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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama sends greetings to "Tibet Festival" in Sikkim

November 9, 2009

November 7, 2009

Gangtok, Sikkim, Nov. 6 -- His Holiness the Dalai
Lama sent his greetings to the first ever Tibet
Festival today in the northeastern Indian state
of Sikkim that has strong cultural and religious
ties with Tibet. The 1989 Nobel peace laureate
said it is befitting that the festival was being
held to coincide with the 50 years of the Tibetan people’s life in exile.

"I too have fond memories of my several visits of
Sikkim. In particular, I have been deeply moved
when undertaking pilgrimage to sacred sites like
Tashiding and Pemayangtse," read the message from
the Tibetan leader who is currently touring
Japan. Mr. Dhondup Dorjee, Tibetan Settlement
Officer of Gangtok, read out the message at the
opening function of the festival today at Kanchenjunga Complex in Gangtok.

His Holiness further writes, "I am therefore
pleased to send my greeting on the occasion of a
Tibet Festival that is being held in Gangtok from
November 6 to 10, 2009 by the Tibetan Community
in Sikkim to express their gratitude to the state
government and the people of Sikkim. It is
befitting that this festival is being held to
coincide with the 50 years of the Tibetan people’s life in exile."

The Tibetan Community of Sikkim in association
with three Tibetan NGOs from Dharamsala are
hosting the event to express the Tibetan people’s
gratitude to the government of India and its
people for 50 years of hospitality.

T.T. Bhutia, the Minister of Transport & Public
Health Engineering, presided over as the chief
guest for the inaugural function, and appreciated
the impressive work put up by the Tibetan
community of Sikkim, and stressed on the
importance of preserving Tibet’s rich cultural
heritage. He also spoke on possible joint venture
between the Tibetan and Sikkimese religious
groups. Since Sikkimese people and Tibetans share
a common religion, he urged, "the young Sikkimese
lamas have much to learn and seek guidance from
Tibetan lamas on the intricacies of Buddhist rituals."

Mr. Karma Yougyal, Organising Secretary of the
Tibet Festival, said, "The festival showcases the
rich cultural identity of Tibet that has been
conserved for the past 50 years in exile with
kind assistance from the Indian government and
its people. It will exhibit the spirit of Tibet in its original form."

Mrs. Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, President of the Tibetan
Women’s Association said, "We take this
opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has provided an
unwavering and visionary leadership for all
Tibetan people everywhere in the world."

"Sikkim has a special place in the hearts of
Tibetan people. The hospitality extended to us is
invaluable," added Mrs. Lhamo.

Lectures and exhibits on Tibet’s environment,
Buddhism, Tibetan medicine, astrology,
traditional music and dance, costumes, crafts,
and cuisine will be showcased at the festival.

Tibetan Women’s Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement
for Tibet, Students for a free Tibet -- India,
U-Tsang Association Gangtok, Dotoe Association
Gangtok, Domey Association Gangtok, Tibetan Youth
Club Gangtok, Tibetan Women’s Association Gangtok
and Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement Gangtok
have jointly arranged the festival that is
expected to draw several thousand people.
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