By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 6 July 2021
Tibetans around the world marked the 86th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but without the usual pomp and pageantry due to the Coronavirus restrictions.
At the heart of the Tibetan Diaspora in Dharamshala, a modest official ceremony was held following Covid protocols.
The main attraction of the event was a video message from the Dalai Lama himself, urging people to live an honest life, and practice karuna (compassion) and ahinsa (non-violence).
“For myself, I can assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to serving humanity and working to protect the climate condition,” he said in the video message.
Sikyong (political leader of the Tibetans-in-exile) Penpa Tsering addressed the gathering, saying that the Dalai Lama is one of the foremost guides of our time and is one of the few individuals who can reorient Sino-Tibetan history toward a positive direction.
“The Chinese government should therefore recognize that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the key to resolving the Sino-Tibetan conflict. It should utilize the opportunity offered by the mutually-beneficial Middle-Way Approach to foster a harmonious environment where Tibetans and Chinese can co-exist amicably,” Tsering said.
“Therefore, we appeal to the Chinese government to earnestly invite His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and China on pilgrimage without any preconditions.”
Tsering expressed the hope that the Dalai Lama will live long, and that the Middle-Way Approach proposed by the Dalai Lama will bear fruit, and the Tibetan issue would be resolved in the future.
“As per the aspirations of the living and will of the dying, may His Holiness the Dalai Lama be able to visit Tibet as soon as possible. May the Sino-Tibet conflict be resolved as early as possible, which will pave the way for the Tibetans inside and outside Tibet to reunite at the earliest,” Tsering said.
On the occasion, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few other politicians, including several chief ministers of various states, wished the Dalai Lama a happy birthday.
Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Hardeep Singh Puri, and Dharmendra Pradhan extended their greetings to the Dalai Lama.
Chief Ministers who greeted the Dalai Lama on his birthday were Arvind Kejriwal from Delhi, Pema Khandu from Arunachal Pradesh, Prem Singh Tamang from Sikkim, Pamod Sawant from Goa, Conrad Sangma from Meghalaya, Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Madhya Pradesh, and Captain Amarinder Singh from Punjab.
President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen has also wished the Dalai Lama on his birthday, while Chargé d’Affaires of the US embassy in India Atul Keshap, and US Ambassadors to Nepal Randy Berry, are among other foreign diplomats to have greeted the Dalai Lama.
Various other events were also organised to mark the 86th birthday apart from the official function in Dharamshala. Tibetan NGOs organised a prayer session at Lhagyal-ri in the morning for Dalai Lama’s long life.
Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association organised an event with the children of the slum at Charan Khad, distributing food items.