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Whole Life Journey of a Former Tibetan Official into the History of Tibet


The Lecture:

Despite his fragile health, Prof. Ngawang Thundup Narkyid, an ex-officio of Member of the Government Reform Committee, Lhasa, Tibet in 1957 and an Official Biographer of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, kindly accepted the invitation from Tibet House to give a talk on his life experience. As a Tibetan official himself before 1959, he witnessed the political status of Tibet before and after the invasion by the Communist Chinese, explaining many of the issues related to Tibet and China, and giving voice to what has remained vague to the general public. He also touched upon sensitive issues regarding the relationship between Tibet, India, and China. Prof. Narkyid is a rare living presence from the Tibet of the past, when it was once independent.

The Speaker:

Prof. N. Narkyid was born on 17th January 1929 in Tzethang, Central Tibet.
He was graduated from the Academic Institute (Tzelobdra) at Potala Palace, Tibet (1942 - 1948). He was then a student at National Minority Institute (NMI), in Peking, China. He did his MA linguistics and Anthropology from Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA in 1980.
For four years from 1948-52 he was a staff member of Secretary Council of the Tibetan Government at Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet. In 1957, he was elected as a Member of the Government Reform Committee, Lhasa, Tibet. On March 10, 1959, he was involved in the Tibetan Uprising in Norbulingka. In the evening of the same day, guarded Jokhang area by coordinating the security forces and volunteer forces. He escaped into India in the same year to join the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and became a staff member of the Foreign Affairs (to work on Chinese documents and to translate the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” into Tibetan with Mr. Taring Dzasak.) From 1960 to 1962, he was appointed as the first General Secretary of the first session of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. In 1971, he assisted Tsepon Shakabpa in the compilation of “Political History of Tibet” in Tibetan. In 1967, he made the first Tibetan typewriter, which was further improved by Ramington Rand Ltd, Kolkata, India. From 1971 till 1976, he served as the General Secretary of the newly established Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, India, and also taught Tibetan language to foreign students which is still one of the major programmes of the library till date. For four years he had worked on the compilation of the Modern English – Tibetan Dictionary initiated in 1981 with Melvin Goldstein (PhD, Chair, Department of Anthropology) at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio. Since 1984 till 2004, he had been the Official Biographer of His Holiness the XIV Dalai lama at Dharamsala, India.


Topic: Whole Life Journey of a Tibetan Official into the History of Tibet

Speaker: Prof. Ngawang Thundup Narkyid

Venue: Conference Hall, Tibet House

Date: March 30, 2012

Time: 05:30 pm