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I'm a socialist and Marxist, says the Dalai Lama

Hemant Padalkar DNA
Despite his troubled history with China, Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama didn't hesitate to refer to it as a great nation, at a gathering in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Buddhist leader, who has been in exile for over five decades, dropped all political inhibitions and took a moment to appreciate the hard working Chinese. “Your neighbour China is a great nation. There has been much development in China in the last 60 years,” he said.

“Unfortunately, unlike India, China isn't a democracy,” the globally popular monk pointed out. “But China is changing and India can be an example.”

The Dalai Lama, who is in the city between May 30 to June 2, addressed an enthusiastic crowd following the inaugural of the Somaiya School. His teachings drew a motley crew of followers, who arrived in large numbers despite the heat, to hear him speak.

Striking a cord with the largely Indian audience, he said, “The Indus Valley civilisation has produced some great thinkers, philosophers. India really made tremendous contribution to human development over the last millennia. You have a thousand-year-old tradition of Ahimsa, and harmony among cultures.”

He, however, advised Indians to move forward. “It is not sufficient to dwell in past glory,” he said. “We must look forward. Past experience tells us that India has the potential to further built greatness. And combined with modern technology and education, India can benefit not just its 1.2 billion people, but all of Asia and eventually the whole world.”

He urged Indians to work harder, “Not in the sense of bad competition but positively but for growth,” he explained. “Sometimes people say that the Chinese are more hard working than the Indians. But it's probably because of the heat; there is so much heat,” he quipped.

Preaching the need for hygiene of emotions, he said, “Human intelligence is very brilliant, but sometimes it is clouded with bad emotions. Most of the tyrannical people in human history, I think, were very intelligent people.”

“Lenin, for instance,” he elaborated, “was a very sharp minded and intelligent person, but he was clouded by negative emotions of hatred and anger.”

'Marxism could have worked'
In a rather surprising revelation, the Dalai Lama identified himself as a communist. “I am Socialist. As far as social economic theory is concerned, I am a Marxist. I respect and admire Marxism because of its emphasis on equal distribution,” he said.

Once again criticising the Russian communist leader, he said, “But Marxism was spoilt by Lenin, who started a civil war during the Bolshevik revolution. He took the pure Marxist ideology and mixed it with war mentality, suspicion and distrust, too much control, censorship. So unfortunately, since Lenin the whole Marxism ideology has too much emphasis on suppression. Lenin did not realise the genuine value of Marxism.”

But the Tibetan religious leader, who has denounced the People's Republic of China, even went so far as to say that the Chinese revolution was a good idea. “The original idea for the Chinese revolution was really good. It was to be a true socialist change; bridge the gap in poverty, tackle corruption,” he said. “If General Mao Tse Tung and those leaders had only laid emphasis on activism, then today's China could have been different.”

“Socialism and Marxism are wonderful, but involve too much hatred. That automatically brings suspicion and distrust,” he added in conclusion.


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