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I call myself a son of India, says Dalai Lama

April 2, 2009

new kerala (India)
March 31, 2009

New Delhi, March 31 -- Calling himself a son of
India, the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the
Tibetan Buddhists, Tuesday praised the
'non-sectarian principles' of the country on the
50th anniversary of his escape from Tibet.

'The non-sectarian principles are very much alive
in this country. Fifty years ago, I came to India
as a 24-year-old homeless refugee and have been
greatly inspired since then by great leaders like
(first prime minister) Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,' he said.

'I call myself a son of India. Over the years
Tibetans have developed very close ties with the
country,' the Dalai Lama told a crowded press conference here.

He escaped from the Norbulingka Palace in Lhasa,
the capital of Tibet, during the night of March
17, 1959, after a failed uprising and the
collapse of the Tibetan national resistance
movement against the Chinese communist regime. He
reached India after a 14-day trek through the Himalayan mountains.

March 31 is observed by the Tibetans in exile as the 'National Uprising Day'.

'I personally think my life in India has been
very meaningful and I have gathered experience
from followers of other traditions like Hinduism,
Jainism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism,' said
the spiritual leader, who visited eight places of
worship in the capital Tuesday morning as part
his mission to spread communal harmony and secularism.

The Dalai Lama, who has been engaged in talks
with the Chinese government for an amicable
solution to the Tibetan refugee issue, said: 'It
is very difficult to say what will happen after
50 years between Tibet and China. But we
definitely have more support and solidarity from within the Chinese community.'

'Recently, I was in Poland and I found that the
feeling of solidarity in the European Union for
the Tibetan cause was very strong. We are not
seeking secession, but total autonomy,' the Dalai Lama said.

In the last round of negotiations, the Tibetan
government in exile, based in Dharamsala in
India, had been able to hand over a more detailed
memorandum to the Chinese government explaining
how to implement the new constitution it drafted
for an autonomous Tibet, said Samdhong Rinpoche,
prime minister of the Tibetan government in
exile, which is not recognised by any nation.

The Dalai Lama urged the media to investigate 'if
the situation in Tibet was as peaceful as the
Chinese government claimed or there was resentment'.

'Everyone - the European countries, Australia,
North America, Australia, Japan and New Zealand -
knows about our position, but the Chinese... It
is your responsibility to make it clear to your
government. Otherwise, your reportage is
meaningless,' he told a correspondent from China.

The Dalai Lama said Tibetans were looking at a
legitimate autonomy that would enable them to
live within the framework of the People's Republic of China.

After the 'crackdown' by the Chinese authorities
on Tibetan protesters in 2008, majority of the
Tibetans preferred a middle-way policy, he said.

'We are committed to ahimsa (non-violence) and
peaceful negotiations,' the Dalai Lama said.
alling back on the history of Tibet-China ties,
he said while signing the 17-point agreement,
former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai said autonomy was a reasonable demand.
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