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Dalai Lama congratulates new Indian President-Elect Draupadi Murmu

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President-elect of India Draupadi Murmu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, July 21: In a historic first, a tribal woman Draupadi Murmu has been elected as the new President of India on Thursday. The exiled leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has written to Shrimati Murmu to congratulate her. “You are assuming this august position at a time when the international community is becoming ever more aware of the importance of India, which has much to contribute to the peace and development of the world,” the octogenarian leader wrote.

The Buddhist leader further thanked the Indian government for their unparalleled support to the Tibetan struggle, “As you may be aware, the Tibetan people and I have been honoured to receive the unparalleled support of the Government and people of India in our endeavour to protect and preserve our identity, including our ancient Buddhist culture. I would like to take this opportunity once again to express our deep gratitude through you, to the Government and the people of India, for the warm hospitality we have been granted for more than six decades.”

By invoking India’s long legacy of compassion and the principle of Mahatma Gandhi, he said that India “has the potential to engender peace within individuals and the world at large.” “I often describe myself as a son of India because my entire way of thinking has been shaped by the Buddhist training I have received. As you may know, Tibetan Buddhist culture is firmly rooted in the traditions of reasoning and analysis developed by the scholar-adepts of Nalanda University,” the Nobel laureate said, highlighting one of his latest life commitments to revive awareness of the value of ancient Indian knowledge.

The highest spiritual leader of Tibet who resides at the foothills of the Dhauladhar range said that India is the best of both worlds. “[Modern education] needs to be balanced by creating greater awareness and interest in ancient Indian knowledge of the workings of the mind and emotions. . . In this respect, India is best placed to combine the two,” he further remarked.

Late Thursday evening, after the third round of vote counting in the Presidential polls, NDA candidate Murmu crossed 50 percent mark securing her win in the presidential battle against opposition nominee Yashwant Sinha by a huge margin. Murmu, 64, is the first Adivasi or tribal and second woman to become the nation’s First Citizen and the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces. 

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