BENGALURU: When the 14th Dalai Lama was on his ten day visit to Karnataka, one institute waited longingly for him.
Set up in 2008 as a teachers’ training centre, the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education is the only Tibetan institute in the world for higher education. Here, those in exile and regular students can enrol for regular and specialised undergraduate programmes.
Although having been established years ago, the institution awaited His Holiness to inaugurate the establishment and address its first batch of undergraduates.
It was the Dalai Lama’s third visit to the institution, the first being in 2009 when the institute had not received a university recognition, but the foundation stone was being laid. This visit was the first official inaguration of the 45 acre institution that currently hosts 316 Tibetan students, primarily from Tibetan Children’s Village, Himachal Pradesh. About 2000 Tibetans and donors attended the inaguration.
The institution is located in Sheshagirihally in Bengaluru but the university was recognized by the University of Mysore in April 2013. The first batch of students graduated this June.
“When I first took charge of the institution in 2012, my first attempt was to get the college recognised by the University. I approached the Bangalore University, but since they were facing internal problems with the absence of Vice-Chancellor, the proceedings could not take place. I was then introduced to Mysore University and it came to my knowledge that they offer recognition for the specialised course and since we have two specialised courses: namely Chinese language and literature and Tibetan language and literarture, we decided to opt for University of Mysore,” says Dr B Tsering, principal of the Dalai Lama Institute for Higher Education.
The 14th Dalai Lama received honorary doctorate from the Mysore varsity along with Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, wife of late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar.
“His Holiness has a very tight schedule. Whenever we find opportunity, we invite him. This time His Holiness arrived before 9:30 am for the inaguration and he left after 1:30 pm,” added Tsering.
There were no cultural programme as such, but a traditional Tibetan song was sung for the opening ceremony.
Dr Tsering adds that Dalai Lama’s address to the institute revolved around drawing parallels between science and Buddhist philosophy. “His Holiness said that the scientists’ search for the truth is the same as Buddhist philosophy’s search for the truth,” she said.
She also adds that he did not forget to thank the former Chief Minister of the state, S Nijalingappa and described him to be “ the most generous of the Chief Ministers who responded to Prime Minister Nehru’s plea for land to settle Tibetan refugees.” Dr B Tsering herself grew up in Bylakuppe, the first ever Tibetan exile settlement located roughly 80 km from Mysore. “The students had only a day to prepare for the event. The weather was really bad because of the cyclone, but everything was neatly done that day and we were able to host the event outdoors,” added Tsering.
He was accompanied by Karnataka Home Minister, Dr G Parmeshwar and University of Mysore Vice-Chancellor KS Rangappa for the official inaguration of the institute.
“The inaguration could finally take place since the construction was complete. The timing was perfect,” says NorzinDickyi, faculty member of the institute.