Multi-religious India an example for conflict-torn Syria: Dalai Lama

Panaji, Dec 11: India should play a more active role in promotion of religious harmony to serve as an example to countries with other religious traditions and conflicts, like Syria and Afghanistan, said His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday, even as heated political debate over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continued in the Rajya Sabha.

Speaking at a lecture on ‘The relevance of Ancient Nalanda Teachings in our Modern Times’ organised by the Goa University here, the Dalai Lama also said, that violence between Sunni and Shia sects of Islam in India was unheard of, because Indian Muslims from childhood are aware of different religious institutions, unlike those in countries where Islam is the only faith.

His comments came as the Narendra Modi government at the Centre sought to move the legislation that will provide refuge to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains fleeing religious persecution from the officially Islamic Pakistan and Afghanistan and Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

“So, India should take more active role for promotion of religious harmony, to show countries with different religious tradition and some conflict. It is very unfortunate, unthinkable, all these different traditions in spite of different philosophy, but all carries same message of love,” the 14th Dalai Lama said, during an interactive session after his lecture.

The spiritual Tibetan leader, also lauded India’s which has a several thousand-year-old tradition of being a home to different religions.

“This country, India, has different homegrown religions. In this country, I have never heard a complaint between Sunni and Shia. Our next neighbour Afghanistan, (there is a) problem and Syria…. (there is a) problem because of Sunni and Shia killing each other,” the Dalai Lama also said, while drawing a parallel between violence in Burma between Buddhists and Muslims.

He also said, that India had an advantage of being a land where several religious co-existed with each other for a long time.

“That is one advantage. From childhood, Indian mind (is aware) there are many religions. So a concept of several religions, several truths is there. Those isolated countries, some Muslim countries (where there is) only one truth, one religion, the problem started. (In an) individual case, concept of one truth, one religion is good in order to keep your faith centre-pointed, very good. But in terms of society that impossible,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

“So in terms of society, several truths, several religions are reality. We must accept that. So in this country, Indian Muslim from childhood, they already know there are different institutions, than those countries (where there is) only Muslim religion, Islam,” the Dalai Lama said.