Prof. Dawa Norbu (1948-2006)

Prof. Dawa Norbu (1948-2006)

Prof. Dawa Norbu, an expert on Central Asian Politics and the leading voice on Tibetan affairs, was born in Tashigang, a small village near Sakya in Central Tibet in 1948. He escaped Tibet with his family members in 1959. He was educated in Dr. Graham’s Home in Kalimpong and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. His first book Red Star over Tibet was published in 1974. He worked as an editor of the Tibetan Review, a monthly journal, from 1972 to 1976. In 1976, he went to the United States to study at the University of California, Berkeley. He finished his doctorate in 1982. At the same time he taught at the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University, California. After returning to India, he taught first in North Bengal University, and then joined Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was a Professor of Centre Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and an Honorary Fellow, University of Durham in the UK. He took two year sabbatical leave from JNU to teach in the U.S.

He was a legend in his own lifetime. He created so much awareness about Tibet and the Tibetan people through his acclaimed books like Red Star Over Tibet, Tibet: The Road Ahead, and China’s Tibet Policy. He had published many scholarly papers in such reputed journals as China Quarterly, Asian Survey, Royal Central Asian Society Journal, International Studies and Pacific Affairs.

He received the Tibetan Youth Congress Literary Award in 1998. One of the frontrunners of the Tibetan intellectual circle, Dawa often had to face the wrath of the Tibetan community for his openness and outright criticisms in his writings.

After prolong illness, Prof. Dawa Norbu died at the age of 58 on 28 May 2006. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Other Reference:

1) Prof Dawa Norbu: An obituary by Dr. M.N. Rajesh (
2) Remembering Professor Dawa Norbu by Syed Ali Mujtaba (mujtabas musings)
3) Tibetans Mourn Passing Away of Prof. Dawa Norbu (


1. The 1959 Tibetan Rebellion: An Interpretation The China Quarterly, No. 77. (Mar., 1979), pp. 74-93.
2. Armed Struggle in the Offing Editorial by Prof. Dawa T. Norbu (January/February 1976)
3. A Struggle in Travail Editorial by Mr. Dawa T. Norbu (February/March 1975)
4. Tibetan Settlements: Participation & Integration by Dr. Dawa Norbu “Exile As challenge – The Tibetan Diaspora” ( 2004 ) edited by Dagmar Bernstorff & Hubertus von Welck
5. Strategic Development in Tibet: Implications for Its Neighbors By Dawa Norbu, Asian Survey, Vol. 19, No. 3, (Mar., 1979), pp. 245-259
6. Tibet in Sino-Indian Relations: The Centrality of Marginality By Dawa Norbu, Asian Survey, Vol. 37, No. 11, (Nov., 1997), pp. 1078-1095
7. China’s Dialogue With the Dalai Lama 1978-90: Prenegotiation Stage of Dead End? Dawa Norbu, Pacific Affairs, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Autumn, 1991), pp. 351-372.
8. Cultural Preconditions for Development: Tradition and Modernity Reconsidered in the Light of Post-Modernism, Dawa Norbu “Interface of Cultural Identity Development” 1996 Edited by Baidyanath Saraswati
9. The Serbian Hegemony, Ethnic Heterogeneity and Yugoslav Break-Up, Dawa Norbu, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 14, April 03, 1999
10. A Committed Tibetologist: Nirmal Chandra Sinha, 1911-97, Dawa Norbu, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol – XXXIII No. 47-48, November 21, 1998
11. Post-Communist Societies Return of the Reformed Natives, Dawa Norbu, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol – XXXI No. 2-3, January 13, 1996
12. Chinese Strategic Thinking on Tibet and the Himalayan Region, Dawa Norbu, Strategic Analysis, Vol. 32, Issue 4, July 2008
13. The history of geography, Dawa Norbu, Himal, June 1998
14. The Europeanization of Sino-Tibetan Relations, 1775-1907: the Genesis of Chinese ‘Suzerainty’ and Tibetan ‘Autonomy’ Dawa Norbu, Tibet Journal, 15.4 (1990): 28.
15. Bhutan by Dawa Norbu, Encyclopaedia Britannica
16. The Tibetan Response To Chinese “liberation” Dawa Norbu – Asian Affairs – Vol. 6 – Issue 3 – 1975 – pp. 264-274
17. China’s Policy Towards its Minority Nationalities the in Nineties, Dawa Norbu China Report, Vol. 28, Issue 3, 1992, pp. 219-233
18. Indo – Tibetan Cultural Relations through the Ages, Dawa Norbu, Himalayan and Central Asian Studies, Vol. 13 No.1 (January – March 2009)
19. Han Hegemony and Tibetan Ethnicity, Dawa Norbu, International Studies July 1995 Vol. 32 Issue 3 pp. 297-314
20. Self determination in the Post-Soviet Era: A Case Study of Tibet, Dawa Norbu, International Studies, 1997, Vol. 34, Issue 3, pp. 237-268
21. Tibetan Refugees in South Asia: A Case of Peaceful Adjustment “In Refugees and Regional Security in South Asia, S.D. Muni and L.R. Baral, Konark Publishers, 78-98
22. Refugees from Tibet: Structural Causes of Successful Settlements, Dawa Norbu, Tibet Journal, 26.2, pp. 3-25
23. Karmic Ethos in Lamaist Society, “Religion and Scoeity in the Himalayas”, Tanka B. Subba and Karubaki Datta, Gian (1991) pp. 9-31


1. Tibet under Communist Rule by Dawa Norbu on ‘The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947 (Tsering Shakya)


1. Culture and the politics of Third World Nationalism. Routledge, 1992 (ISBN 9780415080033)
2. Red star over Tibet. Collins, 1974 (ISBN 9780002118422)
3. Ethnicity and politics in Central Asia. South Asian Publishers, 1992 (ISBN 9788170031567)
4. Tibet, coauthored with Yeshi Choedon, Roli Books Pvt Ltd, 1996 (ISBN 9788174370945)
5. Tibet : the road ahead. Rider & Co, 1998 (ISBN 978-0712671965)
6. China’s Tibet policy. Routledge, 2001 (ISBN 9780700704743)
7. Kache Phalu’s Advice on the Art of Living, Translated by Dawa Norbu, Paljor Publication, 2002 (ISBN 8185102643)


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