By Tsarong Dolkar Tshering
KALIMPONG, India, 3 November 2019
Legendary Tibetan musician, artist, and craftsman, and Founder/Director of Gangjong Doeghar (Tibetan-Himalayan Performing Arts), Mr Chime Dorjee, popularly known as A Dogah, passed away peacefully on 2nd November 2019 at 9:05 am at Anandaloke Nursing Home, Siliguri, West Bengal, India. He was 77.
A Dogah was born on 7 October 1942 at Karze, Kham, eastern Tibet. He showed keen aptitude and interest in learning Tibetan music, dance, and crafts at an early age. In 1959, after China’s occupation of Tibet, he fled Tibet and joined the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI), based in Kalimpong, India. Alongside pursuing his interest and studies in Tibetan music, dance, and crafts, A Dogah single-mindedly supported the mission and activities of His Eminence the XIIth Dardho Rinpoche. Since 1965, he served as the music and dance instructor of the ITBCI.
Driven by the need to conserve the Tibetan cultural heritage, in 1994 A Dogah and Mr Phuntsok Wangyal, currently based in England, along with three other members (Mr Tshering Wangdue, Tenzin W Metoktsang, and Jigme Wangchuk Dharshab) decided to set up a cultural group to conserve the rich cultural heritage of Tibet, thus laying the foundation of Gangjong Doegar. It recently celebrated its Silver Jubilee on 20th October.
Since its inception, Gangjong Doeghar has given over one thousand performances in various places across the Himalayan region, including Bhutan and Nepal, as well as in several cities and towns in the Indian subcontinent and abroad. It has trained over 235 artists and has received numerous awards and appreciation from organisations and individuals. Led by the late A Dogah, his whole family is wholeheartedly committed and actively involved in carrying out the mission and activities of Gangjong Doeghar, along with committed artists such as Tashi Dhondup, heart-son of late A Dogah.
Although the late A Dogah was popularly known for his craftsmanship in making snow lion and yak costumes in the exile Tibetan community, his connoisseur and contribution in Tibetan performing arts, painting, creative and innovative skills and talents in crafting all kinds of Tibetan costumes and education are not so widely known.
He was a man of few words, characterised by his indomitable spirit, talent, honesty, deep commitment, and utmost dedication in the conservation and development of Tibetan art, culture, and heritage.
He is survived by his wife, Dechen Sangmo, and four sons (Mr Samdup Tsering, Programme Director of Gangjong Doeghar, Mr Lhundup Wongden, Mr Lhundup Dadul, and Mr Legsang Choedhar). His cremation service will take place on Tuesday, 5th November, at his hometown in Kalimpong.
About the author
Tsarong Dolkar Tshering is a former alumna of ITBCI.