If the spiritual leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, thought he would get some traction on account of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which has traditionally been tilted in favour of more rights to Tibetans, he was mistaken.
Reacting to the detention of Tibetans by the police following their protest against President Xi Jinping’s visit, the Dalai Lama said, “Tibetans are law-abiding citizens. But the rest is up to the government of India.”
The winner of a Nobel Peace Prize and revered by Tibetans all over the world, he conceded that Xi was “open-minded” and “realistic”. But he added, Sino-Indian relations (built) on the basis of mutual trust are very important.
“Not only Asia, the entire world can benefit from their (good) relations. Harmony can be brought by trust and not fear. I have faith in the new leadership. He (Xi) is open-minded and his way of working is quite realistic,” the 79-year-old Buddhist monk said, while addressing a gathering in Mumbai to mark the 108th Foundation Day of Indian Merchants’ Chamber and its ladies’ wing.
He said Xi should take lessons from “strong” Indian democratic practices and the “oneness” in diversity. “India is a vast country with a huge population. Different parts of the country speak different languages, yet there is a sense of oneness among Indians. Democracy is practised strongly in the country and there is a free media. The Chinese president should learn these values from Indians,” he said.
On the contentious border issue, he said it should be resolved through understanding and not by use of force. “Tibet’s problem is also India’s problem. Before 1950, there was not a single soldier on the northern border and it (the border) was peaceful. Sooner or later, you have to solve the problem, not by force but by understanding. And, understanding comes through talks,” he said.
The Dalai Lama flayed massacres by ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria, saying it was “shocking” to see believers of Islam killing innocent people.
“A genuine practitioner of Islam will never indulge in bloodshed. Jihad is not about harming others. It is about killing one’s negative emotions. It is shocking that the believers of Allah are mercilessly killing innocent people in Iraq,” he said.
A Muslim should extend love to all creations of Allah and a genuine practitioner of the faith must be compassionate towards fellow human beings, he said. Too much attachment towards your own faith is a biased mental attitude that causes anger and violence, he said.
Praising India’s religious accord, he said, “India’s real treasure is its 3,000-year-old religious harmony. The Shia community feels much safer in India than in Pakistan.”