Reacting to the increasing dialogue on “intolerance” in the country, the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said the Indian Constitution stressed on secularism and religious freedom.
Speaking at the launch of Tawazun India, a city-based thinktank that focuses on “counter extremism”, here on Sunday, he said India was the best example of religious tolerance, where non-violence and religious harmony was propagated as early as 3,000 years ago. Stressing on the need to educate the young in secularism and teach them the “goodness of being peaceful”, he said secular ethics should be part of modern education. He said the attack on people in Paris was a setback to people in France, but a strong will among the multi-religious population in Europe should prevail and the elders should tell the young about peaceful existence.
“I have observed ‘secular disrespect’ in the West… There are mischievous people in all faiths. The perception of Islam is wrong; it is a peaceful community,” he argued.
At the NIAS (National Institute of Advanced Studies) Distinguished Fellow Lecture at the institute later on Sunday evening, the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan Buddhists had preserved “ancient Indian knowledge” while the modern society here had reduced it to “rituals and prayers” or harboured negativity to ways of the old.
“It is now time for us to give back the knowledge as many young Indians are interested in reconnecting with 1,000-year-old knowledge. We (Tibetans) were chelas (disciples) of Indian philosophy in the 8th century, and now in the 21st century, it is us who will be the gurus (teachers),” he said.
With the younger generation among the nearly 10,000 Tibetans living in Bylakuppe learning the regional languages, the Dalai Lama believed the interactions between locals and the students were increasing. “There is now even an exchange of knowledge between a Tibetan college and Tumakuru University,” he said.