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30april201047Dharamshala: The Central Tibetan Administration and government-in-exile organized a two day event in Dari Ground, near Dharamshala. The event which took place this morning was entitled "Thank You Himachal Pradesh", and marked the 50th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's arrival to Dharamshala, India, on the 13th April 1960. The event was held to express the Tibetan people's gratitude towards the Himachal people and their government

Present at the ceremony was the exiled Tibetan leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Professor Prem Kumar Dhumal, the honorable Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh; Professor Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile together with other senior Tibetan and Indian officials.

In His Holiness the Dalai Lama's key note speech he expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the consistent and ongoing aid and support received from the Himachal people over the last 50 years. "On behalf of 6 million Tibetan people, I thank the government and the people of Himachal Pradesh for providing sincere help and support for the exiled Tibetans." He observed that in comparison to other exiled communities around the world the Tibetans are more united and developed, and this could not have been achieved without the help of Indian central government as well as Himachal Pradesh. Moreover, the joint hard work of both the Tibetan and Indian people and their governments has enabled Tibetan settlements to exist and flourish throughout India.

Addressing the topic of the Tibetan struggle, His Holiness remarked, "We have been in exile for 50 years, which is not for the fight for freedom of one or two individuals, [Rather it is a fight for the freedom of all Tibetan people.] We are here to preserve our history, religion and culture, to attain freedom, and ensure the protection of Tibetan environment. We are also here to draw international attention to the issues and concerns of our people still living in Tibet."

30april201035His Holiness referred to the challenges faced by his people, but stressed that he felt the struggle was not in vain, and continual progress is being made. He highlighted the importance of non-violence, a concept which is also clearly present in ancient Indian culture. Indeed, "Non-violence in action is based on inner compassion and warm-heartedness. Respect for the rights and lives of others relinquish violence. Non-violence cannot come under conditions of suppression and fear." He concluded his speech by urging the Tibetans in exile to be cautious and humble in their behavior and to be friendly and respectful of the local people. He reminded Tibetans that since their youth, their positive habits and customs are derived from the core essences of Tibetan Buddhism; dependent origination and non-violence. As such, their behavior should emulate these fundamental principles. He emphasized the importance of the moral and ethical values evident in the foundations of their faith, and asserted that such principles should be reflected through the good behavior and attitude of the exiled Tibetans.

Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile also thanked Himachal Pradesh and expressed appreciation for the assistance from the Himachal government and its people. He said it is forever written in Tibetan history and their people will never forget it. He spoke about the population of exiled Tibetans in Himachal Pradesh, with specific reference to the 15 settlements; 18 schools accommodating 9644 students; 33 monasteries and a general population of 21051 Tibetans.

As a part of the ceremony a photograph exhibition was displayed at the prestigious museum of Kangra Arts in Dharamshala. The exhibition conveyed the message of Mahatma Gandhi and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, endorsing peace and brotherhood. The Minister of Industry and the union Minister of Steel of Himachal Pradesh also attended the exhibition.

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