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Dalai Lama joins Indian-Tibetan friendship celebration

June 16, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
June 15, 2010

Dharamsala, June 15 -- Exiled Tibetan leader His
Holiness the Dalai Lama Tuesday attended a
celebratory function marking "fifty years of
friendship and understanding" among Indians and
Tibetans here in this north Indian hill town.

As part of the celebration Hindu priests
conducted a fire ritual (havan) and prayer
chanting ceremony in the presence of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama for his continued well-being and long life.

Senior officials of the Central Tibetan
Administration, members of the organising
committee of the event and hundreds of Tibetans,
Indians and visiting tourists participated in the
event held at the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag khang) here.

"We chanted and offered prayers for the
well-being and long life of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama. And also in our puja we offered
prayers for the happiness, success and well-being
of Tibetans here and all over the world," said
Swami Ananda Ji, the leader of the priests.

The day-long event, which also included offering
free community meal in traditional Indian style
to the public, was organised by six organisations
representing the Indian community of McLeod Ganj, also called Upper Dharamsala.

Meal was also offered to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama and, officials of the Central Tibetan
Administration (CTA) and Indian dignitaries at
the Tsuglagkhang (Main Tibetan Temple) courtyard here.

The event was jointly organised by Indo-Tibet
Friendship Society (ITFS), Hotel Association,
Beopar Mandal, Bagsu Taxi Union, Auto Union, and
Trekkers Association of McLeod Ganj.

In his opening speech, Mr Ajay Sing Mankotia,
President of ITFS, described the event as "a
celebration of 50 years of togetherness" for
Indians and Tibetans in Dharamsala and elsewhere in Himachal Pradesh and India.

"This celebration is an expression of gratitude
to His Holiness the Dalai lama and to show that
that we are blessed by his presence here," Mr Mankotia said.

Mr Mankotia said Dalai Lama’s guidance and
blessing enabled people from both the communities
to live and prosper together in harmony and peacefully for the last 50 years.

"Your Holiness’ presence here for the last 50
years has not only helped us to grow together,
but also helped Dharamsala to prosper
spiritually. This has given Dharamsala the sanctity it enjoys now," he said.

The exiled Tibetan leader thanked the organisers
and the people of the town for the puja and the event.

In his speech, the Dalai Lama reminded the
Tibetans to continue to preserve and uphold the
values that define the Tibetan people and their culture.

"In embracing modernity and progress, we must not
abandon the human values that has been so
preciously passed down on to us by our elder
generations. These values make up our unique culture," the Dalai Lama said.

"It is these spiritual values that are so
ingrained in our culture and in our way of life
that make us special and loved by the outside
world, and if we are to abandon these values,
then it will be a very disheartening situation," the Tibetan leader said.

The Dalai Lama has been living in McLeod Ganj, a
hill-top town in the northern Indian state of
Himachal Pradesh, since 1960, following Chinese
occupation of Tibet and a failed 1959 uprising
against the Chinese rule over it.

In April, Tibetan exiles organised a two-day
event here called "Thank You Himachal" to thank
the people and the government of the state on the
50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s arrival in Mcleod Ganj.

The Dalai Lama arrived here in April 1960, a year
after entering India, to shift from his temporary
base in Mussoorie in the present-day Uttarakhand
state. Since then Dharmsala has served as the
base for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

Little over 35,000 Tibetans live in Dharamsala
and 14 different Tibetan settlements across the hill state.
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