The Chief Representative of South Zone, Bangalore, Mr. Tashi Phuntsok, while welcoming the guests said, "As we are observing our 51st Democracy Day and recall the momentous efforts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in eventually leading us to the challenging democratic reform of devolving his temporal powers to the elected leadership, we must also in all humility remember the individuals and organizations - not to mention the Government and people of India - who have been behind the growth and development of the robust democratic Tibetan community in India. To reflect this sentiment, particularly in South India, and to record our gratitude we have made the special efforts of inviting Mr. Rajashekaran today."
Mr. Rajashekaran, besides being the former Union Minister of State and MLC, is son-in-law and one of the eldest surviving members of S. Nijalinappa, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka during whose time Tibetans received rehabilitation in the erstwhile Mysore state, now Karnataka. As the President of National Nijalingappa Memorial Foundation, Mr. Rajashekaran invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to inaugurate the Nijalingappa's memorial in Chitradurga in January.
Mr. Rajashekaran, in his key note address recalled his association with Tibetans from the time he was nominated as the first Chairman of MYRADA (Mysore Rehabilitation and Development Agency) in 1968, when it was founded by Mr. C. Brouwer at the patronage of Prince Bernard of the Netherlands. Since 1969 MYRADA has successfully completed the Tibetan settlement projects of Dickey Larso in Bylakuppe, Rabgyaling in Gururpura and Dhondenling in Kollegal.
He said by helping Tibetans in Karnataka, "...to walk hand in hand shoulder to shoulder with people of Karnataka is not only for the benefit of the Tibetan, but also for the people of Karnataka in bringing harmony in the state and indeed for whole world for spreading the message of peace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama."
In his nostalgic and sometimes eminently humble address, he quoted at length the message of peace and universal brotherhood of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He also recalled His Holiness' statement in January in Chitradurga that Pandit Nehru and Sh. Nijalingappa are the two Indian leaders to whom the Tibetan should be most grateful to. He narrated numerous instances of close and cordial relationship of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and late Nijalingappa.
Chitue Gyaru Bhutuk la drew the attention of Mr. Rajashekaran about the gratitude of Tibetans to late Nijalingappa. He went to explain to the audience the growth of Tibetan democracy in exile. He further explained at great length the recent changes that have taken place in Tibetan democracy.
Whilst RTYC arranged some events for fund raising after the function, in the afternoon a spirited basketball game was held between the Tibetan students and the staff of various offices and institutions in Bangalore. Thought the staff were routed badly they were encouraged that the margin was not as massive as in the past and were found to be strategising as to how they should redeem in future!
The celebrations were coordinated by the Office of Chief Representatives while the arrangement of venue et al was taken care of by TCV Youth Hostel, incense burning ceremony by local Sweater Sellers Association and the refreshment and lunch to all invitees and public hosted by RTYC.