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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Capital City Journal, January 17 2009

The Dalai Lama Lecture

At the annual Madhavarao Scindia Memorial Lecture today, the featured speaker was the Dalai Lama, who was to speak on "Non Violence: A Strategic Tool." The monk dissociated himself from the "strategic tool" aspect of the speech and went on to deliver a series of unscripted bromides. His rambling address would have gone down well in Santa Monica, California or in Hollywood, where he has acolytes like Richard Gere.

But on a cloudy afternoon, in Teen Murti House in Delhi's Diplomatic Enclave, before an audience that included India's power elite, the Dalai Lama's speech was applauded in the sycophantic manner that is common in such audiences. He has an infectious laugh, a personable interpreter he uses to great effect and plays his audience like a finely-tuned stringed instrument. Summed up, his message was as follows:
  • Non violence would be unnecessary if there was no violence.
  • Dialogue is the key to avoiding violence.
  • Violence can be avoided if you can instill compassion in the hearts of people.
  • Given the religious diversity of India, only secular values can help avoid violence.
  • India is a net exporter of non violence.
  • It needs to push non violence at home.
Like Jim Morrison of The Doors, the monk said love is the answer. It's a wonder the audience that applauded several times did not break out spontaneously into the signature Beatles tune, "All You Need is Love."

A very dear friend of mine, who is a highly-regarded technocrat, put his arm around me after the event and asked me if I, like him, thought the afternoon was a waste of time.

In the event, there is no hope for a free Tibet; the Dalai Lama is a creation of the Indian establishment and a darling of angst-ridden celebrities all over the world. The Chinese have nothing to fear.

copyright rajiv desai 2009