Forced conversion is wrong, says Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama has disapproved of “forced” religious conversion. Religious organisations ought to work extensively in rural villages and “expect nothing” (in return), he said here on Sunday.

“Christians have helped the society in education and health. But they are also carrying the message of conversion, which is wrong. The Ramakrishna organisations are working extensively in rural areas, which most people neglect. They do not expect anything. Such should be the attitude,” he said at the inauguration of the 92nd principals’ conference organised by the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools in India.

The Tibetan spiritual leader described corruption as “the biggest cancer in any society” and said India had to tackle it immediately. It could not be taken lightly anymore. Right education, moral principles, discipline and inner peace were the only way to fight corruption, he added.

“I have met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a few occasions and spoken to him about corruption and how it is affecting people. But we did not have a serious talk. Removing corruption is not easy. People should take special note of it and remove corrupt officials from government. This is the right time to do so and media should play a vital role in bringing corrupt officials to light. They should be exposed,” he said. He described India as a very strong democratic nation compared with Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The Dalai Lama termed the existing modern education system “very material-oriented”. “People are very materialistic... Humanity is neglected. Eductional institutions should discuss on how to introduce and put more effort to inculcate inner values in children for holistic brain development. Children should be smart and not self-centred. Right education should not be disturbed.”

The Dalai Lama said he was a very lazy student. “I always wanted to play and never study. I was scared of my teacher and his whip. So I would study, but was poor in it. But today’s children are very sharp and bright.”

Dalai Lama, who says he is the longest guest in India, recently applied for an Aadhaar card. Nandan Nilekani, the chairperson of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) who was present at the event, said, “He has enrolled but is yet to get it, like many others.

“Around 540 million Indian residents have obtained Aadhaar cards and Rs 40 million cash transactions have taken place of the 50 million people.”

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