Sadly for us, the prospect of India recognising the Tibetan authorities in exile died with Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. For the following few years India was extraordinarily cautious to not antagonise China. The Indian authorities didn’t need Tibetans in exile to have interaction in any political exercise that might be construed as anti-Chinese language.
In 1966, when the Indian authorities requested His Holiness to abstain from making any assertion denouncing the Cultural Revolution, he wrote to the International Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh. His Holiness’ letter of 17 September 1966 clearly exhibits his frustration: “We’re at all times grateful to the Authorities of India for all the help prolonged to us and have always averted actions which can trigger embarrassment or inconvenience to the federal government. In view of this, is it not unreasonable to withhold the assertion I had meant to launch? The Tibetan individuals solely rely upon the individuals and the Authorities of India.” This was one of many few events once I was deeply disillusioned with the perspective of Indian leaders regarding Tibet.
In 1972, Swaran Singh made an announcement that ‘the query of sovereignty’ or ‘suzerainty’ in Tibet was a matter for the Chinese language to determine. I used to be shocked and deeply saddened. I felt betrayed. Clearly, India wished to minimize tensions with China. Excessive officers from the Ministry of Exterior Affairs got here to satisfy His Holiness in Dharamsala to dissuade him from making his annual assertion on March 10. He defined that not issuing an announcement, which he had been doing since 1959, can be seen as caving in to Chinese language stress.
Nonetheless, issues modified when the Janata Get together authorities got here into energy in 1977. They weren’t as deferential to China because the earlier authorities, and several other leaders had been overtly sympathetic to the Tibetan trigger. His Holiness’ assembly with Prime Minister Morarji Desai in July 1977 was very cordial. Desai spoke concerning the cultures of India and Tibet and shared that they had been like two branches of the identical tree. The Dalai Lama has typically quoted this phrase.
His Holiness used to frequently name on Indian leaders, and our early years on the Personal Workplace had been spent drafting letters and monitoring correspondence with them. The favored Indian socialist chief, Jayaprakash Narayan, was a staunch supporter of Tibet, as had been George Fernandes, Raj Narain and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who even spoke about Tibetan independence when he was a Member of Parliament. Sadly, Vajpayee later modified his place when he grew to become International Minister, and later Prime Minister. George Fernandes was unwavering in his assist for the Tibetan trigger. He was overtly supportive of the Tibetans even because the Defence Minister within the Vajpayee authorities. In a letter to Fernandes in October 1987, His Holiness wrote, “India has as a lot at stake in the way forward for Tibet as we Tibetans have.”
Rajiv Gandhi grew to become India’s youngest Prime Minister after the assassination of his mom Indira Gandhi in 1984. He was a breath of contemporary air – delicate, light and first rate. My impression of him was confirmed by the best way he handled His Holiness. The Indian authorities’s coverage on Tibet had remained unchanged for over 25 years. His Holiness personally appealed to numerous leaders to assessment this coverage. Nonetheless, nobody appeared to be , besides Rajiv Gandhi who requested His Holiness to ship him a memorandum on the difficulty. His Holiness submitted two. Rajiv Gandhi despatched these to professor ML Sondhi, who was with the Indian Faculty of Worldwide Research at Jawaharlal Nehru College in Delhi. Sadly, Rajiv Gandhi’s tragic demise in 1991 ended all hopes of the Indian authorities adopting a stronger, extra beneficial Tibet coverage.
Excerpted from His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: An Illustrated Biography by Tenzin Geyche Tethong. Printed by Roli Books. Worth Rs 1,295.