The Dalai Lama left Dharamsala on Thursday for his week-long visit to northeast India, where he will participate in an inter-faith conclave in northeast Assam.
The Dalai Lama said: “I always feel everyone who have admiration for Mahatma Gandhiji, the proper way to remember him is we must implement his ‘Ahimsa’ (nonviolence) concept and also I think every Indian should feel the ahimsa is not only Mahatma Gandhi’s creation but over, I think, at least two-three thousand years that’s India’s tradition.”
Violence has flared in Tibet since 1950, when Beijing claims it “peacefully liberated” the region. Many Tibetans say Chinese rule has eroded their culture and religion. They are agitating for the Dalai Lama’s return from exile in India, and genuine autonomy for their homeland. The Chinese government denies trampling Tibetan rights and boasts of having brought development and prosperity to the region.
As shocking as the first suicides were, the people who chose to burn themselves did so, Tibetan scholars say, in reaction to specific instances of abuse at particular monasteries. Tibetan Buddhist monasteries are often under surveillance and subject to raids by Chinese security forces.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama, who fled China in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule, a violent separatist. The Dalai Lama, who is based in India, says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for his Himalayan homeland.
Since 2009, at least 121 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China in protest against Beijing’s policies in Tibet and nearby regions with large Tibetan populations. Most were calling for the return of the Dalai Lama.
Tensions have mounted between Tibet and China since 2008, after riots that broke out in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Tibetan parts of China, which led to a government crackdown.
Expressing concern over current situation in Syria, Dalai Lama said that Gandhi’s concept of nonviolence is very much relevant.
“Every Indian, I think, should feel proud of concept of ‘Ahimsa’ (nonviolence) and that sort of life ‘Ahimsa’. That’s very very relevant in today’s world, especially when we hear like Syria, everyday hundreds of people are killed specially women, children. We must remember the concept of ahimsa, its very very important. I myself as one of the admirers of Mahatma Gandhiji and of course as a follower of Buddha, I always try to practise as much as I can ahimsa,” he added.
Syria’s conflict began as popular protests, but a fierce crackdown transformed them into armed revolt. Now, the country has collapsed into a bloody civil war that has killed more than 130,000 people and forced over 6 million from their homes.
Opposition activists push their argument that it was Assad’s brutal crackdown that plummeted Syria into this deadly spiral. Pro-government journalists insist it was a foreign conspiracy against the country.