Harmony existing in India for over 1,000 years: Dalai Lama

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) The traditional and religious harmony in India has been existing for over 1,000 years, the 14th Dalai Lama said here on Monday during the belated celebration of his 80th birthday.

Various dignitaries, including senior politicians, activists, artists and religious personalities, gathered here to pay their tribute to the Dalai Lama and celebrated his 80th birthday that was in July.

Speaking on the occasion, the Tibetan spiritual leader said: “India is one of the few countries in the world that has been able to maintain its tradition of cultural harmony over 1,000 years.”

Citing examples of various religions, he said, “India is home to different religions. Yet, there is harmony and brotherhood.”

The Buddhist monk said younger generation should read and learn about the tradition and history of India.

“It is very important to acquire knowledge about traditions to keep them alive…Youngsters must read and learn about it,” he said.

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi was also present on the occasion.

Praising Dalai Lama’s way of living, Satyarthi said: “To celebrate his holiness’ birthday is to celebrate humanity, kindness and non-violence.”

“We are celebrating courage which comes through morality, and conviction which comes when you are truthful. And also compassion,” he said.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was also present on the occasion, described Dalai Lama as “God’s gift to humanity” and said, “India is thankful to you, Your Holiness, for choosing this place after leaving Tibet.”

Dalai Lama’s culture and civilised way of life have enriched India, he added.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leader L.K. Advani also greeted Dalai Lama on completing 80 years of his life and said: “Dalai Lama cannot think evil of any one… His positivity is embodied in him.”

Also present on the occasion were senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, former finance minister P. Chidambaram, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore and parliamentarian Karan Singh.

The Dalai Lama has been living-in-exile in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. The Tibetan administration-in-exile is based in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.

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