New Delhi: India Tibet Friendship Society (ITFS) in collaboration with Lohia Academy, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha organised the First Rabi Ray Memorial Lecture and Rabi Ray Award Ceremony in New Delhi on 26 March 2023. The program was held at India Islamic Cultural Center (Lodhi Road), New Delhi.
Shri Prafulla Samant Ray, Trustee, Lohia Academy, Bhubaneshwar who is also a noted environmentalist and a senior member of ITFS chaired the First Rabi Ray Memorial Lecture.
Dr. Anand Kumar, ITFS President gave the introduction, perspective and context of the lecture highlighting the significance of late Rabi Ray’s life and his contributions together with the role in the Tibetan freedom movement.
Shri S. N. Sahu, Press Secretary to Former President K. R. Narayanan presented a profile of late Rabi Ray with anecdotes from his life when Rabi Ray was active in politics and was the speaker of Lok Sabha.
The keynote speaker for the occasion was Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli, Dean, School of International Studies, JNU who spoke on the insights of Tibet in India-China relations. He shared the recent developments in regard to the Tibet issue and India’s approach in regard to Tibet. He said that like USA, India should pass a bill on Tibet and adopt clear cut policy on the reincarnation of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Expressing his view, he felt that Indian Government should reshape Tibet policy in the interest of India. He also said that the demand for conferring Bharat Ratna to His Holiness the Dalai Lama is coming from various forums.
Dr. Madhuri Sondhi, long time Tibet Supporter and wife of late Dr. M. L. Sondhi (also an ardent Tibet supporter) was presented the Rabi Ray Award for her and her late husband’s contribution towards the Tibetan cause. In her address, she mentioned about her first contact with Tibet and Tibetans, meeting Dr. M. L. Sondhi in the course of Tibet and the Tibetan movement she has been involved since long.
Shri Devi Prasad, Secretary, Lohia Academy, Bhubaneshwar; Shri Surendra Kumar, ITFS Vice President; Dr. Manoj Kumar, ITFS General Secretary; Smt. Jyotsna Roy, ITFS Treasurer; Dr. Anil Thakur, President, ITFS Delhi; Shri Sanjay Rai, Secretary, ITFS Delhi; Vetaran Tibet Supporter Shri Shyam Gambhir and other Tibet supporters were present at the program.
Tibetan representatives from India Tibet Coordination Office, New Delhi and Samyeling Tibetan Settlement, Majnu-ka-tilla were also in attendance.
Dr. Anil Thakur, President, ITFS Delhi offered the vote of thanks.
A brief note on late Rabi Ray
Rabi Ray was an ardent Tibet supporter. Born in an affluent rural family of Odisha in 1926, educated at Rowensha College in Cuttack and was President of College Student Union. He was expelled and arrested for removing Union Jack and hoisting the Indian national flag in 1946. Joined Young Socialist League and appointed National Joint Secretary in 1953, joined Socialist Party of Dr. Lohia in 1956. Late Rabi Ray was a Member of Lok Sabha in 1967, 1977 & 1989; also a member of All Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet (APIPFT); Union Minister of Health in 1978 and Speaker of Lok Sabha from 1989 – 1991. He was President of India Tibet Friendship Society since 1997 till his passing away in 2017. He established Lohia Academy in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.
-Report filed by ITCO