Originally published on the Central Tibetan Administration's official website on August 8, 2011.
DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today said his long-cherished aspiration has been fulfilled, as the Tibetan people put in place Dr. Lobsang Sangay as the democratically elected leader vested with full political authority and responsibility.
Addressing thousands of people at today's swearing-in ceremony of Dr. Lobsang Sangay as the 3rd directly elected Kalon Tripa, His Holiness spoke about his efforts to fully democratise the Tibetan polity in Tibet and later in exile.
His Holiness said Dr. Lobsang Sangay has become the first Tibetan political leader, (Sikyong), elected democratically, and vested with full political authority and responsibility. His Holiness completely handed over his administrative and political powers to the elected Tibet leadership through a democratic process and the amendment of Charter for Tibetans in exile in May this year.
“Today is a proud day for all the Tibetan people who had participated in the democratic elections. My most cherished aspiration has been fulfilled. Most importantly, the Tibetans in exile have taken great initiative and interest, and shouldered huge responsibility to take part in the elections. As a result, we have been able to elect a leader with high standard of modern education. So I would like to thank the general public for their diligent work,” His Holiness said.
“The Tibetans in Tibet are not allowed to even express their views and opinions freely, let alone participate in a democratic election, but I am sure they would be proud of the steps that we have taken towards the future when they hear about it,” His Holiness laments.
His Holiness further said today is also an important day in the more than 2000-year-long history of Tibet. Even during the reign of the three religious kings, Tibet maintained equal stature with its neighboring countries in every field.
His Holiness reiterated that the power lies in the hands of nearly 70 billion people on this earth and not with the kings and religious leaders. “Similarly, in the case of Tibet, the Tibetan people are the masters of Tibet, and not the religious leaders and kings and their heirs. Therefore, I always tell that it is wrong for the religious leaders to hold the political authority.”
His Holiness further said: “I feel proud to be able to implement what I firmly believe and tell others to put into practice my ideology that the world and countries belong to the general populace and the period of keeping control through power is outdated. Moreover, I will get more opportunity to speak strongly since I have implemented what I confidently and consistently emphasise the separation of religion and politics.”
His Holiness also spoke about the difficult times that he has been facing since assuming the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet at the tender of 16. “But still, as the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, I have put my wholehearted efforts to keep the name of Tibet alive in the world. I consider this as a minor achievement,” he added.
“In the last century and the present one, a lot of changes have taken place in the system of democracy. Similarly we, the Tibetan people, have adopted the democratic system and accordingly, I have passed on the political responsibility to Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the democratically elected Kalon Tripa,” His Holiness said.
His Holiness said Kalon Tripa will sincerely lead the administration. "In case there is rational criticism from the members of legislature, administrative staffs and members of non-governmental organisations and the general public, otherwise we have to give utmost importance to our common cause instead of personal matters and one's faction using politics."
“Therefore, it would not be in our interest to think about one's personal fame and gain rather than work for our common cause when Tibet is on the verge of life and death,” His Holiness added.
"Thanking the Tibetan people for their hard work, he urged them to make efforts to forge unity towards realising our common aspiration,” he added.
Braving heavy rain, thousands of Tibetans and well-wishers, including Indian and foreign dignitaries, participated in the swearing-in ceremony with great enthusiasm.