Dharamshala — Tibetans, locals and foreign tourists gathered at the main temple courtyard, in Dharamshala, India, on December 10, 2015, to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sarween Chaudhary, former minister and BJP MLA from Shahpur, was the chief guest. Other dignitaries included Dr Lobsang Sangay Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-Exile Penpa Tsering, chief justice commissioner of the CTA Kargyu Dhondup, and other senior Tibetan officials.
Describing His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the Messenger of Peace, Chaudhary said His Holiness the Dalai Lama kept alive the struggle for Tibet and the conferment of the Nobel prize on the Dalai Lama in 1989 was a victory of the peaceful approach of the Tibetans in resolving the Tibet issue.
"His Holiness exerted constant efforts to maintain peace and harmony even in the face of extreme adversity caused by Chinese brutalities in Tibet. It is due to this peaceful spirit of reconciliation that Tibet enjoys the fervent support of India and the whole world," Chaudhary said.
In his statement to mark the day, Sikyong said Holiness the Dalai Lama advocates nonviolence and dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet, interfaith harmony, human values and environment. For these extraordinary contributions, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him in 1989.
Sikyong recalled that this year – 2015 – was being celebrated by Tibetan people and the CTA as the year His Holiness the Dalai Lama attained eighty-years of age. He said that the contribution which His Holiness the Dalai Lama made to the political cause of Tibet and the revival of Tibetan culture outside Tibet will forever be etched in the memories of the Tibetan people and in history.
"The Middle Way Approach (MWA) seeks for a genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within the framework of the Chinese constitution. The Chinese government always allege that Tibetans aim to split the nation, which is why we have taken into consideration not to challenge the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China," Sikyong explained, adding that this proposal is as reasonable and moderate as one can get to resolve the issue.
"The Chinese government's white paper claims a 'golden age for Tibet' but in reality, neither economic benefit nor basic freedom is granted to the Tibetan people," he said, adding that "Tibetan people continue to suffer political repression, economic marginalization, social discrimination, cultural assimilation and environmental destruction under China's authoritarian rule."
Calling His Holiness as the champion of world peace, Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Penpa Tsering in his speech said, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has shouldered hundred-fold hardships, traveling repeatedly to many places in countries both in the East and West to bring peace and happiness to the world.
Mr Tsering quoted a recent remark by His Holiness on MWA to elucidate his point. "Today you have told me that you follow the Middle Way Policy with a genuine sense of commitment and belief in it and that there is no change in your stand.
This had made me feel enormously happy. The Dalai Lama is a person with concern about Tibet. He will think only about what is beneficial to Tibet. He has shouldered responsibility as the temporal head and spiritual leader of Tibet for nearly 60 years.
Today, when I have reached 80 years of age and am in retirement and am being told that what I had done was improper, sometimes I feel a little disappointed. I have worked with a genuine sense of commitment. If instead of being thanked I am now told that there has been a shortcoming on my part, I feel upset. Do you understand?
Hence, being told that you are wholeheartedly committed to the approach that we have adopted as our fundamental stand and are working diligently for it has made me feel very happy. I want to express my thanks to you for it."
The Speaker stressed that "His Holiness himself felt driven to express such a feeling of disappointment in his speech is a cause of unbearable concern in our hearts." He urged his fellow Tibetans, to show concern for the greater good of the collective merits of the Tibetan public in general on the basis of the approach of "no mistakes, no regret".
Mr Ram Swaroop from the Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association, in his speech, applauded the contributions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to bring peace in the world and for affirming brotherhood among diverse peoples.
The Department of Information and International Relations of the CTA released a book entitled "The Panchen lama Lineage: How Reincarnation is being Reinvented as a Political Tool". The colorful cultural performances by local Indian and Tibetan dance troupes, marked conclusion of the official ceremony.