His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the official function marking his 77th birthday in Dharamshala on July 6, 2012. (Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, July 6: Thousands of Tibetans, Indians, Chinese, and foreign tourists filled the courtyard of the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple in Dharmashala today to wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 77th birthday.
The celebrations began early morning with prayers for the long-life of His Holiness followed by an elaborate incense burning ceremony at Lhagyal-ri.
The Dalai Lama was welcomed at the official function by Gyalwang Karmapa Rinpoche, the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commissioners, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Penpa Tsering and a host of Tibetan officials.
Kishan Kapoor, local member of the Legislative Assembly and Industries Minister of the state of Himachal Pradesh led a battery of Indian dignitaries to receive His Holiness.
Speaking on behalf of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet and the Central Tibetan Administration, Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, in his official statement, offered His Holiness “deepest reverence, prayers, and warmest wishes.”
“Today is the most auspicious day not only for the people of the Land of Snow but also for the entire world,” Dr Sangay said. “Though Tibetans are confronted with an unparalleled tragedy in our history, we have still been able to establish and sustain a successful and an exemplary refugee community under the visionary leadership of His Holiness.”
The Kashag, in its statement, called on Tibetans and supporters worldwide to organise a global solidarity vigil for Tibet on August 8, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the new Kashag.
“This international vigil will remember those Tibetans who have given up their lives for Tibet and show solidarity with every Tibetan in Tibet who continues to suffer oppression under Chinese rule,” Dr Sangay said.
Local Indian youths perform a traditional Indian dance at Tsug-la Khang courtyard during the official birthday celebrations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on July 6, 2012. (Phayul Photo/Norbu Wangyal)
Kalon Tripa further announced that a long-life offering will be also presented to His Holiness on behalf of the Tibetan people and administration during the four-day Special General Meeting to be held from September 25 to 28 in Dharamshala.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in its statement noted that the situation inside Tibet has been “deteriorating from bad to worse” with the “intimidation and violent repression” of the Tibetan people on a “war footing.”
“As a result, the situation in Tibet today is so extremely serious that a state of de facto martial law prevails there,” Speaker Penpa Tsering said. “To sum up, the Chinese government is implementing in Tibet a policy of racial contempt, racial discrimination, and racial obliteration against the Tibetan people in a manner which is all too obvious and blatant to warrant any doubt.”
Representing the people of Himachal Pradesh and his government, Kishan Kapoor wished the Dalai Lama a long life and thanked him for making the Indian state his second home.
“It is because of your blessings that Dharamshala and Himachal Pradesh has found a unique place in history and I pray that you, Your Holiness, live for thousands of years,” the minister said.
In his brief speech, the Dalai Lama acknowledged the courage and fortitude of the Tibetan people inside Tibet, who he said, despite many physical impediments, were celebrating his birthday in spirit.
The 77-year-old Tibetan leader who last year devolved all his political authorities to the elected leadership noted that he personally didn’t consider celebrating birthdays important.
“For me, every day is a new day, and every day is an opportunity to benefit others.”