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PM Modi joins Tibetans world over celebrating Dalai Lama’s 88th birthday

The Dalai Lama celebrated his 88th birthday in Dharamshala on July 6, 2023

Tibetans across the world celebrated the 88th birthday of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also wished him a long and happy life on the occasion.

Prime Minister Modi’s phone call and public message related to the Dalai Lama is significant because of China’s tensions with India as well as Beijing’s autocratic crackdown on the Tibetans. The Prime Minister’s greetings to the Tibetan leader shows that diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Beijing are at an all-time low.

China has initiated a massive crackdown on the Tibetan people through a cultural genocide, surveillance and curbs on the language. In a bid to cut off the Tibetans from the Dalai Lama, Beijing has also banned photos, voice messages and his sermons that may connect people to their spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama’s nephew, Tibetan writer and author Khedroob Thondup, told India Narrative that “His Holiness’ age of 88 is a very auspicious number. In his message to the Tibetan people he says that he will live for another 10-15 years”. Thondup, who lives in Taiwan, said that over 200 Tibetans gathered for the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations in the island nation.

The holy leader received greetings and wishes from across the world.

The Dalai Lama, who is the spiritual head of the exiled Tibetan community, made Dharamsala his headquarters after China invaded Tibet. Also, he has delegated the administrative and political powers to a democratically elected Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) which now manages the affairs of nearly 1,50,000 members of the Tibetan diaspora spread out in India, Nepal, Bhutan and is increasingly settling in the Western nations.

His message of resolving the Tibetan conflict through non-violence and the middle way has been accepted by the Tibetan community worldwide. The middle way, as espoused by the Dalai Lama, advocates that China oversees Tibet’s defence and foreign affairs, but the people of Tibet manage their religion, culture, education, economy and environment.

Under Xi Jinping, China has, however, suspended talks with the Dalai Lama’s representatives for a peaceful resolution to its Tibetan problem.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived most part of his life in India has been highly appreciative of the liberal values of his adopted country. He has often applauded India for its tradition of non-violence, peace and harmony, saying that he and the Tibetans are lucky to be living in India.