By Tenzin Dharpo
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, Mar. 31: The Central Tibetan Administration’s ‘thank you India’ event was held here today in the presence of a contingent of Indian politicians; a Union Minister, a General Secretary of the ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party, two Legislators and a State Minister, along with the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and exile Tibetan polity’s big wigs. The day marks 60 years since the 25 year old Dalai Lama set foot on Indian soil at Chuthangmo in present day Arunachal Pradesh.
The much talked about snub by New Delhi towards CTA’s grand gesture in thanking the Indian government was put on the back burner and the day’s proceeding termed by some as being “low key” and “low profile”.
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Union Minister for Culture, Mahesh Sharma was careful in not stepping over any undue line during his speech, speaking mainly about the “spiritual and cultural” ties between Tibet and India and Tibetans who have been exiled here for the last six decades are but “honored guests” in his country.
His fellow party member and BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav likened Tibetans and Indians to be “spiritual cousins”, and that, while India’s acknowledgment of the “One China Policy” may not change, Tibetan refugees are welcome in the country. Both the men from the ruling party’s elite said they “hope(d)” Tibetans will soon return to their motherland.
The Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay said, “Today is not about how big the event is or who is here or not, but today is a day of celebration and today is a day to say thank you to the incredible India”.
His administration’s plans to host commemorative events 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 and downscaled after New Delhi issued an official directive among its ranks not to attend such events.
The CTA was to hold two 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.
The 82-year-old Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama said Tibetans coming into exile have positive outcomes with the diaspora now in a position to contribute to the world through age-old Nalanda traditions that are kept intact by his people.
Speaking on the relation between India and China, he said, everyone wants “hindi-chini-bjai bhai”, a slogan that espouses friendship and brotherhood between the two of Asia’s most populated and foremost nations. The Dalai Lama who is known to refrain from causing unnecessary friction between China and any third country said peace between the two nations is in everyone’s interest.