Doctors treating the Dalai Lama in Bombay on January 28, 2002 said he is in “absolutely normal” condition. Dr. Prakash Mhatre, operations director at the Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre in Bombay told Reuters, “We undertook further medical examinations this morning like blood tests on a fasting stomach. He’s absolutely normal.” The Dalai Lama went for his medical checkup to Bombay from Bodh Gaya where he was scheduled to bestow the sacred Kalachakra Initiations. Earlier media reports conveyed confusing information on the status of the Dalai Lama’s health. Kasur Tenzin Geyche Tethong, Secretary to the Dalai Lama said that he had some bowel infection, which was now under control.

The Dalai Lama was initially treated in Patna. “The Nobel laureate looked fine and even told us that he was already feeling better but we rushed him to Bombay,” Patna’s chief government surgeon A.K. Mishra told AFP.

“It appears it was perhaps exhaustion or a touch of gastroenteritis,” AFP reported Mishra as saying and adding that the Dalai Lama did not want to take any medicines apart from herbal remedies.

Tethong’s full statement, released by the Bureau of H.H. the Dalai Lama in New Delhi on January 28, 2002 said, “We are very thankful to the media for the concern shown towards the health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. However, we regret to note that some print media have reported that the Dalai Lama is suffering from a tumor in his stomach and is being tested to detect any chances of cancer. We are very alarmed to this totally incorrect and baseless report and we need to bring the true and accurate picture to the world.

“The panel of doctors who examined and are taking care of him have declared that the bowel infection he sustained is under control since the start of treatment with antibiotics day before yesterday. As far as investigations are concerned, they are routine. Marked visible improvement has already been confirmed today. Further improvement is expected.”

Reuters reported “Fears about the health of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama eased on January 28, 2002 after Indian doctors examining the Nobel peace laureate for stomach pains said he was in “absolutely normal.”

“The team of doctors will decide on January 28, 2002 after getting all the medical reports whether to discharge him,” Dr. Mhatre said.

“The Dalai Lama had some abdominal pain but he is now cheerful and the famous smile we all know about is back on his face,” Mhatre was quoted by AFP as saying. He added that doctors would take a decision on Monday on whether he could be discharged from hospital.

“But let me say that there is no reason to worry,” Mhatre said.

The Dalai Lama had postponed the Kalachakra teachings to next year and personally made the announcement to the around 200,000 people gathered in Bodh Gaya on January 24, 2002. The event this year attracted nearly 1500 Tibetans from inside Tibet, a comparatively smaller number than those who attended previous such teachings. The reason for this fewer Tibetans from Tibet this time seems to be the increased restrictions being placed on the movement of Tibetans by the Chinese authorities. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile’s Department of Information and International Relations had registered 166 media personnel who had come to over the events in Bodh Gaya.