The year-long birth centenary celebration of noted Buddhist scholar Kushok Bakula concluded on May 18 with the call to emulate his ideals and apprising the young generation of his life and works.
Leh: “Kushok Bakula Rinpoche was a multifarious personality who should be seen as a role model. His life and achievements guide us even today. As a Buddhist monk, spiritual leader, statesman and an outstanding diplomat he worked with an all-encompassing vision of human welfare,” said RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Dattatreya Hosabale while paying tribute to Kushok Bakula Lobzang Thupten Chognor Rinpoche ‘the architect of modern Ladakh’ during the concluding ceremony of his birth centenary celebration. The function was held at Central Institute of Buddhist Studies by Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) and India Foundation from May 16 to 18.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had inaugurated the function on May 16. The inaugural ceremony was presided over by ICHR chairman Prof. Arvind P. Jamkhedkar. Minister for Ladakh Affairs Chhering Dorjey, Nalanda International University VC Prof. Sunaina Singh, CIBS Director Geshe Konchok Wangdu, CEC LAHDC Dorjey Muttup and ICPR member secretary Prof. Rajneesh Shukla also shared the dais. Jammu Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, ICPR chairman Prof S.R Bhatt, Mongolia’s Ambassador to India G. Ganbold, Minister for Ladakh Affairs Chhering Dorje, Nehru Memorial Library Director Shakti Sinha, JKSC trustee Anil Goel, India Foundation director Alok Bansal and Dr Mayank Shekhar from IGNCA were present on May 18. 12-year-old Nashtan Kushok Bakula, ordained as the 20th Kushok Bakula, also participated.
Shri Kavinder Gupta congratulated the organisers of the centenary celebration committee and said such efforts go a long way towards the cultural unification of India. Referring to the conditional ceasefire declared by the Government of India in Kashmir, he clarified that this peace gesture does not mean that we will tolerate aggression from any quarter. Our security forces are fully competent and empowered to deal with every situation concerning national security, he emphasised.
ICPR chairman Prof. S.R. Bhatt emphasised on the need for in-depth research work on Rinpoche and Ladakh. He strongly demanded that the name of Jammu and Kashmir state should be renamed to include the word ‘Ladakh’. A book titled “Jammu Kashmir ka Vismrit Adhyay: Kushok Bakula” (The forgotten chapter of Jammu Kashmir: Kushok Bakula), written by Prof. Kuldeep Agnihotri was also released.
The three-day national scholars’ confluence was inaugurated by J&K Assembly Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh on May 16. Vice Chancellor of Himachal Central University Prof Kuldeep Agnihotri and general secretary of Kushok Bakula birth centenary celebrations committee, in his introductory remarks said the people of Jammu & Kashmir and rest of India need to know about the life and achievements of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. “Since he was never one to promote himself or his work, we felt it was our responsibility to create awareness about this great personality. JKSC dedicated itself to this purpose for a year through centenary celebrations across India,” he said adding that the JKSC organised a number of events and activities in different states, including seminars, talks, exhibitions and yatras.
JKSC director Shri Ashutosh Bhatnagar said Kushok Bakula’s contributions to the nation were so great that the people deserve to know about him. It has been the endeavour of JKSC to bring to the fore the rich cultural diversity of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir state.
The centenary celebrations were inaugurated in New Delhi last year by Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Sumitra Mahajan in the presence of RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Suresh Soni, Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, former Foreign Secretary Shashank and Lama Chosphel Zotpa.
The conference on the topic “Bahujan Hitay Bahujan Sukhay Lokanukampay” was basically to enhance an understanding of the Indian philosophies and traditions, with special focus on Buddhist philosophy. Eminent scholars and experts from different universities across India deliberated on topics such as ‘Background of Buddhist Philosophy’, ‘Indian Philosophy of Life and Basic Tenets of Buddhism’, ‘Journey and Development of Buddhism in India’, ‘Continuity and Integration of Vaidik and Shraman Traditions’, and ‘Dharma Based Indian Traditions to Meet out Contemporary Challenges’.
Experts from across the country deliberated on key issues impacting the region at the conference on ‘Geopolitics of Himalayan Region’. Former Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, who was the deputy head of the mission under Bakula Rinpoche in Mongolia, shared his personal experiences and valuable insights of the Saint Ambassador and the manner in which he effortlessly blended spirituality and statesmanship. Ambassador P Stobdan provided an in depth macro analysis and bird’s eye view of the Himalayan region and its geostrategic importance.