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Dalai Lama, Tibetan leadership condole the death of former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee

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The Dalai Lama and the late former President of India Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Dec 10 2016 (OHHDL)
The Dalai Lama and the late former President of India Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Dec 10 2016 (OHHDL)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 1: The former Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee passed away on Monday at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi. His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered his condolences to his son Abhijeet Mukherjee, “I am sorry to learn about your father’s passing away. I will remember him in my prayers and would like to offer my condolences to you and your family at this sad time.”

The Tibetan spiritual leader last met the former president in 2016 and previously had several meetings over the course of years in India. He lauded Pranab Mukherjee’s dedication to public service over many decades where he held many important ministerial positions, highlighting his term of presidency serving India in 2012. He concluded the letter saying, “We can rejoice that for 84 years he led a meaningful life.”

Condolences flooded the social media feed after the news of his demise surfaced. Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE), Pema Jungney also expressed his sadness over the death of the Indian politician. He wrote, “On behalf of Tibetans in and outside of Tibet, I would like to offer our deepest condolence to the people of India, the government of India and the family during this difficult time.” 

Speaker remarked how the former Bharat Ratna awardee had spent his political career with active participation throughout his life. He further commented that Pranab Mukherjee was the most genuine and liberal political leader who was supported equally by both political spectrums. 

Speaker further lauded his leadership, “He was a trustworthy leader and called for trust among the leaders across the political spectrum and was also known to be the consensus builder in the political spectrum. He played the key role in India’s growth story and evolution through the decades.” Politician Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi despite opposition from the Chinese government in 2016.

The President of the CTA Dr. Lobsang Sangay wrote, “One of India’s most remarkable and well-respected leader across all party lines, Sri Pranab Ji has served India with unflinching dedication in various significant positions in his political career that spanned over five decades.”

He added, “In 2016, the former President hosted His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Rashtrapati Bhawan along with other Nobel Peace Laureates despite strong opposition from the Chinese government.”

The demise came after he was admitted to the hospital for a blood clot in his brain on Aug 10 where he also tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital said that his health started deteriorating on Monday which resulted in his eventual death. The Indian public across the world mourned the former president’s death including PM Modi’s tweet which referred to him as a “towering statesman” who made an “indelible mark” on developing the nation.

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