Dharamshala: - "India is the epitome of unity in diversity," the political leader of the Tibetan people, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said, adding that "this unity in diversity is the beauty and the strength of India."
Dr Sangay who is the head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Tuesday, January 13, 2015 addressed the 5th annual national conclave of Indian student parliament at Pune in Maharashtra.
During his address on the topic 'Religion in Storm or Storm in Religion', Dr Sangay touched on several themes including 'Religion to Religiosity to Religionism', 'Originality to Communism to fundamentalism', 'Inclusive to Exclusive to Exploitative to sometimes explosive', and 'Secularism', according to the CTA media 'Tibetnet'.
Sikyong explained that the original teaching of all religions is all-inclusive enveloping humans, animals and the natural environment. It is all about love, compassion, respect and tolerance.
However, he said, when a community is formed around a religion, it gives religion a societal dimension. "At this point, separation starts between communities in identity, in interest and in mindset leading to formation of nations such as the Hindu nation, Muslim nation, Christian nation etc," Sikyong said.
"This portends to formation of civilizations in terms of religion. Therefore, we have to distinguish between religion, religiosity and religionism," he added.
Speaking on Secularism, he said that the greatest strength of India is its spiritual soft power of being a deeply secular country comprising of diverse religious traditions. "India is the abode of 9 spiritual traditions of which 4 originated in India itself," Sikyong said.
"In the true sense of the word, India is the epitome of unity in diversity. This unity in diversity is the beauty of India," he said, adding that "it's the pride of India and the strength of India."
Sikyong also asserted that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the living example of India's rich ancient knowledge that has been preserved and enriched by the Tibetans who call themselves the 'Chelas' and India their 'Guru'.
Summing up, Sikyong urged the students to practice religion but to be careful of religiosity and to stay away from religionism. He also eloquently quoted Mahatma Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Rabindranath Tagore, Karl Marx, Samuel Huntington, and Max Weber among others to elucidate his case made during the address.
Sikyong's address was followed by a thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the over 10,000 students attending the national conclave.
Sikyong also met, on the sidelines of the conclave, Mr Natwar Singh, former Indian External Affairs Minister, Mr Brij Behari Lal Butail, Speaker of the HP Legislative Assembly, Mr Haribhau Bagade, Speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and Mr Anna Hazare, prominent social activist.
Dr Sangay also attended the closing ceremony of the three-day conclave and addressed the gathering. MP Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Maharashtra Chief Minister Shri Devendra Fadnavis were also present on the dais along with other Indian dignitaries.