Dalai Lama’s Last Surviving Bodyguard Dies In US; Tibet Govt-in-exile Pays Glowing Tribute

Anen Dawa, the last surviving personal bodyguard of the Dalai Lama, has passed away at the age of 83 in Minnesota, United States, according to the Tibetan government-in-exile’s official website ‘Tibet.net’. He died peacefully with his family by his side on December 27, it added.

Dawa was asked by Dalai Lama to accompany him

Born in 1939, Anen Dawa was only 15 when he joined the personal army of the Tibetan spiritual leader in Norbulingka. After four years, he was formally inducted in the army and continued to serve as personal guard to the Dalai Lama through his schooling in Sera, Drepung and Gaden monasteries for the next 4 years and particularly, during the Lhasa Monlam ceremony when the Dalai Lama was receiving Geshe Lharampa Degree in February 1959.

In the most critical turn of events in March 1959, when the Tibetan uprising was crushed and the threat of Chinese military attacks was ever-growing, on the fateful night of March 17 1959, Dalai Lama accompanied by tens of thousands of Tibetans fled into exile to India.

The report said that Anen Dawa at the risk of his own life fulfilled his duties to ensure the safe passage of the Tibetan spiritual leader to exile. On arriving safely in India on 31 March, the accompanying personal bodyguards and a group of volunteers decided to return to Tibet to mount a resistance against the Chinese forces.

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At the time as the youngest of them, Anen Dawa and another bodyguard were asked by the Dalai Lama to accompany him to Mussourie where he would establish his first residence. In accordance with Dalai Lama’s instructions, he joined the Tibetan Homes School founded in Mussourie as one of its first 50 students. After completing schooling, Anen Dawa served the CTA dedicatedly in the capacity of a translator and facilitator for Tibetan refugees arriving in Nepal.

He then pursued his further studies in the US at Cornell University and later at Boston from where he graduated with distinction. In 1996, he immigrated to Minnesota through the resettlement policy and retired from service where he lived for the rest of his life. Anen Dawa is survived by his wife Khando Dawa, three children Tseyang, Choewang and Choephel, and granddaughter Zenden.

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By Staff Writer