The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on April 19, 2023, held a meeting with the religious leaders from different minority communities in order to discuss the issue of circulation of an unidentified video of the Dalai Lama on the internet. The video shows him kissing a child on his lips as the latter leaned in to pay his respects.
The viral video has already evoked mix responce on social media as netizens expressed their disappointment and outrage over the incident. On the other hand, some have come in support of the religious leader through protests and marches in Leh, Ladakh and Kargil. In the follow up to the incident, the Dalai Lama apologized on social media April 10, 2023.
The meeting was presided over by the Chairman, NCM, Iqbal Singh Lalpura. Vice Chairman, Kersi Kaikhushroo Deboo and members including Dhanyakumar Jinappa Gunde, Rinchen Lhamo, Syed Shahezadi and apart from other senior officials of the NCM. Among the religious leaders who attended the meeting – Aacharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Goswami Sushil Maharaj, Father Sebastian, Yog Bhushan Maharaj, Markaz M. Ahmad, Kundor Rinpoche, Gyal P Wangail, Anzarul Bari and Tahir Hussian.
NCM member, Rinchen Lhamo said, “This video has been tampered with, the parts of this video have been merged in such a way that the video leads to tarnishing of the image of the Dalai Lama. It is important for all of us to know that a foreign power is behind all this. Not only that foreign power has got this video made but also got it circulated on the internet. All this is not organic but paid.”
Explaining the meaning of what Dalai Lama said in the viral video, religious leaders from Buddhist minority community said, “ In the video, the boy is seen asking the Dalai Lama for a hug, following which the leader blessed him, asked him to kiss him and stuck out his tongue saying, “Suck my tongue.” The meaning of this common expression is used to tease and teach children through a game in Tibetan tradition. The correct phrase in Tibetan for this joke is ‘Che le sa,’ which translates to “Eat my tongue.” Kids who go up to their grandfather are asked to kiss their grandfather’s forehead, touch their noses and kiss them. In response, the grandfather says that I’ve given you everything so the only thing left is for you to eat my tongue. It displays the affection between the an elderly and children. Therefore, the video has been misinterpreted.”
Religious Leaders from different minority communities expressed their solidarity with Buddhists and requested for an enquiry in the matter with the support of the National Commission for Minorities.
It was approved unanimously by the members of the meeting that “The Dalai Lama is not an ordinary human being but the living Buddha of the 21st century. This is a disinformation campaign against a holy person that hurts the sentiments of Buddhists. We condemn it. It requires an enquiry with appropriate action. NCM will write to the Government of India regarding this issue and the concerns raised in today’s meeting. We will request GoI to intervene and block such unidentified content postings on the internet.”