Dharamshala, 29 January 2019: Today, Tibet has lost one of her dearest and most trusted friend George Fernandes, who remained the strongest voice of solidarity for the Tibetan cause. His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his condolence message expressed, “George was a great humanitarian and believer in truth. Throughout his life, his was a voice for the millions of poor and needy people of the country. He had a firm conviction in justice and wisdom. He was a real heroic leader.” In India, he was popularly known as a union leader of the masses, an ardent Lohia comrade, and a seasoned politician.
George’s initial relationship with His Holiness the Dalai Lama started when Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia requested him to teach some Tibetan youth (Lodi Gyari) about socialism. He first met His Holiness when the latter visited Parliament house to meet Dr. Lohia. In 1959, soon after His Holiness fled to India, he led a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Mumbai after they refused to take the memorandum.
In 1967, he won the parliamentary election from south Bombay. In that year, when many prominent Indian leaders like Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Prof. ML Sondhi, Acharya Kripalani and Madhu Limaye rigorously debated in favour of a resolution in the Parliament on whether the Dalai Lama should be recognized as the Head of the émigré Government of Tibet and the Government of India to extend all facilities and help to liberate Tibet from the colonial rule of Communist China, George Fernandes raised up to say Ayes for the resolution. Since the house was divided with the motion, the resolution failed to passed.