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24 January, 2015

"no one can fill the shoes of the Dalai Lama"

An interview with Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile was published by The Diplomat, premier international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region. A portion of the interview centered around the question of whether or not the institution of Dalai Lama should continue following the death of the XIVth Dalai Lama.

Recently, the Dalai Lama said that the institution of Dalai Lama should end with him. He was quoted as saying that it would be better that the institution of Dalai Lama goes rather than an incompetent person take over.

I think he often says that. Logically, what he is saying is that it is better to have a popular Dalai Lama. People [are more likely to] remember the institution with a popular Dalai Lama than with some nondescript Dalai Lama. But the institution of the Dalai Lama has been very successful. If you read the history of all the Dalai Lamas almost all have been successful. Unfortunately, between the 8th and 12th the Dalai Lamas did not live long. Almost all the Dalai Lamas have left a strong legacy. So long as the Dalai Lama lives long the legacy will be good.

Still, do you fear what comes after this Dalai Lama?

Obviously no one can fill the shoes of the Dalai Lama. That is a given. He is a global statesman, a Nobel Laureate of international stature. But then this is about Tibet and the Tibetan people. Tibet as a nation at the roof of the world, the Tibet plateau will be there. The Tibetan people will be there to continue the struggle. It is certain that we will continue like any other conventional movement. The 15th Dalai Lama will be there. The younger generation is more talented, more skillful, more educated. We will be strong.

Some analysts say that the Chinese government is waiting for the present Dalai Lama to disappear from the scene so that it can negotiate a final settlement with a pliant new Dalai Lama.

That strategy is wrong because whenever you reach an agreement, it has to be delivered to the people. How you do that? With His Holiness the Dalai Lama whatever agreement you reach with him the absolute majority of Tibet should agree with that. Then we will follow the Dalai Lama’s direction and implementation would also be effective. Now if you are waiting for a scenario where actually you don’t have anyone to deal with then it would be more problematic. An agreement is not a piece of paper, an agreement has to be implemented.

• Read the entire interview at The Diplomat website
• Image Credit: Western Connecticut State University Peggy Stewart via

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