By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov 19: The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama was conferred the 2019 Gandhi Mandela award by Himachal Pradesh’s Governor Rajendra Viswanath Arlekar on Saturday at the Tsuglakhang temple in McLeod Ganj. The Governor called the 87-year-old a “man of peace” and a “world citizen who is not restricted by any borders.”
The Gandhi Mandela Foundation said that the Nobel laureate was chosen among 500 candidates by a distinguished jury consisting of five former Chief Justices from three countries. The jury chose the Tibetan leader for his continued commitment towards advocating peace and harmony. As the Tibetan leader accepted the award, he reiterated the importance of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Karuna (compassion) which, he said, are intrinsically embedded in the ancient Indian culture. “Any problem cannot be solved by war but through dialogue and peace,” he further said.
The jury included Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Dipak Misra, and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra from India, along with Justice Kedarnath Upadhyay from Nepal and Justice Tafazzul Islam from Bangladesh. The event saw an audience of almost a thousand people gathered to felicitate the Dalai Lama with the prestigious award.
“Our culture has a sense of goodwill, compassion and love towards others and it has been running for thousands of years, which the Dalai Lama has done the work of taking forward,” the Chief Guest Arlekar told a packed audience, noting His Holiness’ commitment to spread awareness of the ancient knowledge from India. The Dalai Lama has expressed his admiration for M.K. Gandhi’s non-violent struggle in India against British colonialism and the work of Nelson Mandela during the civil rights movement in South Africa.
The trust conferred a medal of six carat gold with a diameter of 100 mm, which weighs around 350 gm to the Tibetan leader on Saturday morning. The foundation aims to strengthen a movement that espouses the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela in the interest of global peace and freedom and recognizes global leaders who inspire citizens for peace, unity and freedom.