TOUGH TIMES NEVER LAST, BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO: THE ENDURING SAGA OF THE DALAI LAMA
Sixty Years ago, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama survived a very tough ordeal to serve his Land and People to the best of his abilities.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
The 14th Dalai Lama flees from Tibet to India across the Himalayas, 1959. He is riding a white pony, third from the right. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images
The Chinese were yesterday using planes and some fifty thousand troops, including paratroops, to search the Tibetan mountain passes for the Dalai Lama. But according to reports from Kalimpong, in North-east India, the Tibetan religious leader, moving only by night, was expected to cross the frontier within a few days.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, Mr. Silun Lukhangwa, a former Tibetan Premier, said it was hoped to send a delegation to the United Nations to protest against Chinese action in his country. He was speaking after two Tibetan groups had appealed for Indian aid in the crisis in an interview with Mr. Nehru. An Indian official press release merely said: “Mr. Nehru spoke to them briefly, expressing the hope that the present difficulties in Tibet would end peacefully. He made it clear that India was not in a position to intervene and in fact would not like to take any steps which might aggravate the situation there.”
The Dalai Lama is accompanied on his flight by his mother and sisters, as well as most members of the Tibetan Cabinet, it was learned yesterday. His progress on the 200-mile trek to safety is slow, but it was believed in Kalimpong yesterday that reports that he had been injured in a fall were incorrect. The territory through which he is believed to be moving is the roadless mountainous region of the Tibetan plateau, south-east of Lhasa, bordering Bhutan and the Indian North-east Frontier Agency. The Indian north-east frontier region has been closed to anyone without a permit, and it was stated in New Delhi that no permits could be issued at present.
Reports said the Chinese were dropping paratroopers in an effort to intercept the Dalai Lama. Other troops were going from village to village and monastery to monastery “harassing” inhabitants and monks to try to extort information about him. Strong cordons of Chinese soldiers were being thrown round many monasteries, including the one at Rongbuk, near Mount Everest.
The Tibetan delegation gave Mr. Nehru a memorandum asking him:
1. To lend his active support in securing the personal safety of the Dalai Lama.
2. To send immediately a mercy mission to Tibet with medical supplies.
3. To sponsor the Tibetan cause before the United Nations.
4. To permit Tibetan refugees to cross over freely into India.
It was thought in New Delhi that Mr. Nehru might well pass on the memorandum to the Chinese for their information. The Tibetan groups’ leader, Mr. Lukhangwa, told reporters: “The Dalai Lama’s wishes are the wishes of the people of Tibet. Whatever he says, we will follow him.”