LEH: The much awaited yearlong Birth Centenary of Padma Bhushan 19th Kuchok Bakula Rinpoche, who is often regarded as the architect of modern Ladakh, was inaugurated by Dy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh on Friday in Leh in presence of a galaxy of luminaries including guests from Mongolia, Russia and the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan Government in Exile.
The celebration started after offering ‘Khataks’ to the portrait of late Kuchok Bakula Rinpoche by all VIPs present and a Thangka of Bakula was also unveiled on the occasion.
Dr Nirmal Singh said that he was often impressed by the outlook and modern approach of Ladakhi students studying in Jammu and Delhi and now convinced that leaders like Bakula Rinpoche had shown the right way and laid this foundation. Referring to Bakula Rinpoche’s effort in reviving Buddhism in Mongolia, Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Mongolia appreciated Rinpoche for this. While promising 100% electrification of Ladakh and its rural villages and funds earmarked thereof, Dy Chief Minister said that Leh Ladakh will be a focus of development for the coalition government in the coming days. He also read out Prime Minister Narendra’s Modi’s message on the occasion. Centenary issue of the Ladakh Review, a journal edited by Nawang Tsering Shakspo was also released on the occasion by Dy CM.
Referring to continued support and blessings of Bakula Rinpoche during Ladakh’s agitations for the UT and ST demands, J&K Minister for Ladakh Cooperatives & Affairs Chering Dorjay Lakrook reminded that Rinpoche had asked Ladakhi people to continue their struggle for UT demand till it is achieved. MP Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang recalled different proposals put forth by Bakula Rinpoche demanding separation of Ladakh from Kashmir. In 1952 Bakula had also warned that Ladakh might think of joining Tibet if the region was continued to be neglected, Chhewang added.
MLA Leh Nawang Rigzin Jora said Kushok Bakula Rinpoche laid a strong foundation of honesty, selflessness, and integrity in Ladakhi political culture and this legacy is being carried forward by Ladakhi leaders today regardless of which party they belong to. Most speakers acknowledged that besides being a spiritual and political leader, Bakula Rinpoche was also an ambassador of communal harmony and unity as he strongly advocated for unity and communal harmony all through his life.
Chairman LAHDC Leh Dr Sonam Dawa, Minister Central Tibetan Administration Karma Gelek, former Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administartion Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, Prof Geshe Konchok Wangdu, Galden Trizur Skabje Sras Rinpioche, Sonam Wangchuk Shakspo, President LBA Tsewang Thinles and Khambo Lama Dambajov from Mongolia also addressed the the jam-packed. Among others present on the occasion included Skaybje Thinsay Rinpoche, Skyabje Tokdan Rinpoche, and social and political leaders of Leh.
Earlier Bakula Rinpoche’s portrait was taken in an impressive procession from Spituk Gonpa to Leh Polo-ground where the main celebrations took place. A colorful cultural performance by Tibetan, Ladakhi and Mongolian artists were also presented.
The yearlong centenary celebration is being held as a tribute to the Bakula’s contributions to Ladakh region at a juncture when the region was passing through a crucial transition period. As a part of the centanery celebration an archery festival organised by the argon community of Leh was later inaugurated by Minister for Ladakh Affairs in presence of CEC, LAHDC, Leh, MP Ladakh, and MLA Leh.
For Bakula’s contributions Government of India conferred him with Padma Bhushan while Mongolian Government awarded the Polar Star.
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