It is Friday night, and I'm in Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi's Tibet Colony. I need to get my Delhi-ing all in one location. MT is good for accomodation, but a lousy location with boring food. Paharganj is a good central location but too noisy and crazy.
There's lots of arguments about who should get this year's Bharat Ratna (India's highest civilian honour).
Mostly, it's Indian career politicians arguing about whether their cronies should be nominated.
The Indian Tibet Support Networks as well as other Indian Tibet activists, however, say it should be the man who is, if not the last true Gandhian, certainly the most prominent and beloved example of non-violence living today- HH the Dalai Lama.
The Bharat Ratna need not be given to Indians per se. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.
Seeing as how the Central Indian government, back in November, directed Cabinet ministers NOT to attend a Delhi reception for HH upon his return to India from receiving the US Congressional Medal of Honour, this seems a distant dream.
It seems all the cabinet ministers dutifully stayed away, though one former PM did attend. Here's what Inder Kumar Gujral had to say.
He told the Dalai Lama that India shares the honor of the U.S. medal because it expresses the philosophy of modern India's spiritual father, Mahatma Gandhi.
"This inscription on the medal by itself embodies Gandhi in spirit and Gandhi's message, and your presence. And when the Congress presented it to you we felt honored, because we thought that this was a message which was not only given to you, but to the Indian nation also," he said.The world's most coveted photo opportunity - a shot with the beaming bespectacled monk -
is also the most taboo for politicians.
Come on, guys. What is REALLY going to happen if you do it? China's going to stop sending over crappy plastic toys? flat screen TVs? running shoes maybe?
What were all those decades of anti-imperialism for if you can't stand up to the fastest growing empire?
What good is all the talk of independence and sovereignty if you live in fear of retribution for having your photo taken with India's greatest living saint? You wouldn't let America boss you around like that!
I dare ya! Honour HH Dalai Lama with the Bharat Ratna.
"A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything."