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The Kashag on His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 81st birthday, a big day for Tibet

Officiating Sikyong Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang addressing the official 81st birthday celebration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 6 July 2016. Photo: Outlook Tibet
Dharamshala: - It was a spectacular show for all to see within the main Tibetan temple in Mcleod Ganj on July 6, His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama's 81st birthday. People poured in enormous numbers to witness the program. While His Holiness couldn't be present currently being in the southern part of India, Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang addressing the huge gathering on behalf of the kashag, gave a nostalgic speech reminding the crowd of His Holiness vision.

Starting off the address with an affectionate salute to His Holiness, Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang expressed "deepest reverence to His Holiness the Dalai Lama" on behalf of the kashag and Tibetans from around the world. He went on by conveying lines in remembrance of His Holiness' parents, "On this very day in 1935, following numerous auspicious signs and symbols, Lhamo Dhondup was born to father Choekyong Tsering and mother Dekyi Tsering in Taktser village, located in the Amdo region of Tibet. We owe deep gratitude to the great parents for blessing us with their precious son."

"His Holiness' birth at the fringes of the Tibetan plateau is similar to previous great Lamas and several Dalai Lamas who have chosen specific birthplaces to signify unity in Tibet," he added.
Kalon Sonam Topgyal Khorlatsang expressed how His Holiness the Great Dalai Lama had a 'vision of a strong united Tibet' from a very young age. "Enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama at the age of five, he had to take over the spiritual and temporal authority of Tibet at the tender age of 16, at a time when the People's Republic of China illegally occupied Tibet. The young Dalai Lama immediately formed the Reform Committee to cater to the welfare of poor Tibetans, irrespective of their provincial or religious affiliations. This committee intrinsically helped strengthen Tibetan unity", he noted.

The statement also heavily emphasised on Tibetan unity, which His Holiness also always lays stress on in all his addresses. It greatly condemned the actions of extremist groups too.
"Our exile history tells us that for the first few decades, there have been instances of regional and sectarian discord but they have been diluted overtime. Since the 90s, for two decades, harmony and unity among Tibetans was widespread and were at its peak. Hence in 2011, His Holiness believing in Tibetan unity and political maturity accordingly devolved his political authority to the elected leadership."

"However, during the final round of the 2016 election of Sikyong and the members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, traits of regionalism was raised. His Holiness was hurt as made clear from his speech during the 2016 swearing-in-ceremony of Sikyong. "I was pained to see the degradation of morality and the overtones of regional biases during the election campaign. It is very unfortunate. The unity of the three traditional provinces of Tibet is of primary importance. Therefore, we should do away with this warped sense of biases to regions and move on as one. If you consider me your friend, please pay attention to what I have said."

"This remark by His Holiness the Dalai Lama bears a disconcerting resemblance to the ones given in 1959 and 1960. Instead of progression, the final elections witnessed regression. Regional biases were not only expressed, but acted upon, thereby creating disharmony. However there is a window of opportunity for us to rectify our mistakes and redefine our destiny. Mahatma Gandhi had said, "Your beliefs become your thoughts, thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become values and values become your destiny." Therefore, we urge Tibetans everywhere to remove their regional and sectarian partisanship from their thoughts, words and actions because we cannot afford to churn them into our destiny", he said from the statement.

He mentioned all the prestigious awards His Holiness has been bestowed with, winning His Holiness a strong support for the cause of Tibet that included His Holiness receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and being recognized globally as a "messenger of peace and harbinger of hope and harmony". He also mentioned His Holiness receiving the US Congressional Gold Medal, and recognition of His Holiness' work for environment and humanity. "Over the last few decades, His Holiness has visited 67 countries spanning six continents and authored over 100 books, advocating global peace and harmony. His Holiness' magnanimity and his pioneering accomplishments have provided a firm support for the cause of Tibet." He added.

He expressed his deep gratitude to the Indian state and community for their 'unflinching support' and concluded by conveying his heartfelt respect and regards to His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama and wishing His Holiness a long healthy life.

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