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Great personalities belong to entire nation and should be recognized as such – Suresh Soni Ji

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Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan Ji inaugurated the centenary celebrations of 19th Kushok Bakula Lobzang Thupten Chognor. Acclaimed as a statesman and diplomat, and popularly known as the Architect of Modern Laddakh, Kushok Bakula was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1988. He was recognized by the 13th Dalai Lama as a direct disciple of Gautam Buddha. Born in 1917 in Laddakh, the largest region of Jammu Kashmir state, the 19th Kushok Bakula is even today remembered as a god figure in Laddakh, Russia, Tibet and Mongolia because of his social and spiritual contributions. RSS Sahsarkaryavah (Joint General Secretary) Suresh Soni Ji was chief guest at the inaugural function organized at Mavlankar Hall. Also present on the occasion were Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, former foreign secretary Shashank, and Lama Chosphel Zotpa, national president of Himalayan Sanskriti Sanrakshan Sabha. Lama Chosphel Zotpa worked closely for over a decade with the 19th Kushok Bakula.

Former Foreign Secretary Shashank (1966 batch IFS officer) will preside over the Organising Committee of the year long centenary celebrations. The event was coordinated and anchored by acclaimed academician Dr. Kuldeep Agnihotri Ji, presently vice-chancellor of Himachal Central University. The Kushok Bakula centenary celebrations will be organized across India for a year, jointly by Jammu Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) and Himalayan Sanskriti Sanrakshan Sabha.

Speaking on the occasion, Suresh Soni Ji said the 19th Kushak Bakula was a great personality, but few people know about him. “Great personalities should not be seen in the context of their place of birth. They belong to the entire nation and should be recognized as such. He was a Buddhist monk. Monks are peace-loving ascetics. But when Pakistan tried to invade the territory of Laddakh, he took it upon himself to motivate the youth to repulse the invasion.” “Today, Jammu Kashmir state is seen only in the context of ‘Kashmir problem’ and separatist ideology. The regions of Jammu and Laddakh get eclipsed in this narrative. In Jammu the Praja Parishad andolan and in Laddakh Kushak Bakula Ji have played a great role. Celebrating the birth centenary of Kushak Bakula is an appreciable step. The nation needs to know about his life and achievements. The teachings of such great personalities will surely go a long way towards erasing the differences between communities,” Suresh Soni Ji said.

Swami Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj began his address by stating that there are many amazing personalities who have done tremendous work for the nation, but remain unknown. “As I learn more about Kushak Bakula Ji, I’m impressed by his works and achievements. I believe that Hindus and Buddhists can play a leading role today in taking the Indian ethos to the world.” He promised complete support of Hindu dharmgurus to the centenary celebrations. “The Acharya Sabha, which is today a top level organization of dharmacharyas and matthaadheesh from across the country, will fully support and participate in these celebrations throughout the year,” Swami Avdheshanand announced.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan Ji began her address by referring to the stage as no less than a ‘vyaspeeth’ being occupied by such august personalities. Paying tributes to Kushok Bakula as a great parliamentarian and for his contributions in all fields of life, she reflected that in this ‘kalyug’ good persons need to be introduced to the people. Elaborating on the commitment of Kushok Bakula towards the nation, she remembered that when he visited Lhasa (Tibet) as representative of GoI, he reported back to then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru about the dangerous situation emerging vis-à-vis Chinese activities. His observations emerged as the gospel truth. She congratulated the organizers of the centenary celebrations for embarking on such a mission.

Jawaharlal Kaul Ji, national president of Jammu Kashmir Study Centre, said Kushok Bakula’s birth centenary celebrations will be organized in different parts of the country. “His work and principles are relevant to the society even today. Just like people welcomed the millennium celebrations of Kashmir’s Acharya Abhinavagupta, we are sure the country will be happy to learn about Kushok Bakula. We can learn a lot from the life and work of both these personalities because they remain relevant in the present scenario also.”

Kushok Bakula Rinpoche was a member of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, which also functioned as the first State Assembly under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah. However, he never shied away from raising his voice for the rights of the people of Laddakh – even at the cost of angering Sheikh Abdullah. Later, he went to become Member Parliament MP, retaining his seat for 10 years. If Laddakh has emerged as a largely corruption free society, it is mainly due to the influence of Bakula Ji, one of the speakers said. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had called him the “Architect of Modern Laddakh” when he named Leh airport as the Kushok Bakula Airport.

Kushok Bakula was later appointed as Ambassador to Mongolia. He stayed in Mongolia for almost a decade. He became so involved with the people there that even today the people of Mongolia remember him for his immense contributions. JKSC director Ashutosh Bhatnagar Ji said Kushok Bakula’s contributions to the nation were so great that the people deserve to know about him. It has been the endeavor of JKSC to bring to the fore the rich cultural diversity of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir state.

Courtesy: VSK Bharat

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