It was on this day, 31st March, in the year 1959, that the Dalai Lama began his exile in India, settling in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh.
Dalai Lama, born as Tensin Gyatso in Taktser (China) was designated as the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940. He became the religious and political leader of Tibet. When in 1950 communist China invaded the country, a year later a Chinese-Tibetan agreement was signed where Tibet became a “national autonomous region” of China – supposedly under the traditional rule of the Dalai Lama, but actually in complete control of Chinese communist commission. The religious people of Tibet, who practiced a unique for m of Buddhism, suffered under the anit-religious communist legislation of the Chinese.
This cause a full scale revolt to break out in March 1959, which was eventually crushed by the powerful Chinese, causing the Dalai Lama to flee the country.
From Dharamsala, Dalai Lama established a democratically based shadow Tibetan government. However, in Tibet, the Chinese began brutal regressive measures against the Tibetans and with the beginning of the cultural revolution in China, the suppression of Tibetan Buddhism escalated – religious practices were banned and monasteries were destroyed. The Dalai Lama charged the Chinese of genocide.
Though the Chinese lifted the ban in 1976, the Tibetan protests continued and the Dalai Lama in exile, won international support from the international community for striving towards independence for Tibet – leading to a Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989 in honor of his non violent resistance towards Chinese domination of Tibet.
Elsewhere, on March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, some dignitaries, and the 200 construction workers.
To honor the centenary of French Revolution, the French government, in 1889 planned an international exposition and a design competition was announced to build a monument on Champ-de-Mars, Paris. Gustav Eiffel’s design was selected out the 100 plus designs that were submitted – a tower 1,000 feet above Paris and the world’s tallest man-made structure then. Eiffel has already designed the structure for the Statue of Liberty in New York then.
Eiffel, unperturbed by critics, completed the great tower under budget in just two years. Being a project of vast magnitude at that time, the loss of life of one worker was also considered to be very low.
Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.
Since the elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform.
Construction of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930 was till when the Eiffel Tower’s position as the world’s tallest mand made structure remained consolidated. Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. Remains largely unchanged today and the world premier tourist destination is for the world to see.Source Courtesy: History.com Images: Wikimedia Commons