Dalai Lama Calls for Disarmament to Pave Way for Global Peace

November 20th 2010

New Delhi, India, 19 November 2010 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Friday called for a violence-free world emphasizing the need to demilitarize the world. “But before we work for universal disarmament, we must first go through internal disarmament,” he said while delivering a lecture on ‘Human Approach to World Peace’ at the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS). The lecture was organised as part of the silver jubilee year of the institute.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi, India, on November 19th, 2010. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
His Holiness said human intelligence can be a source of progress as well as organized violence as has been amply demonstrated by history. In the last century, he said over 200 million lives were lost in war and bloodshed adding if nuclear weapons were not used to justify organised or legalized violence, then there may be some justification for their development.

He said it is unfathomable how a person who kills another is called a murderer and someone who kills thousands of people in legalized violence such as war is called hero when in fact, he ought to be called a great murderer.

Rather than learning from history, today billions of money are spent on developing nuclear weapons when pressing human problems like poverty are left unsolved at national as well as global level, he said. There is a need to educate people, create awareness on such issues, he added.

Small acts of kindness and convictions go a long way in making a world of difference, he said. “Some people when confronted with many global problems often feel helpless and discouraged,” he said. “That’s a mistake. The initiative must come from individuals.”     
His Holiness said the very nature of violence is unpredictable and in the new global reality where economic and environmental issues have rendered conventional boundaries irrelevant, there is a need to cultivate the spirit of dialogue, compromise, and transparency in finding solutions to disagreements and pressing global problems.

“That’s the human way of approach to peace,” His Holiness said. “We Tibetans have adopted this approach to find a mutually agreeable solution to the Tibetan problem through dialogue.”

Responding to questions from the audience, he expressed his conviction in the power of ideas. “If based on truth, justice and compassion, these ideas can bring positive results in the long run,” he said citing Costa Rica’s approach at demilitarization as an example.

Asked how the world should deal with the likes of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and Taliban’s Mullah Omar, His Holiness dismissed the notion of bringing about peace through war. At the time of 9/11 attacks on New York’s Twin Towers, there was one Bin Laden, but now there probably are more, he said.

Before delivering the lecture, His Holiness unveiled a portrait of George Fernandes, a lifelong socialist and former Indian Defence Minister at the institute.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama unveils a portrait of George Fernandez, at the Institute of Social Sciences in New Delhi, India, on November 19th, 2010. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
In his welcome address, ISS director George Mathew said George Fernandes has been a relentless campaigner for the cause the Dalai Lama has stood throughout. For the institute, George Fernandes has been a great source of inspiration and support since the time it was only an idea, Mr. Mathew said.

“When I told George in 1984 about establishing an institution, he readily encouraged me.  He gave me Rs 50,000, which he had collected from the trade unions in Bombay and that was the financial foundation of this Institute which began with a 3-member staff  in a rented apartment in South Delhi in 1985,’’ Mr. Mathew recalled.

Dr. UR Ananthamurthy, chairman of the institute and a leading luminary in the new literature movement in Kannada language expressed hope that like Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, His Holiness will also see freedom soon. “You will get your Tibet too because truth triumphs.”

The Institute of Social Sciences, founded in 1985, was the result of an intellectual quest to provide socially relevant and activism-oriented research and aims to study contemporary social, political and economic issues, with an inter-disciplinary perspective. The Institute makes its research findings and recommendations available to government bodies, policy makers, social scientists and workers’ organizations so as to widen their options for action.


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