(TibetanReview.net, Jul07’22) – Tibetans in Dharamsala marked the 87th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Jul 6 with religious solemnity and festive gaiety in the virtual presence of chief guest Mr Jai Ram Thakur, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. Mr Thakur expressed admiration for the 1989 Nobel Peace laureate’s efforts in promoting non-violence and compassion.
The chief minister further lauded the Dalai Lama for his contributions towards making Dharamshala globally well-known through the preservation of Tibetan religion and cultural heritage in the host state.
Other prominent guests who took actual part in the event – which was held on the courtyard of the Tsuglakhang, the main Buddhist temple in the hill town – included Hollywood star and International Campaign for Tibet board chair Mr Richard Gere as special guest, and the 104th Gaden Tripa Jetsun Lobsang Tenzin as a guest of honour. Other guests included the state’s forest minister Mr Rakesh Pathania, former Senator and Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affair of Italy Mr Gianni Vernetti, and others.
Apart from Sikyong Penpa Tsering and Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, Mr Pathania, who attended the event on behalf of the chief minister, addressed the gathering. He praised the Dalai Lama for his contributions towards transforming Dharamshala into an international tourist destination through his presence and informed the gathering that his life story had been included in the state’s school syllabus.
And he also declared, “We stand with you on this fight for independence, and we will always stand with you in this fight of independence.”
In his address Gere referred to the Dalai Lama as a leader the like of who appears but only once by in a millennium or two but that Tibetans must now prepare for a situation when he is no more.
“It’s up to the Tibetan people to carry the weight of your freedom, the weight of your truth, the weight of your possibilities, and the weight of your vision.” Hence, “in that context of knowing, we all have to step up”, he said.