Tibetans across the globe have invested in democracy and non-violence in their 50-year struggle for autonomy but have not got adequate international support, Lobsang Sangay, the elected leader of the Tibetan people, has said.
Delivering the first annual lecture by the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents here Saturday, Sangay said Tibet was “a lab test” for democracy in the world.
“If it succeeds it would be good example for other marginalised groups, refugee groups,” he said.
He said forces fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria had been projected as heroes by sections of international media. “How come we have not got similar support,” he said.
“It is a test for the international community. We have been democratic for the last 50 years. If it is the right thing to do, we ought to be supported. If non-violence is the right thing to do, we ought to be supported,” he said.
Sangay said they wanted the international community to press China to start dialogue to resolve the Tibet issue.
He said the Tibetan “movement” was “very much made in India” and was being led by India-born Tibetan leaders.
Describing Tibetans’ relationship with India as that of disciple and guru, he said: “If chela (disciple) fails, it will reflect on guru as well.”
Sangay said Buddhism followed by Tibetans was of the Nalanda tradition and people followed non-violence propagated by Mahatma Gandhi.
He said the Dalai Lama should be “a key component” of the proposed Nalanda International University as he was “the most learned guru of the Nalanda tradition”.
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, came to India in 1959 fleeing his Himalayan homeland.
Sangay said democracy and freedom struggle traditionally called for different values but the Tibetan movement had been based on democratic ethos.
“The most important aspect of freedom struggle is single voice, unity and single leader. In democracy, you ought to have diversity, freedom of speech and opposition leaders. The two are inherently contradictory,” said Sangay, a Harvard-educated scholar.
Sangay, who took over political duties from the Dalai Lama in 2011, said the legitimacy of the Buddhist monk had been extended to the newly-elected leaders.