"The Dalai Lama is a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast."
—Tibet's Communist party chief Zhang Qingli
hen my meeting with the Dalai Lama was fixed in early February, Tibet was simmering but calm. I told the intermediary keen to arrange the discussion that while I admired and respected His Holiness, I wasn't into worship or meditation, neither had I any compelling curiosity to meet sacred persons with divine cover. I remember in the mid-'80s in Bombay when Bhagwan Rajneesh was all the rage, I studiously avoided invitations to visit him or his sexy commune. To me he was a harmless trickster, to others he was an avatar of Vishnu. Being Voltairean in my attitude, that's where things stood till last Monday when I went to meet my first godman.
Of course, between the appointment and the actual meeting, Tibet had erupted. Thus, I went with mounting expectation for my mostly off-the-record exchange to the sixth floor of the Ashok Hotel in New Delhi, not to obtain...