Revered by the Tibetans as a 'living god' and idolised in the Orient and the West, elderly Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama transcends all barriers of religion, language and even distances. The world's most respected spiritual leader is turning 85 on July 6 and his followers have lined up global virtual celebrations to dedicate him the 'Year of Gratitude'.
However, social media has its eyes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account to see if he will extend birthday wishes to His Holiness.
This comes after geostrategist and author Brahma Chellaney pointed it out on the micro blogging site that since the PM has been wishing all world leaders on their special day, shouldn’t he do the same for Dalai Lama, especially given the ongoing tension amid India and China.
He wrote, ".@narendramodi has long been tweeting birthday greetings. Today, he wished UP's chief minister happy birthday. Tomorrow the Dalai Lama turns 85. Amid China's aggression, shouldn't Modi wish His Holiness happy birthday on Twitter, if not meet him in person?"
Not to mention, certain leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party already wished the Tibetan leader.
The spiritual leader in a video message from his abode here asked his followers that it was not possible for a large number of people to hold a big celebration because of restrictions due to the pandemic.
Born on July 6, 1935, at Taktser hamlet in north-eastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.
In 1959, the occupying Chinese troops suppressed the Tibetan national uprising in Lhasa and forced the Dalai Lama and over 80,000 Tibetans into exile in India and neighbouring countries.
On reaching India after a three-week-long treacherous journey, the Dalai Lama first took up residence for about a year in Mussoorie in Uttarakhand.
On March 10, 1960 just before moving to Dharamsala, which also serves as the headquarters of the exiled Tibetan establishment, the Dalai Lama had said: "For those of us in exile, I said that our priority must be resettlement and the continuity of our cultural traditions. We, Tibetans, would eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet."
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent campaign for democracy and freedom in his homeland. However, the Chinese view him as a hostile element bent on splitting Tibet from China.
Currently, India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans and the government-in-exile, which has never won recognition from any country.