Dharamsala: Sitting BJP MP and former Union Minister Shanta Kumar on Tuesday urged the central government to honour Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour.
The appeal was made by him at his book release function here.
Speaking after the release of the book “Himalaya Par Lal Chhaya” by the spiritual leader, Kumar said the Dalai Lama deserves to be conferred with Bharat Ratna in recognition of his great service to humanity.
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The book was written by Kumar after the India-China war in 1962. It was reprinted for the second time after 50 years.
The Dalai Lama, who calls himself “son of India”, has spent more than half a century in the country after he, along with thousands of Tibetans, was forced to flee Tibet in 1959.
Kumar, also a former Himachal Chief Minister, said his book was first released in 1965.
“After 50 years of the launch of the book, a threat is again looming large on the borders as China is building massive infrastructure and of late has been showing aggressiveness against India,” Kumar said.
He said the growing proximity between China and Pakistan was a matter of concern for India.
The Dalai Lama, in his address, said: “India is a living example that religious traditions can coexist and live together side by side.”
India has become great due to its rich philosophical thoughts, he said.
Stating he is feeling like a citizen of this state, the Dalai Lama said he has been in Himachal Pradesh for more than 55 years.
“All these years, the successive governments have supported the Tibetans for which I am grateful to the people of this great land,” he said.
Without mincing words, he added: “I devolved my political powers in 2011. My concern now is preserving the Tibetan culture.”
The Tibetan administration-in-exile is based here.