India and Tibet share the relation of guru (teacher) and shishya (disciple) and that spirit continues till today, said The Dalai Lama on Saturday. Addressing the ‘Thank You India’ event to mark the completion of 60 years of his arrival to India, the Buddhist spiritual leader said when he first reached India in 1959, he felt that the two countries shared the relationship of guru and shishya (teacher and disciple). The year-long event was planned by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) established in Himachal Pradesh.
The Dalai Lama, who was joined by Union Minister Mahesh Sharma and BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, said, “Tibetans have faced problems but have preserved their cultural traditions. We have lived with a lot of self-confidence and holding values of humanity and brotherhood.”
Meanwhile, Mahesh Sharma echoed the Dalai Lama’s sentiments and said India supports the spiritual leaders struggle to return to Tibet. “When it’s issue of relations between India and Tibet, there is no need for a thank you. This is an emotional moment, the word refugee is painful, you are our friends and guests in India.” Ram Madhav thanked Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for giving refuge to Tibetans in India and said The Dalai Lama is not a refugee but a family member.
Expressing his gratitude towards India for accepting Tibetans fleeing their country in the late 50s, Prime Minister of Tibetan government-in-exile Lobsang Sangay said, “We are surviving because of India. Our relations with India dates back to hundreds of years not just past 60 years. India is guru (teacher) and Tibet a disciple. It’s duty to pay obeisance and touch the guru’s feet.”
The presence of Union Minister Mahesh Sharma in the event came despite the Modi government distancing itself from the event. The Centre had recently issued an advisory asking senior leaders and government functionaries to avoid attending functions organised by Tibetans in exile, citing the “sensitive” phase of Indo-China ties. This had led to some disappointment in the Tibetan community.