London, June 25: Recalling his "very good" relations with Chairman Mao Zedong, the Dalai Lama on Sunday said that he considered him "as a father" and that the late Chinese leader considered him "as a son" .
The Dalai Lama, who is on a public visit to the UK told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC, "He (Mao) appears to me as a father and he himself considered me as a son. (We had) very good relations. The only problem was that on many occasions, when official dinners were held, Chairman Mao always used to bring me to his side" .
He added, "So then as per Chinese tradition, Chairman Mao himself would use his chopsticks to put some food in my plate. So in a way it was a great honour, but in a way I feel little fear... he used to cough too much, a chain smoker, so I might get some germs."
The Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959, said that older Tibetans wanted him to return "as soon as possible before their death" , but other politically sensible people believed that under the present circumstances, he should remain outside in a free country.