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It was a day out in rural Rajasthan for Tibetan leader Dalai Lama on Sunday. On a visit to the Barefoot College in Tilonia near Ajmer, he loved every moment of it -- right from giving his message on peace, harmony and prosperity to posing for an occasional picture with villagers and helping himself to liberal amounts of a traditional sweet dish at lunch.
"I was impressed with the concept of Barefoot college and had been waiting for long to visit it. Now, after having seen the amount of work, the college is doing for people from Africa, Latin America, Jordan and so many other places, I am excited. You'll are working to make changes," he remarked.
The Dalai Lama also made an allocation of nearly Rs 20 to 30 lakh to the college.
But his main thrust in the speeches was to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, the world over. "There are people who have a surplus of everything and others who do not have the basic needs. This gap is there in America, India and even in communist China. Though in places like Austria, Switzerland and European countries, the gap is less," he said.
"Efforts must be made to reduce the gap, else it will make the poor feel inferior and frustrate them leading to jealousy and violence. In order to reduce this gap, the poor must develop confidence that they can also do things and the rich must help in whatever way they can. The poor must arm themselves with technology, for in these days of global warming, depending on agriculture will be disastrous," he said, adding that the Barefoot college was an example where technology was given to people even without degrees.
The Dalai Lama reiterated his plans for retirement and felt that having managed to hold on to his own even 52 years after having to leave his country, made him comparable to even Mao Tse Tung. "The 21st century must be a time for dialogues. We must be able to spread the message that the way to deal with most problems is not force but dialogue. We must be able to take a holistic view of things. If Pakistan were to take a holistic view of their policies, then its relationship with India would be better," he said.
The Dalai Lama felt that China, with its huge population, should have been able to place a more important role globally. "But only if they can frame their policies with transparency they would be able to win the trust of the people," he added.