogue with the Chinese leadership.