DALAI LAMA’S ESCORT

Recently, the last surviving member of a small troop of Indian soldiers who escorted the Dalai Lama as he fled from Tibet in 1959 has died.

Important points:

  • The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.
  • There have been only 14 Dalai Lamas in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and the first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously.
  • The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
  • The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet.
  • Bodhisattvas are realized beings inspired by a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help humanity.

Dalai Lama’s Escort:

  • The political landscape of China started changing in the 1950s.
  • Plans were made to bring Tibet officially under Chinese control. But in March 1959, Tibetans took to the streets demanding an end to Chinese rule. Chinese People’s Republic troops crushed the revolt and thousands were killed.
  • The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet to India with thousands of followers during the 1959 Tibetan uprising, where he was welcomed by former Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who gave him permission to form the ‘Tibetan government in exile’ in Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh).
  • The Dalai Lama and Tibet is one of the major irritants between India and China relations.
  • China considers the Dalai Lama a separatist, who has great influence over Tibetans.
  • India seeks to use the Tibetan card in order to counter China’s continuing aggression at the Line of Actual Control.
  • In the event of increasing tensions between India and China, there has been a shift in India’s Tibet Policy. This shift in the policy, earmarks the Indian government actively managing with the Dalai Lama in public forums.
  • The shift in India’s Tibet policy is majorly focused on symbolic aspects, but there are many challenges pertaining to India’s Approach to Tibet Policy.

Way Forward

  • India currently has an executive policy (not a law) on Tibetans in India.
  • While the current policy was a significant development for Tibetans’ welfare in India, it is devoid of legal backing on core issues of Tibet. For example, destructive Tibetans’ demand for freedom in Tibet.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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