CHENNAI, India, 16 July 2020
When China occupied Tibet and massacred thousands of innocent Tibetans in the early 1950s, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had to flee Tibet and he came to India as a refugee.
Now, the Dalai Lama has completed 85 years of life, of which around 60 years have been spent in India.
He has been preaching love, harmony and peace for several decades, and was honoured with the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
Certainly, India is benefited by his presence, as he symbolizes the qualities of compassion and hatred for none. Many Indians have been inspired by his thoughts and speeches and consider him as an embodiment of culture.
The Dalai Lama now remains as the highest Buddhist leader in the world.
What is particularly noteworthy is that in spite of the great harm that China has done to Tibet, and the abuses that China has been hurling at the Dalai Lama for several decades, he has not spoken severely against China at any time. It is remarkable that the Dalai Lama does not consider even China as his enemy, in spite of its unethical and aggressive behavior. This is a unique quality that a person should possess to be hailed as a world leader par excellence.
While India has given refugee status to the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, and the Dalai Lama has strictly remained without indulging in political activities as directed by the Government of India, it is not known that Government of India has acknowledged this aspect of the Dalai Lama’s stay in India for several decades now.
It is high time that India should suitably honour His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 85th birth anniversary, as he has enriched India with his noble thoughts and advocacies for harmony, by touring all over India and delivering lectures advocating peace and love, just as several other great Indian philosophers have done in the past.
The Dalai Lama has clearly said on several occasions in recent times that he is no more interested in political activities, and he is dedicated to the cause of universal brotherhood. One can say with confidence that the Dalai Lama is now the conscience-keeper of the world, as he is one of the very few leaders in the world who has been stressing the need for amity and good will between everyone, by remaining as role model for world civilization.
While several countries have honoured the Dalai Lama for his contribution to the promotion of world harmony, and the Nobel prize has been awarded to him, it is conspicuous that India has not honoured him in a suitable manner so far, in spite of the fact that he spent most of his lifetime in India.
India made a great mistake in early 1950s, when India approved the occupation of Tibet by China and did not object in any meaningful way to the massacre of thousands of innocent protesters in Tibet by the Chinese army. With the Dalai Lama now in the ripe age of 85 years, India should clear its conscience for its unethical approval of China’s occupation of Tibet, by conferring on him the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
This is most appropriate to do, since it was Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, who kept silent for whatever reasons, when China occupied Tibet and the Dalai Lama had to flee to India.
Jawaharlal Nehru was a peace-loving man, and he would certainly be happy, wherever he is now, that the mistake done by him would be corrected by conferring the award that was named after him to the Dalai Lama, the apostle of peace.
About the author
NS Venkataraman is a chemical engineer as well as a social activist in Chennai, India. He is the founder trustee of Nandini Voice for the Deprived, a Chennai-based not-for-profit organisation serving the cause of the deprived and down-trodden, and working for probity in public life.
More articles by NS Venkataraman on Tibet Sun.