NEW DELHI: Swarms of students, sociologists and foreign delegates descended on the dusty K.V. Grounds at Jawaharlal Nehru University here on Tuesday to hear the Dalai Lama deliver the opening lecture for the eight-day-long “Satyagraha Centenary International Conference - Globalisation of the Gandhian Way”.
“I am an admirer of Gandhi and wherever I go I carry his message of non-violence and compassion. The universality of his teachings transcends barriers of religions and faiths,” said the Dalai Lama in his self-admittedly “broken English” as his translator stepped aside with a respectful bow.
Linguistic trouble, however, did not prove a deterrent for the profundity of his message to seep through the crowd, most of which comprised Tibetan students who applauded each time the disarming leader broke into his local dialect.
The Dalai Lama said the value of Mahatma Gandhi lay in his implementation of the age-old principle of “ahimsa” which, though a part of Indian culture for centuries, was brought to the forefront of political and social reform only through persistent efforts of the Mahatma. “I am no scholar and I have no scholarly knowledge. I merely strive to practice ‘ahimsa’ as I consider it synonymous with truth, honesty and compassion. The only motivation required to adopt an “ahimsa” lifestyle is to inculcate a genuine respect for other human beings and their interests.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader said resorting to violence was counter-productive and unrealistic and the true solution to any conflict should be sought through constructive dialogue. “It is heartening to see young students develop an interest in the principles of Gandhi. Great leaders over the years have idolised him and Martin Luther King Jr. even went to the extent of emulating the Bapu’s spartan lifestyle and wardrobe.”
“India should realise its traditional cultural richness,” the Dalai Lama added.