Chennai, Nov 10: Amid ongoing debate over intolerance, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today called for respecting dissent and said secularism denoted respect for all religious beliefs and all the non-believers. "You cannot eliminate all people who disagree (with) you," he said.
Expressing unhappiness that the previous century was filled with too much violence, he said it still continued and termed it as "non-sense." The Nobel peace laureate said secularism denoted respect for all religions and to non-believers as well.
"Of the seven billion people in the world, over one billion are non-believers... one should respect the non-believers as well, as the religious belief of a person is a private business," he said.
In his lecture on 'Human Approach to World Peace' at the IIT Madras, as part of the institute's Extra Mural Lecture series, the Tibetan spiritual leader said India was an example to the rest of the world for its religions harmony.
"Wherever, the Chinese go, there start a China town. Likewise, wherever Indians go, they should start an Indian town, where they should teach the world about religious harmony." On the possibility of a woman being the next Dalai Lama, he said, it was very much possible. "I have said that many times earlier. She should be beautiful.
The face also makes a difference, isn't it?," he said with a laughter, while replying to a query (from the student-audience) on the possibility of a woman Dalai Lama. He said the world would be more peaceful if there were more women head of states.