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Dalai Lama mulls maiden visit

- Spiritual leader to lecture in Assam, Meghalaya

Guwahati, Jan. 17: Fifty-four years in exile since he came to India from Tibet, spiritual leader Dalai Lama will for the first time take part in a series of public events in Assam and Meghalaya.

By the initiative of the LBS (Lawyer’s Book Stall) Foundation, the 14th Dalai Lama will be arriving in Guwahati on February 1 to take part in an inter-faith conclave on peace and harmony at Rabindra Bhavan and deliver a lecture on peace at Nehru Stadium the next day.

The lecture on “A human approach to peace and the individual” is the first initiative undertaken by LBS Foundation that was set up recently with an objective to promote Assam’s art and culture. It is also the first of the LBS Founders’ Commemorative Lecture series.

“This is the Tibetan spiritual leader’s first public event here where he will lead the discourse of the inter-faith conclave in the afternoon of February 1. He will deliver a lecture on peace on the morning of February 2,” Bhaskar Dutta Baruah, secretary of the foundation and convener of the LBS Founders’ Commemorative Lecture, told reporters here today.

Representatives including Swami Sumana Sananda Maharaj (Ramakrishna Mission, Cherrapunjee), Bimalankur Mahathera (Jorhat Buddha Vihar), Narayan Chandra Goswami, xatradhikar of Natun Kamalabari Xatra, Fr Thomas Menamparampil, former archbishop of Guwahati Diocese, Toufiqur Rahman Barbaruah, former principal of Assam Medical College and Hospital and Kapurchand Jain, a scholar, will take part in the inter-faith conclave.

“We have received enquires from other states as well, apart from people from European countries for attending the lecture. We have made seating arrangements for 2,500 people at Nehru Stadium. Limited complimentary invitation cards, sealed by the SSP’s office, are being issued according to a security advisory. Gallery numbers three, four, six and seven will also be opened to the public for free,” Dutta Baruah said.

“The district administration will take care of the Dalai Lama’s stay and security arrangements,” he said.

The spiritual leader will also attend the inaugural function of the Festival of Tibetan Art and Culture at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here on February 2. The five-day event here will feature Tibetan thangka paintings, Tibetan cuisine, monks creating the Sand Mandala and butter sculpture, Tibetan woodcarving art and traditional handicraft products made by Tibetan refugees. “The Dalai Lama will leave for Shillong on February 3 for a series of programmes there, starting with the convocation of the Martin Luther Christian University. On February 4, he will be delivering a sermon at Polo Ground followed by an inter-faith conclave the next day,” Karma Yeshi, member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, Dharamsala, told The Telegraph today.

“This will be the first time that the spiritual leader will be taking part in public events in Assam and Meghalaya. He will leave for Dharamsala on February 6,” Yeshi said.

The Dalai Lama had undertaken a weeklong visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November 2009 despite stiff opposition from China, which claims the frontier state as its own. The spiritual leader had then visited Tawang, Bomdila and Itanagar.