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India should focus on development of villages: Dalai Lama


By – Shyamal Sinha

“India’s prosperity depends on the development of villages instead of developing big cities. So, the journey of development should start from rural areas of the country,” the Dalai Lama told a gathering at Turnal village of Dewas district in Madhya Pradesh.

He was here to participate in the ongoing ‘Namami Devi Narmade-Sewa Yatra,’ which is aimed at conserving Narmada river.

Namami Devi Narmade” Narmada Seva Yatra will start on 11 December 2016 from origin place of Narmada river, Amarkantak. It will cover 1831 km on southern bank comprising of 548 villages/towns and 1513 km on northern bank comprising of 556 village/towns, thus covering 3344 km in 144 days. The yatra will be completed on 11 May 2017.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Narmade-Sewa Yatra in Turnal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Lobsang Tsering/OHHDL

“India is predominantly an agriculture-based economy and rural India must be transformed for the country’s development.

“The focus should be on developing basic facilities like health and education in rural areas. All the basic requirements of the people should be made available in the villages. India will transform only through the rural transformation,” the Dalai Lama said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also stressed the need for greater participation of women in different fields.

“The women are more sensitive and full of compassion. Their enhanced participation will make the world a better place as they can ensure promoting deeper human values,” he said.

While lauding the river conservation campaign launched by MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who also participated in the programme, the Dalai Lama said the people should think holistically as far as global warming was concerned.

“The environment has been changing across the world. Our approach should be holistic. CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been making efforts for conservation of river Narmada. People should actively participate in such campaigns to make them successful,” he said.

“The Narmada is a lifeline for at least 30% of Madhya Pradesh. Though the government is involved in this yatra, it is not a government programme. I wish to treat it as a public movement with the involvement of religious leaders, social workers, villagers, public representatives, writers, littérateurs and journalists on. I want to create public awareness about the conservation of Narmada. Hence, I would like people to make most of the arrangements during the yatra. Government would play its role only when required,” C M  said

Members of the gathering listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Narmade-Sewa Yatra in Turnal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Lobsang Tsering/OHHDL

The Tibetan spiritual leader said, “Our ancestors were living here on the earth. Our future generation will live here. We need to save water, carry out plantations.”

He said the people across the world have been facing problems due to racism and apartheid.

“We need to be united against the discrimination and atrocities. The racism and apartheid are behind most of the social problems across the world. Every person in the world wants to live in peace and happiness,” he added.

The Dalai Lama said the basic needs of all seven billion people of the world like water and food were same despite the technology revolution.

Violence, Starvation Exist Due to Negligence, Rich-Poor Gap: Dalai Lama

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India 19 March 2017 (PTI): A lot of problems, mainly violence and starvation, exist due to negligence and a “huge gap” between the rich and the poor, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Sunday.

During his address on the “art of happiness”, the monk said that harmony among different faiths exists in India, which is unique in world.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking on The Art of Happiness in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Chemey Tenzin/OHHDL

“All religions peacefully live together (in India). Occasionally, there are some problems mainly due to politicians…So that also is understandable. (There are) some mischievous persons in human beings (sic),” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein, evoking peals of laughter.

Acknowledging existence of strife, he said, “(In) today’s world, (there are) lot of problems…From the major disasters (which are) beyond control. But many problems, mainly violence, killing and starvation, are due to negligence and (due to) a huge gap between the rich and the poor.”

The Dalai Lama hailed the peaceful co-existence of various faiths in India.

“Bharat, this country..I think (since) over 2000 years, besides homegrown religions, Christianity, Islam from outside have coexisted peacefully and remained…I think that is unique. This does not exist in any other country,” he said.

The Tibetan spiritual head appealed to Indians to show to outside world that different traditions can thrive together.

He advocated religious harmony in the midst of strife over beliefs in world.

A member of the audience asking His Holiness the Dalai Lama a question during his talk in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on March 19, 2017. Photo by Chemey Tenzin/OHHDL

“All religions preach love and compassion. No religion says that God is full of anger. The God is full of love. We are children of such a compassionate father (God). Basis of all religions is harmony.. Mutual respect,” he added.

Observing that violence, killing and starvation are man-made, the Dalai Lama said, “We human being ourselves have created all this. So either we just ignore or make some effort. But any sensible human being cannot ignore. Therefore, ignoring is perfectly wrong…Remaining indifferent (to the problems) is wrong,” he said.

Stating that religions act like medicines that destroy diseases, the Dalai Lama said, “I never say that Buddhism is the best religion.”

He underlined the need of such education system that will be based on secularism, inner values, love and compassion, and not on any religion.

“Existing education system is materialistic which is not adequate..My first Guru to teach love was my mother. My mother was very kind. I never saw her angry, unlike my father who was short-tempered,” he recalled.

At times, I use to pull his moustache and he used to beat me up, the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said love and affection start from bosom of mother.

“Mother cuddles her newborn child and the infant starts reciprocating love. People who don’t get this love get angry and (they) grow up with mistrust, according to studies,” the Dalai Lama said, adding that happiness cannot be bought in any supermarket.

He lauded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for creating a department of Happiness last year.

Observing that “varna dharma” is outdated,” he said that the caste-based system was based on a feudal mindset and was aimed at exploiting farmers.

He recalled instances of ill treatment meted out to members of so-called lower castes in India in past.

“…Now time has come for different spiritual leaders to create a voice that all are equal…Dr B R Ambedkar had made great contribution..Wonderful,” he said.