Dalai Lama not to address Tibetans on ‘uprising day’

March 9th, 2012 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, March 9 (IANS) For the first time in 53 years, Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will not address a gathering of Tibetans March 10, the day the Chinese launched a crackdown to suppress an uprising in Tibet in 1959, his aides said.

The monk, who now drapes only the spiritual - and not the political - robe will not deliver his customary address on the Tibetan National Uprising Day anniversary at the hilltop Tsuglagkhang temple close to his official palace at McLeodganj near here Saturday.

This follows his historic decision of devolving his “formal authority” to the elected leadership of the Tibetan exiles headed by the prime minister.

An official of the Dalai Lama’s office told IANS, “His Holiness will attend the function but right now there is no plan of his address.”

There is anxiety among Tibetans settled across the globe about whether he will carry out his annual address.

“We are excited to hear the prime minister, who is now the political head of Tibetan people. But we are equally keen to hear our spiritual leader who has been showing the path of non-violence and reconciliation,” Lobsang Wangyal, director-producer of Miss Tibet pageant and a journalist, told IANS.

According to an official schedule of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected prime minister, will make a keynote statement on the occasion.

Tibetan parliament speaker Penpa Tsering will also read a statement on behalf of the parliament.

“Without His Holiness address, the commemoration is totally incomplete. His words have sentimental value in every Tibetans’ heart and soul,” local shopkeeper Choeying Khedup said.

“In his last address, he shocked the entire community by announcing he would shed political and administrative responsibilities. At this crucial point of time when our brothers and sisters in Tibet are facing the brunt of the Chinese, his address will give them some succour,” septuagenarian Jampa Tenzin said.

In 1959, the occupying Chinese troops suppressed the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa and forced the Dalai Lama and over 80,000 Tibetans into exile in India and neighbouring countries.

On reaching India after a three-week-long treacherous journey March 30, 1959, the Dalai Lama first took up residence for about a year in Mussoorie in Uttarakhand.

On March 10, 1960 just before moving to Dharamsala, which also serves as the headquarters of the exiled Tibetan establishment, the Dalai Lama said: “For those of us in exile, I said that our priority must be resettlement and the continuity of our cultural traditions. We Tibetans would eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet.”

Since then, the Dalai Lama making a statement in his Tibetan dialect on every anniversary of the Tibetan people’s uprising has been a tradition.

“If His Holiness misses his annual address this time, it will make history,” journalist Wangyal added.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, with over 100,000 living in India.

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