Dharamshala: - Expressing their strong supports for the cause of freedom and justice for the people of Tibet, two Nobel peace laureates Friday joined thousands of Tibetans at the Tibetan main temple in Dharamshala to celebrate the 25th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Nobel Peace prize.
"I thank the two women Nobel laureates – Jody Williams of the US and Shirin Ebadi of Iran – for being trusted friends and their unwavering support for the just cause of Tibetans," the spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his address to the crowds as for festivity as part of the Year of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama event organised by the Central Tibetan Administration. The day was the occasion on Mahatma Gandhi's 145th birth anniversary.
Praising Mahatma Gandhi's messages of peace, non-violence and simple living in our daily lives, His Holiness said the best way to remember Mahatma Gandhi is to follow his messages of peace, non-violence and simple living in our daily lives.
The non-violence freedom struggle led by the Mahatma Gandhi was seen as an act of meek and ineffective during that time. Mahatma Gandhi’s legacies are very much relevant today as the whole world take inspiration from his principles of peace and non-violence," His Holiness added.
America’s civil rights champion Martin Luther King was also greatly inspired by Gandhi’s principles and way of living,' His Holiness said, adding: “Following the Gandhi’s way of living and principles will bring inner peace and contentment in our daily life”.
"Tibetans inside Tibet and in exile should know that we always support you," said Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, adding that the "non-violent struggle of Tibetans led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a model of peaceful conflict resolution."
"Our protest was not against our friends of the host country who had invited us, but it was a message of protest against China," she said, adding that it was message of protest against the government (South African) who sold their soul and sovereignty to China.
"We want China and countries that succumb to its pressure and restrict Dalai Lama's freedom of movement to hear that we firmly stand with His Holiness and Tibetans living in occupation and in exile," she said.
Expressing her sadness on not being able to go to South Africa, Williams said "tt would have been awesome to celebrate the legacy of 'Super Laureate' Nelson Mandela,"
Expressing admiration for the non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people to gain genuine autonomy through dialogue with China, Dr Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer who founded Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran said she cherishes the way Tibetans in exile have preserved their culture under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. "We need to preserve the language and culture of Tibet to keep Tibet alive," she said emphasising the role of culture and language in a freedom struggle.
"These are difficult days for you people living in exile. Fortunately, you have His Holiness who teaches peaceful resistance," she said, adding the respect she has for the Dalai Lama has grown after seeing his world and his people preserving their culture and tradition.
"A day is not very far when we will be celebrating today's occasion in Tibet in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And on that day you will see Tibet is alive because His Holiness has encouraged you to keep the culture alive," she added.
Urging China to respect rights of Tibetan and other ethnic minorities, Ebadi said violence was like a virus and it would be difficult for any government to continue with such virus. "I hope China will learn what I have learned from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and free Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison," she said.
She added: "The Chinese government should respect the rights of Tibetan and the ethnic minorities including Uyghur Muslims who have are leading a peaceful freedom struggle like Tibetans."
Shirin Ebadi said "the people of the world and Iran have learned a lot from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on how not to lose hope under difficult circumstances. I am sure non-democratic countries will learn from His Holiness and change their behavior."
Reiterating the 2014 as the "Year of His Holiness the Dalai Lama" to express deep gratitude to his remarkable achievements for the cause of Tibet, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said: "Today is a very special day for the Tibetans inside Tibet. Every day they look forward to good news about freedom as they suffer political and religious repression on daily basis. Your presence here sends a message of justice, truth and freedom to them, which will give them hope and inspiration."
'Mahatma Gandhi was one person who truly deserved Nobel Peace prize, but missed it, Sikyong said, adding: 'Given his contribution for non- violence and peace, he is the true Nobel Peace Laureate.'
The speaker of Tibetan Parliament in exile, Mr Penpa Tsering, urged Chinese president Xi Jinping to give freedom to Tibetans and other ethnic minorities in China. He also called on China to release imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.
"Give your people freedom and see how much people will love you and some day you could also be Nobel Peace laureate," The speaker added.
A colorful and diverse cultural programme presented by Students and Tibetan artists on the occasion, showcasing the rich and vibrant traditions of Tibet.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel prize in 1989, for his struggle for the liberation of Tibet by opposing violence and advocating peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.