The program began with a recitation of prayers by monks from Sera Jey monastery in Bylakuppe followed by a minute’s silence to honour the Tibetan self-immolators.
The chief guest at the program was Dr Bhumo Tsering, Principal of Dalai Lama institute of Higher Studies and Mr Micheal Hubert, President of Indo-Tibetan Friendship society, Chennai Chapter. Other notable guests include Ms Asha Reddy, a long time friend of Tibetan students in Chennai, and Dr Ramu Manivannan, professor of social science along with Mr Jigmey Tsultrim, Coordinator of ITCO.
Dr Ramu Manivannan delivered the introductory remarks of the program wherein he promised Madras University’s academic and intellectual support to the nascent Dalai Lama institute based in Bangalore. He further spoke about the Buddha’s teachings as a pathway towards happiness and lauded Tibetan Buddhism and culture as crucial in the restoration of ethics and morality in the world.
He expressed his sadness at the tragic fate that Tibetans had to endure following the occupation of Tibet by China. At the same time, he explained that he is pleased to see the effective and efficient administration of the Tibetan people and the successful restoration of Tibetan culture over the years. He highlighted the historical bond of friendship shared by Tibet and India fostered by cultural and intellectual exchanges and rebuked China for their brutal attempt to eradicate Tibet from the collective conscience of the world.
Mr Jigme Tsultrim, Co-ordinater of ITCO, in his address, spoke about the objectives of ITCO and explained the activities and functions that they have performed over the years to revitalize Indo-Tibetan affinity.
Dr B Tsering, in her address, expressed her gratitude to the Indian government and public for their immense help to the Tibetan people. Taking her own life story as an example, she explained the Indian government’s assistance without which the rich Tibetan tradition couldn’t have survived. She particularly highlighted His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his vision and Late Indian Prime Minister Pundit Nehru for his political and administrative assistance.
She further thanked Ms Asha Reddy for coming to the program. She explained Ms Asha Reddy as a true friend of the Tibetan people who has supported Tibetan students in Chennai for a long period of time.
Mr Tsewang Dorje, representing the Tibetans of Madras University, delivered the vote of thanks.
The program was followed by cultural performances by artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA).
The Tibet Museum of DIIR presented exhibitions on ‘Indo-Tibetan Relations’ and biography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. They also distributed books on Tibet at free of cost to the visitors.
At least a few hundred people attended the program and visited the exhibitions.
The Thank You India program is a part of the Central Tibetan Administration’s effort to express gratitude to the People and Government of India for their genuine support and concern to the Tibet cause. the program was earier held in various parts of India including Sonipat in Haryana, Malabar Palace in Calicut, Kerala, Nagpur in Maharshatra and Pondicherry etc.