| The Dalai Lama speaks at the news conference in Shillong on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Feb. 5: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today signalled that his immediate return to the “roof of the world” might not be imminent as there is every possibility of him being imprisoned.
“Nobody knows (about returning to Tibet). I think 99 per cent of Tibetans are waiting for me. They always ask me to return. I told them I am ready to go to Tibet; it is my home, but the Chinese government will not allow,” the 14th Dalai Lama told the media here.
“Political situation at this moment, if I return, will be useful perhaps as I may be more relaxed in prison, but with no work. But I will lose my own freedom and it will be just a waste of time. Here (in India), I am busy.”
Chinese hardliners continue to accuse him of being a separatist, but the Chinese know that he was “not asking for separation”, he added.
Yesterday, the sikyong (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Lobsang Sangay, was optimistic about the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet via Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh — the route which he had used to come to India following his escape from the “roof of the world” 55 years ago.
The Dalai Lama, who termed Mao Tse-tung his “father”, however, said that things were changing.
“I met chairman Mao in 1954-55 in Peking. I was there for five months and we met several times and developed a father-son relationship. Chairman Mao said on many occasions that Tibet cannot be treated as an ordinary Chinese province,” he said.
On the present Chinese leadership, he said: “I think President Xi Jinping is quite active because he is cleaning up corruption quite courageously. He spoke about the rights of the countryside and proper rule of law.”
While praising Indian democracy, the Dalai Lama, however, maintained that freedom should come with a sense of responsibility.
“Some drawbacks are there and sometimes in a democracy, people take freedom without discipline. Freedom must combine with a sense of responsibility. Otherwise, India is a very nice country.”
Stating that Muslims are safer in India than in Islamic countries, he said this country is peaceful except in a few pockets. He also made a mention about the Godhra riots and the killings of missionaries in Odisha.
As India is a land of villages, he stressed on development of rural areas.
“Development should take place in rural areas also, and not only in towns and cities. All villages should have schools and hospitals. Population must also reduce in big cities,” he said.
On eradication of corruption, he said corruption is something like “modern cancer”, which is present everywhere, even in China. “This clearly shows we are lacking in a firm conviction about the value of ethics. Religious teachings will not be adequate. We must educate people right from kindergarten upto the university level.”