Bengaluru: The 14th Dalai Lama on Friday thanked Karnataka for giving home to thousands of exiled Tibetans since 1959.
“We Tibetans never forget others’ kindness and it is our duty to thank Karnataka and India for being kind to us (Tibetans) and helping Tibetan refugees thrive,” the 83-year-old Nobel laureate said addressing the “Thank You Karnataka” event here.
Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was to mark 60 years of Tibetan community’s exile in the country.
After China annexed Tibet in 1950, thousands of Tibetans, including monks, were forced to flee the mountain country and settle in India as refugees.
The Dalai Lama also fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.
Apart from former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who supported the Tibetan refugees’ resettlement in India, former Karnataka (then Mysore state) Chief Minister S. Nijalingappa, who was in office from 1962-68, had helped the community by providing them with land for living, the spiritual leader recalled.
“When the request for allocation of land for Tibetan resettlement was sent to all the state leaders, the best response came from Karnataka. He extended an extraordinary support for the Tibetans,” he added.
The southern state currently is home to the largest population of Tibetan refugees in the country, with five settlements across Karnataka — two in Bylakuppe near Mysuru, and one each in Hunsur in Mysuru district, Kollegal in Chamarajanagar district and Mundgod in Uttara Kannada district.
Committing to revive ancient Indian tradition, the Dalai Lama said the knowledge from olden times is relevant for modern India.
“The knowledge from thousands of years ago is useful to humanity, and India, in particular. Therefore, my latest commitment is to revive the ancient Indian knowledge, which the modern India is neglecting,” he said.
India should draw knowledge from the ancient Sanskrit and Buddhist texts and include study on mental and physical health in its education system, the Dalai Lama stressed.
“The ancient Indian texts should be considered as academic subjects, not as religious ones. Buddhist literature should also be read as it is known for its logic and scientific reasoning,” the spiritual leader added.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, who was also present on the occasion, said Tibetans living in the state have made several contributions to Karnataka.
“Those living in Karnataka’s five Tibetan settlements have made their own contributions to the state. Karnataka assures its support and coordination for the community,” he said.
Owing to India, and Karnataka in particular, welcoming the Tibetan refugees, the community has not only been able to live but also thrive over time, said CTA president Lobsang Sangay.
“As per Buddhist notions of compassion and humility, the CTA is observing 2018 as the “Thank You” year to show Tibetans’ gratitude to India, especially Karnataka, for their generosity in enabling Tibetans stand on their own feet,” Sangay said.