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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

India must stand by Dalai Lama

July 8, 2010

Claude Arpi
The Pioneer (India)
July 6, 2010

The Dalai Lama, who turns 75 today, is fond of
describing himself as a ‘son of India’. He is
proud to keep alive the Nalanda Buddhist
tradition. And he happily admits that he is
partial to Indian rice and dal. The Dalai Lama
has never failed to stand by India, which has
sheltered him and his followers, at moments of
crisis. Nor has he endorsed China’s line on Arunachal Pradesh

This Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of
Tibet turns 75 today, July 6. He has spent
exactly two-thirds of his present reincarnation in India.

What an incredible destiny for the boy born at
Taktser, a small hamlet of Amdo province in
north-eastern Tibet. At the age of four, he was
recognised as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai
Lama who ruled over the Roof of the World between
1895 and 1933. For the Tibetans, the living
incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, had again returned.

For the past 50 years, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize
laureate has always shown the greatest
consideration for the land which gave him refuge.
Recently he explained, "I describe myself as a
son of India, because my thoughts come from the
Nalanda Buddhist tradition and this body has
lived on Indian dal, rice and chapatis during the
last 51 years. So, physically also, I am a son of
India. Sometimes, it irritates the Chinese officials. What to do?”

It indeed deeply upsets the Chinese when he says,
"All our concepts and way of thinking comes from
the Nalanda masters. Therefore, we are the chelas
and Indians are our gurus. I also often say that
we are reliable chelas, because after the 8th
century, the Nalanda tradition was established in
Tibet. Over thousand years, we have kept intact
the Nalanda tradition. It means that we are reliable chelas.”

The Chinese have difficulty in accepting that
some wisdom could have come from India, even if
it is 1,200 years ago. Several articles in The
People’s Daily and other official publications
have questioned the Dalai Lama’s claim to be a
‘son of India’. One Chinese commentator wrote,
“The Dalai Lama pleases his Indian masters not
only by showing his willingness to be a ‘son of
India’, but also by effacing the originality of
the Tibetan culture. The Dalai Lama uses such
words to dwarf the rich Tibetan culture with
distinctive local characteristics. He could not be more subservient.”

The Dalai Lama’s ‘Indian connection’ seems to
disturb Beijing so much that its arguments
sometimes lose their Cartesianism. They can’t
understand how someone can at the same time be a
‘son of India’ and the representative of Tibetan
culture. "The more absurd thing is that the Dalai
Lama often considers himself a ‘son of India’ and
India as cultural guru,” wrote a commentator. The
Chinese probably believe that only they can be
the true spokespersons for Tibetan culture. As
the Dalai Lama says, “What to do?”

The Chinese should grant one thing to the Dalai
Lama: He never answers to insults by insults
(perhaps because he is a true son of India!).
Once, he told this writer about a former French
President who had not been very nice to him. He
said, "It is his problem, not mine. Why should I
be upset about it?” He must have reacted likewise
to Mr Zhang Qingli, the CCP boss in Tibet who
accused him of being “a wolf in monk’s robes, a
monster with a human face but the heart of a beast.”

I have a strong feeling that through these
attacks on the Dalai Lama, it is India which is
being targeted. Beijing has some difficulty in
digesting the fact the Dalai Lama not only
represents the deepest values of Indian culture,
but has also always sided with India in times of difficulty.

The conclusion of the earlier-quoted Chinese
article betrays the motivations of the Middle
Kingdom’s officials: "Furthermore, will a guy who
betrayed southern Tibet to India really care
about the well-being of the Tibetan people?" They
refer to the Dalai Lama’s support for the Indian
stand in the border row with Beijing and his
acceptance of the Indian position on the McMahon
Line and Arunachal Pradesh (which the Chinese call ‘southern Tibet’).

Strangely, the Party bosses seem nervous. They
can only repeat that they will never let their
grip loosen on the Land of Snows. Last week, Mr
Hao Peng, the Deputy Communist Party Secretary of
the Tibetan Autonomous Region, targeted the
"anti-Chinese" forces led by the Dalai Lama “and
his clique” as the main threat to peace and stability in the region.

Just before the Olympic Games, Tibet party chief
Zhang Qingli had been more explicit: "Tibet’s sky
will never change and the red flag with five
stars will forever flutter high above it" I will
certainly be able to totally smash the splittist schemes of the Dalai clique."

Mr Hao told visiting journalists: "We have the
ability and confidence to maintain stability in
Tibet forever, and we will ultimately achieve
long-term order and stability." However, he had
to admit, "What you see in the streets, including
the police and other legal forces, are necessary
measures to maintain stability.”

Asked about his position on the unsuccessful
talks between Dharamsala and Beijing, Mr Hao
said: "The core of this policy is for the Dalai
Lama to abandon Tibet’s independence, stop
separatist activities, and acknowledge that Tibet
is an inalienable part of China. If he does this
then the door to talks is always open.”

But the Dalai Lama has long ago renounced Tibetan
independence. In his address to the European
Parliament in Strasbourg in 1988, he explained
that genuine autonomy for Tibet would be
acceptable to him. From that day, he has dropped
his claim to ‘Free Tibet’, just pleading for a
solution within the Chinese constitutional provisions.

No doubt Beijing is today in a position of force:
The leadership believes that time is on its side;
it bets on the fact that the Dalai Lama is not
here forever (though he is presently in perfect
health). In Delhi, one often hears comments that
India should drop the ‘Dalai Lama card’; that
this gesture from India would greatly help in
improving India’s relations with China. Nothing
is further from the truth, morally and politically.

Morally, India and Tibet are linked by the fact
that Tibetan Buddhism has, as mentioned by the
Dalai Lama, its origin in the great viharas of
north India and the teachings of Gautam Buddha.
Politically, were India to drop the ‘Tibet card’,
its stand on the border issue would be
tremendously weakened. If China manages to bend
the only other aspirant superpower in Asia, it
would have a free hand to dictate more terms to India.

Some 25 years ago in a letter to the Government
of India, the Dalai Lama gave two reasons why the
Chinese Communist regime is so keen to destroy
all trace of Buddhism in Tibet: "As the source of
the Buddha dharma the Tibetan people have a very
strong sense of affinity with India. The Chinese
claim that the Buddhism which flourished in Tibet
is a branch of Chinese Buddhism is ridiculous.
Second, like in Poland, religion has become synonymous with nationalism.”

The Tibetan leader continued, "If the Chinese
pursue their true intentions effectively India
may one day have across its Himalayan border a
Tibetan population owing full allegiance to the
Chinese. This will have serious consequences for India."

India has always believed in justice, peace and
non-violence. Ultimately, to support the Dalai
Lama in getting genuine autonomy would be good
not only for India and Tibet, but also for China
which needs deeper values for its society. Thirty
years after Deng Xiaoping stated that “getting
rich is glorious”, economic differences have
never been so huge between the rich and the poor
in the Middle Kingdom and the tension never so
high between the different ‘minorities’.

The Dalai Lama is perhaps the only person who
could help the Chinese leadership to fulfil its
dream to build a harmonious society. As for
India, the Tibetan leader has blessed the nation
by his presence for more than 50 years. India should support his just cause.

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