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'China Cloud Over Lama Lecture'
(By Anupam Dasgupta | DNA | September 22, 2005)

Bombay:Intervention by the Chinese Consulate in Mumbai has put a question mark on the fate of a religious lecture session in the city scheduled for September 27 and to be addressed by a Tibetan senior Lama. Officials of the Dharma Rain Education Society - a registered organisation - promoting understanding of various spiritual traditions including Buddhism and which organised the lecture session said the deputy consul-general of China in Mumbai Mr Song Yumin called them up and asked them to cancel the programme.

The talk will be given by the Ven Geshe Lakhdor-la, director of the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Dharmashala, Himachal Pradesh. Geshe Lakhdor-la is also the official translator of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. "The diplomat said the lecture session should be cancelled immediately as it would tantamount to political interference in the affairs of China," Aspi B Mistry, secretary of the society has alleged. Mistry was a software consultant and NGO activist who was attracted to the Buddhist philosophy.

A staffer at the Chinese Consulate said Yumin was out and would return only Friday morning. "You can only talk to him tomorrow morning," one of the consulate staff said. It may be recalled that last year, as a result of a similar controversy following alleged Chinese pressures, the Asian Film Festival organisers were compelled to withdraw a retrospective section on Tibet from being screened.

Recounting the incident, Mistry said: "Dy C-G Song called on my cell and started inquiring about my relations with the functionaries of the Friends of Tibet (India). I objected to this and even invited Mr Song to personally come and listen to the lecture session to clear his doubts. Moreover the Friends of Tibet is a different conglomerate altogether and is not prescribed." The session, planned at the KC College auditorium, will deal with the topic: "Combining Head and Heart: Wisdom and Compassion in Tibetan Buddhism."

CA Kallianpur, national coordinator for the Friends of Tibet (India) said: "This is ridiculous. The Chinese Consulate should first understand how the Dharma Rain Education Society operates. Theirs is solely a religious mission devoid of any political connotation."

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