The last serving guard from the seven paramilitary troopers who escorted the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama onto Indian soil back in March 1959 following an arduous escape from Lhasa to seek refuge in India after China invaded Tibet is reportedly invited to be a CTA’s ‘Thank You India’ event on March 31.
In 1959 when the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet, he treaded the hostile Himalayas with a caravan consisting of soldiers and countrymen who dexterously guided the Tibetan spiritual leader to India. One of them was a young soldier belonging to the Assam Rifles, a jawan named Naren Chandra Das who met the Dalai Lama during a recent session in Guwahati, Assam.
“Naren Chandra Das, a 79-year-old retired havildar of 5 Assam Rifles, is likely to be among the invitees to the event being organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) at McLeodganj near Dharamshala on March 31. The event will mark the year-long ‘Thank You India’ campaign.” said the report in Hindustan Times on Tuesday quoting the same suggesting from an unnamed official familiar to the event.
Chandra Das, who had joined the Indian force in 1957, was called in to escort the Dalai Lama out of Tibet just two years later when the Chinese invasion of Tibet took place. Now 76-years-old, Das recalled the time when he was chosen to escort the Tibetan leader. “Guards of Assam Rifles Platoon no. 9 had brought the Dalai Lama from Zuthangbo and handed him over to five of us at Shakti. We brought him to Lungla from where he was escorted on his onward journey to Tawang by another group of guards,” he said when he met the Dalai Lama last year in April in Assam after 58 years.
Asked about whether conversations had transpired during the brief journey, Das said that he was not allowed to talk or interact with the Dalai Lama. Das was presented with a silk shawl and expressed how overwhelmed he was by the Dalai Lama’s embrace last year.