The 21st century, unlike the 20th century which was a “century of violence”, should become a century of peace and dialogue, said the Dalai Lama, who arrived here on Saturday on a 12-day visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh amid loud protests by China. “Unlike the 20th century, which was one of violence in which over 200 million people were killed, let the 21st century be one of peace, in which every man-made problem should be settled though dialogue. I particularly make this appeal to the younger generation to whom this century belongs, and whose responsibility it is to make this century one of peace,” the Tibetan spiritual leader said.
The Dalai Lama also recalled his escape from Tibet way back in 1959, described how he was received by Indian officials on the border in the Kameng sector of present-day Arunachal Pradesh, and how he continued to remain as the “longest guest” of India. “First I came to India in 1956 to attend a religious function, and then in 1959 as a refugee. Since then I have been in India, as the longest guest of the Indian government,” he said. He was speaking at a function to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of The Assam Tribune group of newspapers here.
He gave a vivid description of how he was waiting at the border in 1959 for a message from the Indian side until he was informed that India was ready to receive him. “Then, when I received a message from Indian officials that India was ready to receive me, I came down, to continue to stay in India. Every time I visit these areas, the Tawang area, it is very emotional for me. I see a place where I had enjoyed freedom for the first time,” the Dalai Lama said.
The Dalai Lama, however, preferred to remain mum on China’s renewed objection to his visit to Arunachal Pradesh. The anti-talk faction of ULFA – whose leader Paresh Barua is said to be holed up near the China border in Myanmar – on the other hand had asked the Dalai Lama not to make any remarks against China during his visit to the region.
He is attending a couple of more functions in Guwahati on Sunday and deliver a talk in Dibrugarh on Monday before embarking on a nine-day tour of Arunachal Pradesh. While he will consecrate a temple at Lumla on the India-China-Bhutan tri-juncture on April 4, he will take part in a series of religious discourses in Tawang, Dirang, Bomdila and Itanagar before returning to Himachal Pradesh on April 12.