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Biography of the late Thubten Ngodup
World Tibet Network News
Wednesday, April 29, 1998
4. Biography of the late Thubten Ngodup
Thubten Ngodup who immolated himself in the morning of 27 April died at 00.15
am of 29 April at the Dr. Ram Monohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi when the
Delhi police swooped on the remaining hunger-strikes to rush them to
hospital. The hunger-strikers were participating in an unto-death
hunger-strike organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress. Before his death, in
the evening of 28 April, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Thubten Ngodup
and the other six hunger-strikers.
The body of Thubten Ngodup was taken to the Tibetan camp of Majnu Ka Tilla
today. His body will be transported to Dharamsala where he will be given a
funeral befitting the supreme sacrifice he made for the cause of Tibet.
Thubten Ngodup was born in 1938 in Gyatso in the Shigatse region of Tibet.
Thubten Ngodup became a monk and was admitted to the Tashilhunpo Monastery
In 1959 he fled Tibet through Sikkim in north-east India. He worked as a
road-construction worker in Bomdila for about a year. From there he went to
the Tibetan settlement in Bylakuppe in south India. In October 1963, he
enrolled in the Tibetan wing of the Indian army. He retired from the army
in 1986. But he saw action in the Bangladesh war of independence of 1971.
He came to Dharamsala around 1988 and worked as the cowherd for Dip
Tsecholing Monastery. He sometimes worked as the cook for the monastery.
In view of the fact that he did not have any immediate family members to
look after him, the monastery gave him a small plot of land where he built
a little hut.
In April 1996 he joined the Department of Security as its messenger-cum
cleaner. He resigned from his post in December 1996 to participate in the
Tibetan Peace March in 1996 and he also took part in the Peace March from
Dharamsala to New Delhi in March 1995. Towards the end of last year, he was
admitted to the old people's home for ex-armymen in Herbertpur, near Dehra
He had no family members in India. He was a quiet man. He was a hard worker
and a great patriot. He participated in both peace marches. During the
unto-death hunger-striker he looked after the six hunger-strikers, fanning
them, shading them from the sun at his own expense. His name is listed in
the second batch of hunger-strikers if the members of the first batch were
One of His closest friends is Tenzin who lives in McLeod Ganj in
Dharamsala. Early spring this year Thubten Ngodup arrived in Dharamsala
from Herbertpur to attend the annual March teachings of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama. Two days before the long-life prayer offering to His Holiness,
Thubten Ngodup told Tenzin to come to the office of the Tibetan Youth
Congress. He had decided to enroll himself in the unto-death hunger-strike
the Tibetan Youth Congress was organizing. He told Tenzin to tell no one
about this. He said he saw no alternative but to do this. He also felt that
his life was being wasted away. Tenzin had to sign as a witness. Thubten
Ngodup then insisted in donating Rs.500 to the youth body.
Then the next day, the two of them attended the teachings. The next day
sometime before he left for Delhi, Thubten Ngodup dropped by Tenzin's
house. He left the key of his house with him and told me to give anything
of value to the Tibetan Youth Congress. It was then Tenzin had some slight
inkling of Thubten Ngodup's real intentions. His own house near the
monastery was be donated to the monastery.
Tenzin said, "He left another Rs.500 to be donated for the long-life prayer
offering for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I sent the donation through a
room-mate of mine who is working as a carpentar at the residence of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama, who fortunately managed to offer the money to His
This is the last statement of Thubten Ngodup to the people of Tibet.
"I appreciate the Tibetan Youth Congress organizing this hunger-strike unto
death. I admire the six hunger-strikers and all those Tibetans back in
Tibet. I am happy and at the same time proud in getting the opportunity to
be one of the hunger-strikers in the second batch and I have no regrets. In
future, I hope that the Tibetans will continue to take part in activities
like this. I have full faith in the Middle-Way Approach of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama and it is very important for all Tibetans to think this way."
Articles in this Issue:
- Fiery Protest
- Delhi fast: Dalai Lama in fix
- Statement issued by the Kashag on the passing away of Mr. Thubten Ngodup
- Biography of the late Thubten Ngodup
- Tibetan dies after self-immolation, exiles warn of bloodshed
- Dalai Lama Admits Failure
- Tibetan Protester Dies in India
- Albright to talk tough on Tibet
- US, China upbeat over presidential summit
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