New Delhi: India, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, can lead the world on the path of non-violence, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said at a lecture at the Nehru Memorial Museum on Saturday.

Praising India's democratic traditions, the Dalai Lama said it was India which introduced him to the true meaning of democracy and young Indians should do everything to keep alive their rich traditions developed over thousands of years through overlapping of cultures.

"On non-violence and spirituality I have nothing to say to Indians, you already know these things for at least the last 2000 modern years," he told a gathering at a discussion on 'non-violence and spirituality in India' as part of a series of events.
Recalling his meetings with India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the spiritual guru said he found the fact that he could disagree with him without annoying him a testament to the tradition of healthy criticism in India.

The Dalai Lama quoted BJP leader L K Advani as telling him once that the success of democratic practice in India was the existence of a thousand year of tradition of criticism.

He also took a potshot at the rampant prevalence of corruption in India, saying though many Indians practice religion in ritual, they often don't practice it in lives.

Noting that all major Indian rivers originate from the Himalayan glacier region, the Dalai Lama said the country should also play a role in raising concerns on the ecological degradation of the Tibetan plateau which is a very sensitive area.

He said while India might be behind China as far as economic progress in concerned, India has rich values of democracy and freedom which place it in a better position to play a positive and effective role in the world.

Talking about his visit to Bihar last year, the Dalai Lama also recalled his meeting with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Meanwhile, speaking on the subject NCP leader P A Sangma, joked about cricket fever going pitch high in a country which faces a number of problems in society and politics.

"In spite of all our problems, India continues to be a spiritual country... In the middle east, people are on the streets but in India despite 2G, despite CWG and Swiss banks we are enjoying cricket, but how long can this tolerance persist is the question, we politicians have to wake up," he said.