Bengaluru: Within 48 hours of branding India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as "self-centred," Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama apologized, saying that "my statement has created a controversy, I apologise if I have said something wrong." Speaking at a function in the IT capital to commemorate 60 years of the Tibetan government in exile, the Dalai Lama who said he had known Mr. Nehru personally, attempted to walk back from the outcry in the Congress against his criticism of India's first prime minister by lavishing praise on Mr. Nehru's move to help find a home for the thousands of Tibetan refugees who flooded into India.
The 83-year-old monk said Pandit Nehru fully backed the creation of Tibetan settlements across the country. He told the audience at a function organised by Central Tibetan Administration Bengaluru here on Friday that it was Nehru's idea to set up a separate Tibetan school as part of the settlement to help preserve Tibetan arts and culture.
"Immediately, he set up a committee headed by the union education minister...at that time, we wrote to different states for the allocation of some land," the Dalai said at an event called 'Thank You Karnataka.' "The best response came from the Mysore state,” he said. “One major factor was late Nijalingappa, who extraordinarily showed concern for the Tibetan cause. He promised me he will support the Tibetan cause," the Dalai Lama added.
Then Karnataka chief minister S Nijalingappa allocated land at four different locations which resulted in five Tibetan settlements being set up in the southern state. On Wednesday, responding to a question posed by a student at an interaction held at the Goa Institute of Management in North Goa's Sanquelim village, the Dalai Lama had said Nehru had a "self-centred attitude" to become India's first prime minister even though Mahatma Gandhi was in favour of Muhammad Ali Jinnah taking the top post at that time.
“I felt pity when I heard that Mahatma Gandhi was opposed to Partition... There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan, but past is past,” the Dalai Lama said. He then claimed India's partition would not have happened if Mahatma Gandhi's wish of Jinnah becoming the prime minister had materialised. "Mahatma Gandhi wanted to give the prime ministership to (Mohammad Ali) Jinnah. But Nehru refused. He was self-centred. He said, “I wanted to be Prime Minister'. India and Pakistan would have been united (had Jinnah been made Prime Minister at the time). Pandit Nehru is very experienced. But mistakes do happen,” the Dalai Lama said.
The Tibetan spiritual leader had spelt out the Nehru analogy in response to a question from a student who sought to know from the Tibetan leader, about how one could be sure-footed about one's decisions and how to avoid committing mistakes in life. The Congress took umbrage at his statement with Congress leader Manish Tewari rebutting the Dalai Lama's claims to say, “With great respect, his Holiness Dalai Lama is wrong that Nehru was self-centred and therefore, opposed Gandhi's suggestion of making Jinnah, Prime Minister of India. The historical record suggests otherwise. May be it would be worth his while to peruse this link."
Ruing that India has lost the 'Nalanda tradition', Tibetan spiritual leader expressed his commitment to revive ancient knowledge of Indian. The Tibetan spiritual leader emphasised that modern India needed this ancient knowledge and hence, it should be revived. The Dalai Lama said in the 7th century a Tibetan emperor introduced the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism based on reason and logical conclusion and had the Sanskrit texts translated into Tibetan language in 300 volumes. He rued that India has lost the Nalanda tradition. "My commitment is to revive the ancient Indian knowledge in modern India. We have already started some steps, some progress." Nalanda was the biggest monastery and Buddhist learning centre which was destroyed by medieval-era invaders....