High Mountain Elegy

I was waiting at Denver airport for my ride when I got a call from a Tibetan acquaintance  who asked (somewhat expectantly I thought … but I could be wrong) if the Americans had revived the program to train and support Tibetan jamak (guerrilla operations) inside Tibet. I explained  that nothing of the kind was happening and that I was on my way to Camp Hale in the Rockies where a commemorative plaque was being dedicated to the memory of the 300 Tibetan freedom fighters who were secretly trained there by the CIA, many of whom lost their lives in subsequent operations inside Chinese occupied Tibet.

It would take about three hours to get to Camp Hale from the airport, but the sunlight was glittering on the distant mountains and the trip was a pleasant one. Tenzin Pasang la of Boulder had offered to drive me and we were accompanied by a couple of other friends. The SUV climbed steadily up past mountainsides covered with aspen, spruce and pine – the last, devastated in places by pine beetle infestation. But the aspen had just begun to change color and would, in a month, turn into their spectacular reds and yellows.

We drove on Interstate 70 for about a couple of hours and then took the exit to US highway 24, renamed 10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway. Camp Hale was established in 1942 during World War II as a home base for the 10th, and to provide winter and mountain warfare training, including skiing, for other military units. After the war the whole camp area had been decommissioned and most of the buildings and facilities removed.

When the secret program to train Tibetan fighters in the USA started in 1958, Camp Hale was selected because of its perceived similarity to the terrain in Tibet, and because of its general isolation. A small part of the vast military camp had survived and this section was wired off and some extra quonset huts and a log-cabin recreation center built and training equipment set up. A unit of military police permanently patrolled the perimeter of the area to keep possible intruders away.

We finally got over the mountains and came to a broad windswept valley about 11,000 feet, surrounded by low mountains and covered with scrub and  purple sagebrush. Like native Americans, Tibetans burn sagebrush which we call sang ganden khampa, as a purifying ritual and a smoke offering to the Buddha and the old gods (yul-lha ship-dag) of Tibet. About two-thirds of the way into the valley we came to a place by the side of the road  where a group of people were gathered. The main speaker, Colorado Senator Mark Udall hadn’t arrived yet but about a hundred guests were already seated.  A film crew was setting up and reporters from local Colorado papers,  RFA and VOA  were interviewing people.

We busied ourselves arranging an altar of sorts, a statue of Lord Buddha and a portrait of the Dalai Lama on a picnic table. The Tibetan national flag and  the American flag (along with the battle standard of the Four Rivers Six Ranges) were raised on either side of the brass commemorative plaque. We also strung up a length of prayers flags behind the plaque (about 20″x 15″)  which was erected on a metal stand.

photograph: Doma Norbu

I am not going into details about the formal ceremony. Readers will probably have read the news report “Celebrating Freedom at Camp Hale” by Scott Miller, re-posted on Phayul.com.

photograph: Dominique Taylor/dtaylor@vaildaily.com

The event opened with a speech by the young Senator Mark Udall who thanked all those who had worked hard to make the event possible. In particular he mentioned retired CIA  officer Ken Knaus who had led the effort to get official approval for the commemorative plaque.

Ken Knaus, who had come to the event with his wife, spoke of the courage and dedication of the Tibetan trainees. He told the crowd that he had always felt compelled to create some kind of memorial to the brave freedom fighters he had worked with. Tashi Choedrak la (Mark) who had been Ken’s translator at Camp Hale, gave a full historical outline of the program. Tashi la also mentioned that the Tibetan name for Camp Hale was “Dumra” or Garden.  One of the first trainees at Camp Hale had told me some years ago that they had called the place Dumra because the bracing cold, the high mountains and the wind had made it feel like home, like Tibet.

photograph: Jamyang Norbu/Tenzin Pasang

A number of the former trainees, Trundhu Pon Chime Tsering la (Conrad), Tashi Paljor la (Noel) Sonam Wangchuk la (Lee) and Pema Wangdu (Pete) and instructors Ray Starke and Don Cesare also spoke of their experiences. It became clear from everyone’s stories that the Tibetan trainees got on surprisingly well with their instructors and in turn the CIA people were fond of their students and came to admire them.  I have reproduced some excerpts from previous interviews that have appeared in various books and other publications:

As one CIA instructor put it: “Basically we fell in love with those guys. The Tibetans distinguished themselves from the other nationalities that I had worked with. There was their obvious high spirit, dedication, self-discipline, and a degree of self-confidence. But there was something else about them – hard to explain.”

Instructor Tom Fosmire was struck by their sincerity and devotion. “They moved you in their direction”, he concluded.”

“The Lao would get frightened during night-time operations,” recalled Roger McCarthey,”and would hold each others’ hands.” The Tibetans, by contrast were of entirely different mettle. “They were brave and honest and strong,” said McCarthy,”Basically, everything we respect in a man.”

Instructor Frank Hollobar wrote “We already recognized that we were dealing with people who were more deserving than some of the people we had been working for. They were truly involved in trying to protect their way of life, their country, and were willing to fight for it. The Tibetans had this great spirit: “Give us the tool and we’ll do the job.” They weren’t asking the CIA to do the job for them, which is what we got from a lot of the groups we were working with.”

“They (the Tibetans) had steerable chutes, and they screamed “Geronimo” as they jumped, then chased each other down through the sky – yelling, laughing, trying to catch each other – just having a hell of a time,” Frank Hollobar observed. “The instructors had never seen such high spirits among foreign nationals.”

“The instructors also came to realize that the Tibetans had remarkably inquisitive and inventive natures.” … “Maybe it was the memorization and meditation associated with their Buddhist training,” one instructor speculated “They picked up codes fast and were a lot sharper than most people gave them credit.”

Instructor John Greaney in discussing the dedication of the trainees said: “I’ve never seen anything like it. After dinner they would go back to practice Morse code. Really, we used to comment back and forth that we were grateful that we were working with the Tibetans instead of the Central American problem, which was the Bay of Pigs. We knew we were fortunate to be involved with a good program.

Even with the very first group of six raw trainees at Saipan in 1957, Roger McCarthy was impressed with their marksmanship “always impressive” as was their discipline and attention to detail. “To my surprise, they quickly learned how to read and use maps, a skill few can claim. From simple coordinates concepts to eight digit accurate grid coordinates and transposing the resultant coordinates into accurate insertions in the one-time pad system to be used, as well as the need for properly and accurately orientating the antennas to communicate by the RS-1 radio according to the signal plans provided by Washington.”

Senator Udall appeared visibly moved by the stories and he rose to speak again and repeatedly requested members of the audience to share their experiences about the program or with individual instructors or Tibetans trainees.

A number of the guests came up and spoke, often emotionally, about their parents, relatives or friends who had been at Camp Hale. Dolma la, the daughter of Athar Norbu, one of first CIA trainees, recalled her father’s American accent when he spoke English that always intrigued her and her sister who studied at a Christian school in Darjeeling. What also surprised her was that he could always find his ways around a new town or city, with just a map.  She also introduced her friend, Sonam Yangzom la, the daughter of the great warrior Ratu Ngawang, who though not a trainee at Camp Hale, was one of the leading Tibetan resistance fighters who had fought beside Andru Gompo Tashi in Tibet.

Kevin McCarthy, the son of instructor Roger Mcarthy, came with his two sisters and spoke of how much the project had meant to his father. He also shared stories he had heard from his father of the escapades of the Tibetan trainees, one being the launching of a large homemade rocket, which went seriously off course and damaged the buildings of a distant molybdenum mine, east of Leadville. The CIA had to foot the bill of $25,000 for repairs, but the incident added to the project’s cover story that secret nuclear experiments were being conducted in the area. Julie Hollobar, the daughter of Frank Hollobar was among the guests, though I am not sure she spoke. But she joined us for dinner. Lisa Cathy the daughter of our CIA contact at Calcutta, Clay Cathy, could not spare time for reminiscing. She had helped organize this event with Ken Knaus and the Senator Udall’s staff and  was now busy with her cameraman and sound-man filming this event for her project “The CIA in Tibet”. Check out her website for lots of great interviews, photographs and videos.

The representative of the Tibetan Association of Colorado and other Tibetans including two monks  spoke movingly of the sacrifice of the Freedom Fighters.

Karma Namgyal and other young leaders of the Four Rivers Six Ranges also spoke of how, though the events were before their time, they felt constantly inspired by the courage and self-sacrifice of those who had trained at Dumra. Karma la maintained that  even after fifty years of brutal Chinese occupation Tibetans were still keeping up their fight against the Chinese. He also declared that Tibetans were ready to fight the Chinese if the occasion ever arose.

Ken Knaus was moved to speak again and he told the crowd. “This is not a funeral. This is the continuation of a fight that started 50 years ago.”

I was surprised to find that listening to so many speakers one after the other was an exhilarating rather than a boring experience. The anecdotes, the reminiscences, the attempts to resurrect the memory of past events, and even to establish some kind emotional connection with people who had trained at this place and later fought and died in Tibet, gave the addresses a ritualistic tone, like orations at the death of epic heroes. Perhaps I am getting a little carried away here with my analogies, but I  found the experience very moving.

I also spoke briefly. I said I had come to this event to honor the memory of my late father-in-law Kasur Lhamo Tsering (Larry), who had trained at Camp Hale and who had been the director of all our intelligence and Mustang operations. I mentioned that my mother-in-law and my wife had sent khadags, incense and prayer-flags for the event. I added that though I was not trained at Camp Hale, I had been a member of the Mustang operations and that many Camp Hale alumni were my friends. I mentioned the names of a few who had passed away since: Utsatsang Buchi of Derge, who shared the same root (tsawae) lama, Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche, as myself, and Tashi chung-chung (Sandy) of Shotalhosum (but Lhasa born) who was the smallest yet toughest Khampa I had ever met, and my roommate at Mustang.

But I particularly wanted everyone to hear the name of Bhusang (Ken) of Nyemo, who had not only fought in the Lhasa Uprising but had been at the center of the fighting in the Jokhang. He had escaped to join the training at Dumra and had been parachuted in the last air-dropped mission into Tibet. His entire team had been wiped out and he had been captured, tortured and interrogated, and finally imprisoned without a trial for eighteen years. I got to know him very well at Dharamshala, and interviewed him and often chatted with him when I had the chance.

Although prison had taken a toll on his health, he was the only senior Tibetan who worked out with us at the Rangzen Gym, below the old Medical Center building in McLeod Ganj. He never expressed regret for the suffering and misery he had endured all these years, and he had no doubt about the righteousness of the cause he had fought for. What upset him deeply was talk of autonomy and giving up Rangzen. I met him a few years ago just after the last negotiating team had been humiliated in China. Bhusang was sick and in bed but he was mad enough to sit up and let me know how he felt about the whole thing. “The Tibetan government has no idea of how the Chinese think. No matter what they tell you must never forget the one fundamental operating philosophy (tawa) behind their words.”  ‘What is mine, is mine, and I want yours also.'”  It sounded so witty and succinct in Tibetan “ngae di ngarae yin, khyorae diyae go yoe”, and it reflected, I guess, the fact that he had lived most of his life in Lhasa – a city he had defended with his life in ’59. Bhusang la died this year on 25th March at the age of 80.

I was glad to have this propitious occasion to at least make known the name of this brave fighter. Had he been alive he definitely would  have been pleased that his American gergens had organized this event. But being the self-willed, outspoken and feisty old fellow that he was, Bhusang la would probably have insisted that he and his comrades had fought and given up their lives not for the CIA or the USA, but for the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist faith and Tibetan independence, and that it would have made him happier if such a commemoration had taken place at Dharamshala and had been organized by the Tibetan government.

photograph: Jamyang Norbu

Once the formal ceremony had concluded, late in the afternoon, we moved over to the only remains of a structure, possibly the foundation of a quonset hut, and held a Sangsol ceremony there, Two monks had come from Boulder and  everyone joined in the prayers. We started a small fire and burnt, juniper, sage, incense, tsampa and butter and soon got a nice column of smoke rising into the clear but darkening sky. It was just before sunset when we all formed a large circle and tossing tsampa in the air shouted “Lha Gyalo” or “Victory to the Gods”.

After the Sangsol ceremony most of us left for Leadville, a once roaring frontier mining town, to find the Cloud City Bar,  where half a century ago the CIA instructors would drive down from Camp Hale for a drink – after putting their Tibetans trainees to bed. We didn’t find Cloud City but finally settled on Quincy’s,  a real old West establishment with great steaks, spare-ribs and plenty of beer and whiskey. About thirty-five of us Tibetans and Inji friends crowded around the large tables and talked late into the night.

Early next morning my friend Warren Smith and I took  Highway 82 to Aspen. We drove up the mountains to Independence Pass, which at 12, 095 feet is slightly higher than Lhasa. I thought the name auspicious in bringing to close yesterday’s events, and though I was slightly out of breath, I managed to declare the site “Rangzen La”,  before driving on.

photograph: Wikipedia Commons

Note: I have posted an album of historical photographs of the place, personnel and training activities at Camp Hale on the Rangzen Alliance’s website.

* * *

I have provided below a spoken Tibetan version of this essay for the listening convenience of the non-English reading Tibetan public. I hope to be able to provide more such Tibetan audios of my writing in the future. If you have enjoyed reading this essay please recommend this audio to any of your non-English speaking friends, relatives and senior Tibetans. Thanks, JN.


This audio version can also be downloaded from the Rangzen Alliance’s website.


44 Replies to “High Mountain Elegy”

  1. I am glad our heroes are finally recognized – by another country – but recognized at least. One day, I hope they spit on Ngabo’s name and put these people in the list as the true and undying patriots of Tibet. If we are to die, let us die with dignity and with both feet planted squarely on the ground. Life is impermanent, so is the idea of a country, but human spirit and dignity lives on even after earth has been regrouped and reshaped and borders redrawn, and even after we have found a new way to discriminate each other or somebody else. Then the spirit and culture of Tibet will never die and forever persist in stories and legends. The culture of Tibet is the free spirit of the highlands and the indomitable nature of countrymen.

  2. Fifty and plus years later…..but we welcome it wholeheartedly. There is always a right time and place for events to weave into their place in this huge ‘internet’ of our universe ….damtsik? So Thank you JN la for this moving and beautiful ELEGY!
    ‘Lha gyalo’! ‘Bhod gyalo’!

  3. Was the TGIE represented at the ceremony, at least minimally by the Dalai Lama’s representative for North America? From this post it would seem not to be the case. Given what Dharamsala owes those who trained here, if this is indeed so it constitutes a real snub.

  4. Dheychen,

    Prof. Sperling is only asking if TGIE sent any representative to this very important and most deserving commemoration of our brave heroes.

    He is pointing to the fact that the Tibetan Exile government (and frankly I would say HHDL as well) owes its existence to the sacrifices these brave men and women made.

    To my knowledge TGIE has not sent even one representative. In fact TGIE has never remembered the sacrifices of the thousands of Pawo and Pamo. It has always looked at their sacrifice as a waste and to those who want to commemorate their memory as an embarrassment.This is the kind of disconnect Prof. Sperling is pointing out.

    Sometimes it takes an honest outsider to point out what your faults are.

  5. Kalsang Phuntsok and Elliot Sperling,

    There is another organization or group located in Dharamsala who claim to be the authentic Chushi Gangdruk. They do not seem to be represented ‘here’; or were they?

  6. It is a great relief to have these freedom fighters finally honored. At the same time, it is a great shame that this commemoration wasn’t held by the Tibetan government, not even mentioned on Dharamshala’s official website…

    Although I’m not a fan of the CIA and of US military involvement around the world — by a long shot —, I have much respect for these Tibetan freedom fighters who gave up their comfortable life in order to defend their country.

    I have known personally Tsongkha Lhamo Tsering, the chief of operations, and I had the privilege to layout his second and third volumes of “Resistance” (བཙན་རྒོལ་རྒྱལ་སྐྱོབ།) in which CIA operations are detailed and many individual tales narrated. This provided me the opportunity to see hundreds photos and portraits of these heroes. I remember to look at all these faces, to read their personal accounts, to design maps of their landing spots and movements in Tibet, and to be highly disturbed by the little attention given now to these remarkable individuals. Had they really been forgotten?

    I had previously been outraged to learn from Jamyang Norbu’s “Illusion & Reality” that the late Prime Minister Lukhangwa (1895-1965), one genuine hero, “was left to die a sick and broken man in a wretched little room in Delhi” and that hired coolies served as pall-bearers during his funeral — instead, for instance, of full military honors by Camp 22 soldiers.

    This is a mystery to me; how can such heroes not be decently honored by their own government? Has the Middle Way Approach become such a dogma that anything to do with independence should be erased from memory?

  7. Thank’s Jamyang la for this piece that will open more eyes to the sacrifice our parents have made in blood.
    There cannot be any but us Tibetans that would go out of their way to hide our heroes……Can we not inspire our young ones to the deeds of their people past?

    As a child I knew a lot more about Subash Chandra Bose than our own Andrug Gonpo Tashi! I would hope our youths could learn more about our own freedom fighters.

    Maybe Jamyang la could do something about this… a book on Andrug Gonpo Tashi and our great freedom fighters?

  8. ngapo and baba phuntsok–the sellers of souls–are tgie’s heroes!

    i am not surprised when, not if, tgie tomorrow changes its demand from ”autonomy for all three provinces under one administration” to ”3 separate autonomies for the 3 provinces” after china raises some false hope ”anything less than one administration for all the 3 provinces can be discussed; one administration for the 3 provinces is nothing but independence in disguise” well don’t stop reading, i am not done yet.
    when this gets nowhere after a decade or so, i will not be shocked when again tgie modifies its demand or beggary ”genuine autonomy for areas only to the west of drichu; 80% of kham and all of amdo are already infested with millions of chinese settlers, having become ”gya-dhe” a hopeless and impractical situation, move the 4 million tibetans in the east of drichu to the west of drichu and all tibetan brothers and sisters can have a cool time with our culture and dharma, guthuk and bhaktsa marku, no violence..only peace… with 20,000km borders taken care of by our big han masters”

    this is the wisdom of middle way. a pragmatic way that never fails to lead us down the drain.

    SFT can do something about our rangzen heroes recognition and inspiration. let not those who had borne the battle for independence be forgotten.
    tibet must be independent now!

  9. Thank you JN la for this wonderfull coverage of the event at Camp Hale. You took me right into the Camp Hale, and I felt myself speaking with emotion at the gathering there. Although I was bit saddened that not many Tibetan seems to have turned up; leave aside an TGIE representative to take part in this solemn occassion.

    To me this was the best honour don to those wonderful freedom Fighters next only to the “Ressistance” by Tsongkha Lhamo Tsering being published by Amny Machen Institute.

  10. To all exile Tibetans, please go home to Tibet, China. Its for your own good and for the good of Tibet as a whole. There are so much we can do to help to develop Tibetans spiritually and prosperity.

  11. Afoso, can you twit a similiar message to the Chinese: To all colonist chinese in Tibet, Shringrila, please go home to your great motherland. It is for your own good conscience and for China as a whole. There is so much you can to do help China develop democratically, spiritually, and build a true civilized nation.

  12. I am very happy to know that we had these freedom fighter who sacrificed their life for a greater benefit.
    If i had known about these various operation earlier in my life, i would have asked my grandpa on his contribution to our nation. I am pretty sure he would get a kick in his arss from me if he hadn’t resisted the occupation.

  13. It is a great thing to honor and recognize people’s selfless contribution to the people and the nation throughout the history.

    When we look back history,there were some many men and women in history have never been honored and recognized, specially in Kham and Amdo areas those who fought back with Chinese during invasion.

    That been said I am so glad Americans honored Tibetans heroes Camp Hale.

  14. This story sounds very much cooked up and totally anti-thetical to the current propensity of TGIE. Somebody is being paid off and we all know who is the benefactor here.

  15. Phayul (Phurbu Thinley) reported the visit of MPs from Nepal to Dharmasala on June 24th; orchestrated by this very person who goes by the name of all things ‘Siddharth Gautam’. If any one; it would be this ex kingdom’s neighbours to the south that should be alarmed.

  16. Rangzensontsa la,
    From reading the report it appears it is just a move by the left to discredit The Nepali Congress Prime Ministerial Candidate Mr. Ram Chandra Poudel, and show he is receiving money from the Dalai Lama’s representative. I think we can be near certain that there is no truth in it. TGIE doesn’t have that sort of money to bribe people.
    I think this report may be an attempt to neutralize the previous reports of Nepalese MPs and ministers receiving millions of dollars (not rupees) from China, which is a far more believable scenario.

  17. to jamyang norbu

    this news anti china plot in nepal may be true,becouse in nepal there is so many political forces Have an interest to counter chinese influence,its not all about money its an interest of political parties and king of nepal and some militarist in nepal who want to counter maoist and communist who are openly ally with china,and the nepali congress party have a bad relation with maoist,it is natural from nepali congress to ally with forces anti maoist and anti china becouse china support maoist,so it is not unlikely from nepali congrss to have deal with tibetan,so the news replied in telegraphnepal its not unlikely it is possible.

  18. One instant red flag is their cited source, “a vernacular weekly.” This is a favorite habit, citing a source in a local language which cannot be easily tracked down or confirmed, and if tracked down, is hard to translate.

    My “vernacular weekly” the Onion often publishes political articles as well, lol, probably unintelligible to translation software and even to translators unfamiliar with Midwest satire.

    If they were serious about this allegation, they would say “a vernacular weekly, the X Sentinal, ….” A news article failing to cite even a flimsy, real source is generally a sign we can safely stop reading.

    Do Nepal and China really want to convey the message that top-level y decisions are being made based on the whims of “vernacular weeklies??” What a crazy message to send.

    It is typical of the CCP Propaganda Dept. (and all propaganda machines, no doubt) to underestimate the people’s intelligence.

  19. Oh – I’m a bit embarrassed. I just saw “Nepali Patra Weekly.” Will try to check it out. Sorry for reading too fast and leaping to conclusions — Liu Yunshan please hire me.

  20. Here’s a place to start:


    I’m not interested in the validity of the story itself so much as the link between “vernacular weeklies” and any translations thereof which are meant for English readers.

    If you look on the Pakistani forums, for example, it seems to me some of the “Pakistani citizens” post with phraseology and spellings like that of the Chinese posters. I’m curious whether the CCP hand can be seen at work in the Nepali “translations” as well.

  21. first, i would like to say that they all the Tibetan heroes reaveled the courage and brave of our nationality and it is an instead of Tibetan issue which will continue to prectes permanently.
    i’m sory because i have no high level of english to write well.

  22. Listen up guys,
    I got this comment on another post (Football, Robben etc.) I would like to help Phuntsok la and his mother get some more information on his later father, Baba Lobsang Choemphel, who could have been trained at Camp Hale. I will dig around. If any of you guys come across anything please let me know. Thanks. J

    Phuntsok Dhundop
    tashi delek jamyang laa
    i ‘m realy impressed on your every single word
    last wednesday ,i saw u live television through VOA,,i was very happy on that topic of CIA ,tibetan training camp,COLORADO,,we could seen all during that day with my ama laa,,even ,,we are confused one we wants to know from you jamyang laa, plz, can u find for us,,my father was traned by cia ,,till we can’t probe it ,,he was in colorado or not,,,,my father name is,,baba lobsang choemphel,,if u can find it we will proud it,,,well my father was passeway when i was 14,,,,lastly,,,,,,if i mistake in an my writing mail,,plz, forgive me,,,thukjee chay,,see you in tibet!!

  23. the dalai lama was alive n kicking in exile since 1959
    the 100% credit goes to the khampa independence warriors
    tibetan govt in exile is established since then
    the 100% credit goes to the khampa independence warriors
    tibetan movement goes on in exile FOR 51 YEARS
    the 100% credit goes to the khampa independence warriors

    prior to granting of asylum to the dalai lama by india
    indian forces were rounding up ‘illegal’ tibetans in india
    in preparation to deporting them back to china-occupied-tibet

    lithang athar sent a message to america
    america then sent a message to india
    india then gave asylum to the dalai lama and our parents

    the fact that we tibetans in exile are alive and doing what we
    is all due to the immense sacrifices made by the khampa independence warriors
    not many are left now
    we must thank them
    jamyang norbu and lhasang tsering!

    join or support
    Tibetan National Rangzen and Mangtso party

    and we will erect busts for the unsung khampa independence heroes in dhasa
    we will give them independence gold medals and ribbons
    we will give them silver certificates

    even then it is not enough

    we will remember them in our heart day and night
    even then it is not enough
    for their sacrifice knows no measure

    we will follow them with courage in action for independence
    to the last man
    when we actually do
    that’s when we will hear the souls of the dead unsung khampa amdo utsang independence heroes rising
    from heaven or hell
    thanking us for giving rebirth to the sacred political independence linage
    forgiving us for being so late and so untrue for so long


  24. Regarding the missing father Baba Lobsang chophel . He could have been among the around 5 trainees dropped in tibet who are still unidentified(Surprising for an operation carried out by the US) or the guy who was in Wangdu’s group who was not paratrooped into Lithang rather went by land and didnt quite make it. He was also Baba.

  25. Also we need to know if there are any remaining of the people dropped into Tibet at all. Contact them and hear their story. Also mebbe not necessarily give them a medal but acknowledge their sacrifices.Thats the bloody least we could do!All this talk of freedom sounds false whenwe do not do the minimum for people who gave everything for the Tibetan cause.

  26. We Tibetan normally claims that Indian govt. is over reacting or our cautious or playing safe game regarding China’s issue…..however our TGIE is over reacting or over cautious on such issues……there is nothing harm to give recognation to those people who has sacrifice their lifes for Rangzen…….

    Bodh Gyalo

  27. I commend JN la for coming up with this travelogue and making us especially the younger Tibetan generation aware of an important event in our history, the sacrifices made by those brave Tibetans to resist the unlawful Chinese occupation of Tibet. Kudos to you JN la!

  28. One of the biggest reasons to beleive that our government in exile isnt serious about tibetan independence is its extremely hostile attitude against this organisation of selfless men, who did the ultimate sacrifice of self and material wealth.

    Our government in exile, has very vehemently used its entire official machinery in denouncing the Chushi Gangdruk, and even taken the most outrageous step of splitting this association in two groups, though its known that the new group isnt accepted by its subject or recognised by the international community. Its simply called a splinter.

    Without the Chushi Gangdruk, I cant imagine, where the cause of Tibet would be today, and I dread to imagine it, as I feel His Holiness would have had to pursue the same line as His Holiness Panchen Lama, had to.

  29. Following upon my previous comments, I would like to take it a step further, and bring in some facts that were misused by our own government in exile.

    In the beginning, ie, during the mid sixties to the early seventies, there were alot of assasinations, especially of Khampa and Amdo elders, carried out by fellow guerilla fighters, who were ordered from higher authorities, and were told that these people were chinese sympathisers, and anti Kundun (Holiness Dalai Lama).Several people were killed, commando style executions.

    One of the most prominenet leaders to fall during these turbulent days by our own government elders was, Amdo Gunthang Tsultrim.
    Till date there hasnt been any investigation unto his death, and to the death of many other fallen freedom fighters.

    Our fellow tibetans wouldnt recall, such incidents, if they were born post 1980 or if these incidents werent told to them by their elders. His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, was jailed in a secluded prison some where enroute to or from Bhutan, by the indian intelligence authorities, as they were told, that Holiness was a chinese spy, and should be stopped. Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, one of the most senior masters of his days, revered by thousands, spent several days in a dark wet jail, untill Her Royal Majesty, Queen Mother of Bhutan intervened, by calling on Mrs. Indira Gandhi, assuring her, that Holiness wasnt such a person.
    The above mentioned tragic examples are just the tip of the ice berg of all the atrocities commited by our own government in exile.

    Further, several elders, who fought the chinese invaders, were branded as agents of Taiwan, or Chinese spies, their children denied right to education, they were black listed, names were periodically given to the indian police, before His Holiness Dalai Lama were to visit a refugee settlement, and the police used to lock up these people, who ironically, were those who sacrificed everything to protect the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan nationality. Many elders, were thus forced to take the most painful of decisions and had no other option than to go back to Tibet.
    Its now been little over 50 years since we have come into exile, into this very large and kind nation, whose government and its people, have given us more than what we may desire.

    There isnt a mention, in any of the exile governments agenda, bulleltins, what so ever, that mentions the Chushi Gangdruk, and its sacrifices and deeds, without which, all our current kalons etc, would be known as comrade Samdhong (no oun intended)

    i hereby demand, that the current Kalon Tripa,clear all names of people accused of being anti Dalai Lama, and Taiwan Phoksen, and all all the bad press that they have been slapped with. Let there be a new good and fair beginning, dont forget those who did the ultimate, apologise for misusing official machinery, in accusing honest warriors as Taiwan agents (Phoksen).

    Its never too late, as the saying goes, and as wisdom would have it, these people are whiter than white, else things will spill over, and we will again have a new round of THE 13 COMMUNITIES.

  30. Another follow up to Dhaden:

    Western disciples finally helped the The Late Dudjom Rinpoche move to Western Europe to get away from the stranglehold of the then exile government.
    Arson was suspected in cases where several Nyingma lamas’ prolonged illnesses could not be diagnosed. This was the common method in the Old Lhasa government to get rid of one’s rivals & opponents.
    Two senior Chushi Gangdruk members were put under house arrest; scope goats for the bungling of the one in command.
    An underground spy network was set up located in Safdarjang, New Delhi; where amongst other things, young recruits were sent on the mission to trail high profile ’13 group members’!!??
    Some of these same recruits now hold sway in our Government running it like their own feudal kingdom.
    Ironically; it was Gyalo Thondup the source of all these atrocities who was mentioned in the autobiography of ‘Tashi Tsering’ as saying: “There are two kinds of Tibetans. Those that eat tsampa and those that eat B.Sh’t. “ These Chushi Gangdruk men and members of 13 Group were the former.

  31. “It is the dissident, not the diplomats, who will be remembered as humanity’s champions of peace”.

    My heart is with the Tibetan students protesting in Qinghai & Sichuan provinces and now spread to protests by a minority students university in Beijing.

    Protest and Non Violently!

  32. J.N

    I have just finished reading and listening to audio. It is intresting. I think it’s not a bad idea to have both on the same page. You should have a Tibetan Section as well so that monolinguals can benefit from it.


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