Kolkata: The Dalai Lama on Thursday said he considered himself as a "son" of India and he carried the message of ahimsa wherever he went.

Addressing students here, the Tibetan spiritual leader said wherever he goes he carries the message of ahimsa and the country's spiritual leaders should promote love and religious
harmony in India and outside. "I consider myself as a son of India," he said.

He said he had been inspired by the spiritual teachings of Nalanda, the crucible of Buddhist thought, and had imbibed Indian food habits.

Referring to India's economic issues, he urged for balanced and sustainable development.

Commenting on women and spirituality, he said there was no restriction for a woman to take over as spiritual leader after him.

Chinese objection is quite routine

Earlier in the day, Dalai Lama termed as "quite routine" the Chinese objections to India allowing him a platform to air his views. He said they consider him as a "demon" even though his position now is "semi-retired".
   
Ignoring Beijing's reservations, West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan was present at a programme on Mother Teresa, which was addressed by the Tibetan spiritual leader.
   
When asked about the Chinese consulate's letter to the state government to ensure that the CM and Governor did not attend the programme, Narayanan retorted, "What do you expect me to do about it? If they have written to the Chief Secretary. They have written."
   
When a newsman pointed out that the Chinese consulate has objected to his visit here, Dalai Lama said, "This is quite routine. From their point of view it is also logical. Some Chinese officials consider me as a demon. They raise every objection."
   
Asked if he expected this kind of reaction from the Chinese government, he quipped, "I have faced this before. I don't want to comment on the letter from the Chinese consulate."
   
"This year in March I formally, officially handed over the political leadership. I am no longer a leader of political administration. So, I don't like to politicise my visit here," he remarked.
   
While China treats the Tibetan spiritual leader as persona non grata, New Delhi has maintained that he is respectable religious leader and in a democratic country there is no restriction on freedom of speech.
   
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could not attend the programme as her mother was in a critical condition, according to Trinamool Congress MP Derek O' Brien.

(Agencies)