Dharamsala, Feb 11: Fifty-six years in exile in India and still longing for his homeland: Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said the spirit of Tibetans in Tibet is still very strong.
The 79-year-old pontiff made the remark Tuesday while interacting with his community in Trondheim in Norway.
Reminding the Chinese that as they love their culture, the Tibetans love their culture too and seek to preserve it. He said, "The Chinese also follow the Nalanda tradition, but not as rigorously as we do."
"While young Chinese today can't even read their classical Buddhist texts, we can elaborate the different philosophical points of view. This is something to be proud of," his official website quoted him as saying.
The Dalai Lama said: "A Chinese friend reported to me how tough they have become. This is because of the hardline policies they encounter. It is this narrow-minded hardline that stokes their sense of being separate from the Chinese."
Taking an optimistic view, the Nobel Peace Laureate said, "Things are changing in China. There will be an opportunity for us to return to our homeland. We have all worked hard and that day will dawn. Do not lose heart."
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 into 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 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 Tibetan exile administration is based in this northern Indian hill town.