Today is the 17th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the World Human Rights Day and the Himalayan Festival. On this auspicious occasion, the Kashag extends its warm greetings and Tashi Deleg to the Tibetans in and outside Tibet and to all the peace-loving people across the world.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is an apostle of global peace, and based on love and compassion, he has always advocated a peaceful and non-violent path for entire humanity. Moreover, he is solely responsible for completely transforming the Tibetan struggle into a truly peaceful and non-violent one. In recognition of these outstanding contributions, the international community honoured him with the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. On behalf of Tibetans in and outside Tibet, the Kashag extends its heartfelt gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and entreat him to live amidst us so long as the entire living beings on earth, especially Tibetans, are not freed from suffering.
The Kashag also extends its warm greetings to the organisers of the Himalayan festival, Indo-Tibetan Friendship Association; the chief guest of the festival, Mr. Vijay Singh Mankotia, a former minister in the government of Himachal Pradesh; and to all those who are present at this event. And through them, we thank the government of India and its people for giving so much love and care to more than one hundred thousand Tibetan refugees in India; so much so that we feel as if we live in our own country.
On this occasion we also have, amidst us, a high-level delegation from the Republic of Kalmykia, led by President Kirsan Ilumjhinov, and Mr. Kichikov Igor, chairman of Kalmykia’s congress. They have specially visited Dharamsala to honour His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the republic’s highest civilian award, the White Lotus. The award–a testimony to the close ties Tibetans and Kalmyks have enjoyed since ancient times–will serve as a source of immense encouragement to the Tibetans in and outside Tibet. On behalf of all Tibetans, we express our appreciation and thank the members of the Kalmyk delegation for giving this award to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
A wide range of nations, nationalities and societies has presented more than hundred awards and honorary degrees to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He has humbly accepted these awards, since they were voluntarily presented to him, acknowledging sincerely his outstanding contributions to humanity.
Moreover, in the year 2006 His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been presented with many awards and honorary degrees, including the US Congressional Gold Medal, Canada’s honorary citizenship and now Kalmykia’s highest civilian award, the White Lotus.
It is crystal clear to all that these awards are voluntarily presented to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by leaders of governments, congresses, societies and the general public. These awards are not presented under the compulsion of other people or to serve some political ends. Such criticism levelled by a few biased and envious people will only invite ridicule from the wider public. Therefore, it is not worth paying attention to such criticisms.
We have reached the pinnacle of modernisation in the 21st century and it has been nearly sixty years since the universal declaration of human rights was proclaimed. Still human rights are not duly protected throughout the world. Instances of war, aggression by big powers against small powers, disturbances caused by global terrorism and also by the violent response to address this menace have gone from bad to worse. As a result, most human beings on earth have to live their lives in an atmosphere of constant fear of not being able to protect their rights.
Although subtle in nature, the slow but steady erosion of religion, culture, language and traditional values of society or ethnicity under the system of today’s economically and politically globalised world is one of the worst cases of human rights violations. It is a matter of serious concern that the world is not even acknowledging such forms of human rights violations, let alone seeking solutions to address them.
For example, India’s culture and traditional values have suffered more disruption since the country achieved its independence and embraced the much-touted economic liberalisation than during the more than two hundred years of alien subjugation. As for the Tibetan people, although they had to endure immense material destruction and physical suffering in times of major upheavals such as during crackdown on the National Uprising and the Cultural Revolution, their beliefs and ethical values could not be destroyed. However, it is extremely sad that they are now being destroyed because of the so-called economic liberalisation, its associated culture of consumerism and the continuing transfer of Chinese population into Tibetan areas.
Two months ago, the international community witnessed the Nangpala incident in which Chinese border guards shot at innocent Tibetans fleeing into exile in India, killing a nun and injuring a few others. This incident is not something new that has occurred for the first time. In fact it is a minor example of the kind of suffering Tibetans have had to undergo behind the iron curtain for the past five decades.
For thousands of years Tibetans have preserved, on the roof of the world, the rich culture and tradition of India, rooted in the unique teachings of ancient Indian learning centres such as Nalanda, Vikramshila and Taxila. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan exile community have had the opportunity to hand over this unique culture and tradition to its real owner, that is India, at a time when they are systematically being destroyed inside Tibet. The Kashag, therefore, hopes and appeals to Indians, in particular to those living in the Himalayan regions bordering Tibet, to show their utmost care and interest to preserve them. Doing so would go a long way in helping protect the basic cultural rights of the Tibetan people.
Today we are going to see different kinds of cultural shows and presentations. These will gradually disappear from our eyes if we fail to whole-heartedly preserve and promote them. We therefore request you all to remember and pay every attention to this.
Finally, we offer our prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and for the Indo-Tibetan unity and friendship. We also pray for further improvement of Tibet-Kalmykia ties and for the immediate resolution of the Tibetan issue.
The Kashag 10 December 2006
NB. This is only a rough translation of the original statement in Tibetan. If there are differences between this and the Tibetan version, please treat the Tibetan rendering as authoritative and final.