DHARAMSHALA: Thousands of Tibetans, Indians, and foreigners gathered at the Tsuglagkhang courtyard today to celebrate the official 83rd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The chief guest at the celebration was Shri Kishan Kapoor, Minister of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Himachal Pradesh, while Shri Gopal Narayan Singh, MP, Rajya Sabha; and Shri Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, MP Lok Sabha, were the two special guests.
The official statement of the Kashag was delivered by Officiating President Kalon Dr Pema Yangchen and the official statement of the Tibetan Parliament was delivered by Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel.
Addressing the gathering, Shri Kishan Kapoor, spoke briefly about His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s life in Tibet before coming into exile. “In 1959, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was forced to come into exile after the brutal occupation of Tibet by Chinese communist forces. After coming into exile, he has resided in Himachal Pradesh. Since then, Himachal Pradesh has progressed with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Therefore, the entire Himachal Pradesh consider him as part of the family,” he said.
He described His Holiness as a visionary who has warned of a water crisis which is increasingly becoming a reality these days.” Dharamshala as well as Shimla is facing a severe water shortage. The same is happening in many parts of the world. This was something that His Holiness has talked about many years ago. So we should heed His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s words,” he noted.
He also expressed certainty that the Tibet issue will be resolved soon and added that India will play a key role in the fruition of that goal.
Shri Janardhan Singh Sigriwal spoke about India’s continued support for Tibet and the Tibetan people. Since the days of Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Patel, Ram Manohar Lohia, India has raised its voice for the Tibetan people. The Indian parliament in particular has always supported Tibet. When His Holiness the Dalai Lama proposed the five point peace plan, the Indian parliament strongly supported it.
He said that India has led global efforts to help preserve Tibet’s distinct religion and culture from Chinese destruction. He has also said that the Indian parliament has supported the resumption of Sino-Tibetan dialogue and encourages a democracy in Tibet as well as in the Tibetan community in exile.
Since the Parliamentarian hails from Bihar, he invoked the Tibetan people’s dharmic links to Bodh Gaya and invited Tibetans to visit the Bihar Museum and Vaishali. He said the world stands with Tibet and the Tibet issue will be resolved soon.
Shri Gopal Narayan Singh said that India considers the Tibetan people and Buddhism as one of their own, and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has earned the respect and admiration of the world through his messages of peace and love.
“Despite the brutal occupation of Tibet, the Tibetan people has preserved its unique culture and religion in exile. Before 1959, Tibetans had their own government. Even after coming into exile, they have retained their administration and it is looking after the Tibetan people which is remarkable,” he said. I pray that you retain your determination and passion till the day you achieve your goal, he added.
The function also saw the release of two books published by China desk of Department of Information and International Relations, one book published by OOT Brussels, and the release of a new DVD album by Himachali folk singer Sunil Rana. Ten Tibetan civil servants and one distinctive staff were also awarded at the function along with cultural performances by students of Tibetans schools and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
The function was followed by lunch organised by the Tibetan settlement office, Mcleod Ganj.