Chennai,January 2018 : The President of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Dr. Lobsang Sangay officially launched the year-long ‘Thank you India’ campaign . This is an important undertaking of CTA and the Tibetan people for the year 2018.
President Dr. Sangay said that the year 2018 is significant since March 31, 2018 will mark the beginning of the 60th year of His Holiness the Dalai Lama stepping on the Indian soil. Dr. Sangay also said that His Holiness was followed by tens of thousands of Tibetans who escaped to India.
“Since March 1959, India has been a second home for the Tibetan people and Indians have provided profound support for the Tibetan struggle for preservation of culture, identity and language. His Holiness refers to India as the ‘Guru’ and Tibet as its ‘Chela’. The Guru-Chela relation between India and Tibet only got strengthened with the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India. Widely referred to as the ‘Son of India’ and a true follower of Mahatma Gandhi, His Holiness continues to advocate the revival of India’s ancient wisdom based on the traditions of Nalanda and the inclusion of Secular ethics – the development of the head and the heart and the instilling the basic human values of love, compassion and altruism, in the modern education system Today, His Holiness is the best ambassador for Indian values of non-violence, ahimsa and inter-religious harmony and the promotion of basic human values: compassion and kindness,” said Dr. Sangay.
Dr. Sangay further said that when His Holiness first stepped on Indian soil on March 31, 1959, he experienced ‘freedom.’ “It was in exile that he found freedom thanks to the compassionate underpinning of the hospitality and generosity extended by India and such virtuous offerings have set the foundations for the noble, benevolent and magnanimous work he continues to do for the world at large.”
Referring to the Tibetan struggle based on the principles of truth, non-violence and justice as ‘Made in India struggle,’ Dr. Sangay alluded to the fact that that the success of the Tibetan struggle will both determine and reflect India’s success story. He further added that India has the legitimacy, the privilege and the ability to support, sustain and ensure the success of the Tibetan struggle.
Dr. Sangay also said that it is time that Tibetans publicly express gratitude to the government and people of India and the ‘Thank you India 2018’ campaign is borne out of this endeavour.
International Relations Secretary of Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), Sonam Norbu Dagpo said that with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and under the leadership of the Central Tibetan Administration, Tibetan
people across India will observe the year 2018 with a series of Pan-India events spanning 12 months both on the physical and virtual space to publicly express gratitude to the Government and people of India. “Tibetans will thank India for ensuring the success of the efforts of Tibetan people: promoting its rich ancient culture and unique identity, assuring the viability and sustainability of Tibetan leadership and Tibetan communities, and leading the Tibetan struggle for justice through steadfast commitment to non-violence and dialogue,” said Dagpo.
Dagpo further said that besides the week-long event in Delhi (March 31 – April 7, 2018), similar events will be organized in Bangalore, Shimla and in 20 different cities across India.
Expounding on the week-long Delhi events, Information Secretary of DIIR, Dhardon Sharling said that an interfaith prayer meeting of leaders of different religious faith led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on March 31 at Rajghat will mark an auspicious start to the year-long Thank you India campaign.
“This will be followed by a high-level public event at Thyagaraj Stadium on April 1, which would be graced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The event will feature public addresses by Indian dignitaries, Tibetan cultural performances and is expected to draw over 5000 people. This will kick-start the week-long ‘Thank you India’ festival in Delhi. A three-day Thank you India Tibet Festival at India International Centre (IIC) from April 2 – 4, 2018, aspires to bring Tibetan art, culture, health, history, literature, food and educational activities together at India International Centre. A three-day Little Tibet Festival in the heart of Delhi from April 5 – 7, will showcase the taste of Tibetan food and the cultural and fashionable side to Tibetan apparel and accessories,” said Dhardon. Dhardon further added that a series of individual and mass campaigns will be carried out both on ground and on social media to express gratitude to India.
The individual and mass campaigns to mark the yearlong event are as follows:
May 29, 2018 – Pray for India: On the 15th day of Saka Dawa (Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death), Tibetan monasteries and nunneries across India will observe an interfaith prayer meeting titled ‘Pray for India’ where Buddhist monks along with leaders of different religious tradition and faith will pray for India’s success and wellbeing of the Indian people.
June 5, 2018 – Toward a Green India: On World Environment Day, Tibetans in India will engage in a mass tree plantation drive.
June 21, 2018 – Toward a Healthy India: On International Yoga Day, Tibetans in India will take part in Yoga day events organized by Ministry of Ayush, Government of India.
July 6, 2018 – Feed the Hungry: On the occasion of the 83rd birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetans across India will feed the hungry and the homeless.
October 2, 2018 – Toward a Clean India: On the occasion of the observing of Swachh Bharat day, an initiative of the Indian Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Tibetans in India will initiate a mass cleanliness drive.
December 10, 2018 – Cover the Cold: On the occasion of World Human Rights Day and 29th anniversary of conferment of Noble Peace Prize on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tibetans across India will distribute blankets and warm clothes to the homeless.
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Social media campaign: #thankyouindia2018