DHARAMSHALA: Tibetans offered special prayers for former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela in Dharamsala on Saturday, as the international community mourned for the passing away of one of the world’s foremost icon of peace and reconciliation.
The special prayer service was organised by the Central Tibetan Administration. Tibetans also offered prayers for all those Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to protest against the Chinese government’s repressive rule in Tibet.
Speaking at the prayer service, Tibetan political leader Dr Lobsang Sangay said that Mandela would be an inspiration to the Tibetans, who were fighting against oppression and injustice.
“It is sad to see him pass away, but it gives us courage that his legacy of equality and justice that prevailed over unjust governments is inspiration for Tibetans,” he said.
Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in his condolence message wrote: “In his death the world has lost a great leader, whose steadfast and unflinching determination played a key role in securing peace and reconciliation during South Africa’s transition from apartheid rule. Under his leadership South Africa was transformed through peaceful means, in the spirit of reconciliation.”
“Although Nelson Mandela had physically departed, his spirit will go on. The best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did,” His Holiness wrote. (Watch video message)
Tributes poured in from across the world. “Quoting an unknown poet that “Here and there, and now and then, God makes a giant among men”, Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said: “President Mandela was one such giant amongst men. Not only did he represent conscience of the world, he also remained a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice long after he had led victory over such ills.”
In his condolence message, US President Barack Obama said: “Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for freedom of others, Mandela transformed South Africa – and moved us all. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings – and countries – can change for better. For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived – a man who history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
The funeral of the former South African president is scheduled for Sunday, 15 December.