City gets set to welcome Dalai Lama

by S D Desai ,TNN, Jan 16, 2008

AHMEDABAD, India -- In words, action and attitude, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, kindles memories of Mahatma Gandhi. Saying that Tibet’s "freedom struggle is based on non-violence", the Nobel Peace Laureate (1989) adds, "If we do not have truth on our side, we will have no alternative but to keep suffering." His stress for freedom is on knowledge. "Schools, even if set up by the Chinese," he says, "are good."

The presence of this towering Tibetan leader, who combines spiritual and temporal powers, at Darpana Academy’s annual festival for non-violence assumes significance. In exile, he has been in India since 1959. There will be opportunities of listening to him at two places as part of the festival. His public talk will be at Indian Institute of Management (2.00 pm, January 18) and at Gujarat Vidyapeeth (3.30 pm, January 19).

Jointly organized, on Alliance Francaise’s director Annick Chandra Pele’s idea, by Darpana and Kanoria Centre for Arts, the Tibetan Festival brings to Ahmedabad a Tibetan dance and music performance, four noteworthy films, including ‘Compassion in Exile’, a Thangka paintings exhibition-cum-workshop, a rare opportunity, as well as photo exhibitions ‘A Long Look Homeward’ and ‘His Holiness the Dalai Lama’. Besides, there will be authentic lectures on ‘Tibetan Medicine’, ‘Tibetan History’ and ‘Science and Buddhism’.

In short, glimpses of the rich culture of snow-capped Tibet, the beautiful land of the followers of Buddhism, can be had at the festival during the week (January 16 to 20). Underlying the images of this ancient culture is its struggle today to survive. "We are a nation," the Dalai Lama once observed, "with an ancient culture, which now faces the threat of extinction."