I consider myself as a son of India: Dalai Lama

December 2nd 2011

Kolkata, West Bengal, India, 2 December 2011 (The Times of India) - Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Thursday expressed his disappointment over corruption that was spreading like a cancerous disease and urged youths to work towards building a healthy society.

The Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, introduces His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Kolkata, India, on December 1, 2011. Photo/Tenzin Taklha/OHHDL
Addressing a gathering at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, the Dalai Lama expressed his bewilderment over how some Indians were corrupt despite being religious. "I can understand that in China, they don't care much about moral principles and run only after power and money. But in India, people pray and make offerings to God in the morning and then step out and indulge in corruption. How can this happen? Either believe in God and live a principled life. Or worship money, be corrupt and exploit," he said.

Pointing out how India has a history of an ancient and sophisticated civilization compared with that of Greece and China, the Dalai Lama said Indians have traditionally been gurus and Tibetans chelas (disciples). "When I see some part of my guru being corrupt, as a chela I feel ashamed," he lamented.

Though the Tibetan spiritual leader did not make a reference to the movement launched by Team Anna and their insistence on a Jan Lok Pal bill, he said a better community could not be created by law and Parliament."Don't blame a few politicians for the ill that plagues the society. They are from done through individual actions. In order to act, one requires will power that can come through truth and conviction," he said.

Urging students to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, the spiritual leader felt real transformation of India needed to start from rural areas instead of cities. "Please build this nation in a balanced way with a long term and holistic vision," the Dalai Lama said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his talk on "A Human Approach to World Peace" at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, in Kolkata, India, on December 1, 2011.
Photo/Tenzin Taklha/OHHDL

Recounting a recent interaction with Delhi University pro vice-chancellor, he said the latter was keen to start a course on moral ethics and felt other institutions needed to think on similar lines and teach the subject in a secular manner. "Indian gurus must take active role in promoting Ahimsa (non-violence) and religious harmony, first within the country and then outside. They must share ancient Indian teachings of Ahimsa and tolerance with rest of the world," he said, adding that not just people of different religion, even nonbelievers deserved respect.

"I belong to 20th century. My generation is ready to say goodbye. Despite many positive developments, it was primary the century of war, nuclear weapon, untold misery and suffering. It is on the shoulders of the young generation of the 21st century that the responsibility of creating a new and healthy society rests," the Dalai Lama added. "A better world will not be achieved through prayers. It has to be done through individual actions. In order to act, one requires will power that can come through truth and conviction," he said.

Responding to a question, the Dalai Lama said Chinese officials sometimes behave childishly. "I look at people, including the Chinese, at a fundamental level in which everyone is human. These are no differences, from the way we are born to the way we die. But at times, the Chinese government calls me a demon. I may be a demon but not that bad a demon," he said, drawing laughter from the audience.

Describing himself as a son of India, the spiritual leader said he owed his existence to the country in which he had sought exile in 1959. "All particles in my mind contain thoughts from Nalanda. And it is Indian dal and chapati that has built this body. I am mentally and physically a son of India," he said.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting sisters from the Missionaries of Charity during his visit to Kolkata, India, on December 1, 2011.
Photo/Tenzin Taklha/OHHDL

Criticizing the Chinese government for its paranoia over people who speak a different language, like Tibetans do, he pointed to India's existence despite its diversity. "I often tell Chinese friends to look at India to get rid of the fear that plurality will lead to secession. India has so many languages and dialects, yet remains strongly united because there is the freedom of speech and rule of law," he said.

Apart from support from all over the world for an autonomous territory within China, the Dalai Lama claimed thousands of articles in Chinese published over the past couple of years had also recognized his stand as the ideal one to resolve the issue.

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