An unprecedented 62 per cent of Indians support the idea of conferring the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna, on Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who is also the global face of the Tibetan exile movement, according to the IANS C-Voter Tibet Poll.
According to the survey, which included a sample size of 3,000 people spread across the country, 62.40 per cent of Indians support the idea of awarding the Dalai Lama with Bharat Ratna. The honour is given in recognition of exceptional service of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
The Dalai Lama had fled to India in 1959 to escape the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) which had by then occupied Tibet. Since then, he has been arguing for autonomy for Tibet from the Chinese rule.
Time and again, Indian parliamentarians and his followers have raised the demand to confer the Bharat Ratna on the Dalai Lama for his services to humanity. Notably, the clamour grew louder amid the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control last year.
As many as 63.1 per cent men and 61.8 per cent women want the Dalai Lama to be honoured with the award. Interestingly, most of the people living in the urban locality, belonging to middle-income group, low education group and OBC category, above the age group of 55 years and from North and Northeast areas support the idea more.
The data show that the issue needs to be highlighted more and a bit more aggressive posturing is required to underline the Tibetan identity without diluting the assimilative sympathy that has been achieved with Indians over these years.
Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, was instituted in 1954. The recommendations for Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister himself to the President. No formal recommendations for this are necessary.
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