When the Dalai Lama Sought Asylum in India


4/21/2017 5:30:23 PM
written By : India Se Editorial Print

A daughter writes about her journalist-father, Naresh Rajkhowa’s biggest newsbreak that shook the world, especially China. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s request to seek asylum in India and his subsequent arrival, 58 years ago.

The life of the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and a universally respected figure, was under threat by the Chinese who had invited him to a cultural performance at their military headquarters without any personal security. The Tibetans sensed trouble and urged him to flee.

On March 17, 1959, the Buddhist leader disguised himself as a soldier and sought asylum in India. He crossed the tough Himalayan terrain on foot, travelling only in the dark to avoid being caught by the Chinese army.

Our writer, Ruma Phukan, takes you behind-the-scenes giving you details about how the letter requesting for asylum arrived and what a journalist does to protect his sources.

The article is of relevance and importance today, 58 years after the landmark event. The recent visit of the Dalai Lama to the Tawang monastery has once again brought to the fore the tenuous relationship India and China share over this spiritual leader.

China has always threatened India with dire consequences over India’s position on Tibet and Tibetans. Beijing has never recognised the McMohan Line of 1914 and has laid claim over parts of Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang. On Wednesday, China announced official names for six places in the northeastern state including Tawang.

A spokesperson for India’s External Affairs Ministry, Gopal Baglay, said, “Assigning invented names to towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal. Arunachal Pradesh is and will always be an integral part of India."

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