A tribute to Kasur Dongchung Ngodup

Dear Editor,

Following is a tribute to Dongchung Ngodup la. It is a piece I have translated from the original report, “In conversation with Dongchung Ngodup” by Chung Tsering, at TibetTimes.net. Ngodup la is the rarest of the rare, a former Tibetan official whose achievements and portfolios are difficult to put into few little words. I would sincerely appreciate if you could kindly publish this translated piece in your reputed website.

Thank you
Kelsang Tsering, Toronto

Kasur Dongchung Ngodup Kasur Dongchung Ngodup in undated photo. Photographer unknown

At first when I saw the official announcement of Desung Kalon’s resignation, I couldn’t believe the news. But as I saw it on Voice of Tibet (VoT) — media based in Dharamshala — interviewing Kasur Dongchung Ngodup la, at the latter’s residence, it reassured me of his resignation and also the details of the reasons for his resignation. The following piece is only a tribute — with no other intention — to Kasur Dongchung Ngodup la for sacrificing the best part of his life in service of the Central Tibetan Administration during the most critical period and ordeal of Tibetan diaspora.

The first time when I heard about Dongchung Ngodup la was when I was in Tibet. It was prior to our (me and my brother, Lobsang Lungtok’s) departure to India, when we visited a pivotal Tibetan who works for the cause of Tibet. We told him about our soon-to-departure to India. Instantly he told us to deliver some classified information to Dongchung Ngodup. Shortly after we reached India, we visited the CTA Department of Security to provide the classified information.

I vividly recall that it was at the end of year 1999. Dongchung Ngodup la was then in his office, which is adorned and decorated with the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan national flag, and a political map of Tibet. It was then indeed an honour, a pleasure, and a pride for the first time to meet a significant Tibetan official in such a conducive environment. He told us to be seated and listened carefully and diligently to our address. He also noted our information in a notepad which was very encouraging.

After my graduation in 1994, I began serving as a Tibetan civil servant in the Central Tibetan Administration until 2014. As did other civil servants, I had the privilege to become familiar with Dongchung Ngodup la. And the more I came to know him, the more respect and trust I had for him. Since I was not an employee in the Department of Security, I did not have the opportunity to work with him on a day-day-day routine. Nor have I had the opportunity to know him very well by developing a personal friendship. However, observing how he successfully maintain his administrative duties, how he serves as an efficient Tibetan civil servant and the way he shows resilience on timely hours are all highly admirable, on which my other younger peers and colleagues had a similar impression.

Some of the main reasons why many people have respect for Dongchung Ngodup la is because of his firm and rock-stable principles, noble stance, and gentle personality. His personal stance is grounded on following the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama after thorough research and analysis and holding unwavering belief onto it. His personality is defined by his reliability, his nature as a man of few words, inquisitiveness to all matters, and his unbiased attitudes towards others irrespective of classes (high or low). Moreover, owing to his reliability to conceal the state secrets or classified information of Department of security, he was trusted and respected not only by the exile Tibetans, but also by many inside Tibet.

In the Tibetan diaspora, there are many people who speak beautifully theoretically, yet there are few who steadfastly and resiliently come forward to act practically. However, Dongchung Ngodup la is one of those few who selflessly and courageously comes forward to combat any obstacle that needs to be combatted. For instance, he heroically came forward to challenge anti-social elements who made baseless and groundless accusation and criticism including Shugden proponents, against the Central Tibetan Administration. The above evidence was clear fact noticed by many Tibetans.

In addition, he served the Central Tibetan Administration from 1977 to 2007, starting from scratch as a senior clerk and then gradually escalating to the post of secretary of Department of Security. He started serving as a minister (Kalon) for the same department for more than ten years, which, all in all, made 40 years of selfless and dedicated service — sacrificing the best part of his life — during the critical period of Tibetan diaspora.

In the early 1980s, he even visited — covertly and secretly — Tibet to observe the situation and report it to the exile administration. He also acted as a bridge between the Tibetans living inside and outside Tibet. He is also generally a keen observer of the situation inside Tibet. In a nutshell, he is empirically learned and experienced about the situation both inside and outside Tibet.

Dongchung Ngodup la is not only knowledgeable and experienced, but also a very responsible, accountable. and trustworthy person, particularly with reference to the safety and security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During both his secretaryship and ministership of Department of security — when His Holiness’s visits (both in India and abroad) were most — there hardly had been a case where His Holiness’s safety and security has been compromised. Besides there was no evidence of causing distress and inconvenience to both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people in general.

His charisma is defined by treating all Tibetans equally, devoid of regional and sectarian values. He also listens impartially, respectfully, and diligently to other’s grievances without ever belittling the opinions of others. In the event of misfortunes, he acts steadfastly and immediately devoid of recklessness and apprehension, and he also provides timely guidance.

Lately due to the assertive speech from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and deities on the mismanagement of the Central Tibetan Administration, and also voicing their concern on risk of creating disharmony within the Tibetan community, Dongchung Ngodup la, on moral and ethical grounds, resigned from the post of Kalon.

It is also clear that his resignation was in the interest of the Tibetan community and not for his personal interest or gain, because the time of his resignation — which is not before the election but after thorough conclusion of the Tibetan Parliament session — explains everything. Finally, I express my sincere wishes for his sound health wherever he goes, and may he continue to work for the cause of Tibet.

Kelsang Tsering
Toronto, Canada

ON THE WEB, 8 April 2016

Translator’s note: The translator wishes the readers to refer to the original piece in Tibetan by the author Chung Tsering in TibetTimes.net for accuracy and authenticity, in the event of doubt and hesitation.
Copyright © 2023 Kelsang Tsering

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily that of Tibet Sun