Bengaluru, Aug 10: The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Friday regretted blaming former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and thanked him for sheltering thousands of exiled Tibetans after they fled from their motherland.
“My statements (on Nehru) have created a controversy. I apologise if I said something wrong,” the 83-year-old Nobel laureate told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
Speaking to the students at the Goa Institute of Management at Sanquelim in north Goa on August 8, the Dalai Lama had said: “Mahatma Gandhi wanted to give the prime ministership to (Mohammad Ali) Jinnah. But Nehru refused. He was self-centred. He said, ‘I wanted to be Prime Minister’. India and Pakistan would have been united (had Jinnah been made Prime Minister at the time)”.
The Dalai Lama, however, apologised for the remarks on Friday and thanked Nehru for supporting the Tibetans’ cause when thousands of them, including monks, fled their motherland after China annexed the mountain country in 1950.
“I had a close relationship with Nehru, who suggested to have separate schools to preserve the Tibetan thought. He (Nehru) supported the Tibetans’ cause,” the 14th Dalai Lama said.
He was addressing “Thank You Karnataka” event here, a part of “Thank You India – 2018”, organised by the Central Tibetan Administration to mark its community’s 60 years of exile in the country.
The Dalai Lama, who was recognised at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso, fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.
The Tibetans, who were demoralised after turning into refugees in India, grew confident over the years with the help they got from the country to make their living, the Dalai Lama said.
Eventually, Tibetans found support from other countries like the US, Canada and others, he added.