Dalai Lama gets Mahatma Gandhi peace prize

Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Jan 4 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Wednesday received the Mahatma Gandhi peace prize from the father of the nation’s granddaughter Ela Gandhi in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya where he is currently attending a Buddhist ceremony.

‘His Holiness Dalai Lama received the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation of 2011 from Gandhiji’s granddaughter. The award was announced by Ela in South Africa on Gandhi Jayanti (Oct 2),’ Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, told IANS.

The Dalai Lama Sunday opened the Kalachakra puja, being held for world peace, at the Buddhist holy site of Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from Patna.

The elderly monk thanked the Gandhi Development Trust for the award, saying it is special to him ‘because of the significance of the venue (Bodh Gaya) and the 3,000-year-old Indian tradition of non-violence that Gandhiji represents’.

‘Gandhiji imbibed the age-old Indian tradition of non-violence and used it to fight for India’s independence,’ said a statement of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), based in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, quoting the Dalai Lama.

‘I too have lived my life following non-violence and will continue to live my life according to the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence,’ he said.

Ela, who has come from South Africa for the ceremony, said she was honoured to present the award to the Dalai Lama here, a sacred place of pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world.

The Mahatma Gandhi award was earlier given to the Dalai Lama in October in South Africa during former archbishop Desmond Tutu’s birthday celebrations.

However, the 76-year-old spiritual guru called off his South Africa trip as it was ‘inconvenient’ for the government there to grant him a visa.

After the Nobel Peace Prize winner called off his visit, Tutu was quoted as saying in Cape Town: ‘Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government.’