New Delhi: After triggering a controversy by saying that India and Pakistan would have remained united had Jinnah become the Prime Minister instead of Jawaharlal Nehru, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama apologised for his statement.
Speaking to ANI, the spiritual leader said, "my statement has created a controversy. If I said something wrong, I apologise."
Speaking at an interactive session at the Goa Institute of Management, the Dala Lama said, "Look at India, Mahatma Gandhi wanted Prime Ministership to go to Jinnah but Nehru refused to agree. I think Pandit Nehru was a little self-centered."
He also said that Mahatma Gandhi was 'very much willing' to give the leadership to Jinnah but Nehru's self-centred attitude resulted in the mistake.
“Mistakes always happen. Now, look at India. I think Mahatma Gandhi ji was very much willing to give prime ministership to Jinnah. But Pandit Nehru refused. I think Pandit Nehru’s was a little bit self-centred,” he said.
Nehru, who was a wise man, made a mistake since he harboured the ambition of becoming India's first Prime Minister, he suggested.
“Pandit Nehru, I know very well, was a very experienced person, very wise, but sometimes mistakes happen,” he said.
He further said, "If Mahatma Gandhi's wish had materialised then India and Pakistan would have been united."
Holding Nehru responsible for the partition, the Dalai Lama said, "I know Pandit Nehru very well, he was a very experienced person, very wise but sometimes mistake also happens."
Reacting to the Dalai Lama's comments, BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Dalai Lama should have spoken about this before and it did not hold much value now.
Swamy said, "These are historical issues and hold value for historical debates. Yes, it is true that Mahatma Gandhi wanted Jinnah to be the Prime Minister as he would have been a minority Prime Minister and he could be removed once the British were gone.
But it is also true that Jawaharlal Nehru only thought about himself. Gandhi was only thinking of how the British could be removed. But these are now academic questions and hardly make sense to discuss now."