Tsering Gyaltong (1914-2008)

Born in the Male Wood Tiger year 1914 in the small village of Chone, in the Tibetan province of Amdo.  At a very young age, his family placed him in a local monastery to study and eventually continued his studies at the Sermey monastery in Lhasa.   However, his free spirited nature took him away from the monastic world and instead pursued his interest in business that involved traveling for months between Tibet and neighboring countries buying and selling goods.  He met his wife Tsering Dolma in Lhasa and had four children together.

In 1951 when the Chinese invasion of Tibet was in full swing and under occupation, Gyaltong joined a Tibetan underground resistance organization (secretly headed by Senior Chamberlain Phala Thupten Woden) consisting of 30 members, who took the oath of secrecy by signing a document with seal (Theltse Lagkhor). Signatories included Andruk Gonpo Tashi, Alo Chonze Tsering Dorjee, Chagzo Phurbu Wangyal; Shetse Pelsur Dorjee Norbu, Tsawarongpa Dhampa Lodro just to name a few.  Gyaltong was most remembered for his sacrifice and bravery in undertaking the mission of secretly transporting important Tibetan government documents out of Tibet.  In 1957 he left behind his family and began the dangerous mission to India, where he successfully hand delivered the documents to the awaiting senior Tibetan Government officials in Kalimpong.  With the itemized list of documents, he obtained signatures from Tsepon Shakabpa Wangchuk Dedhen, Gyalo Dhondup, Khenchung Lobsang Gyaltsen and former Prime Minister Lhukhangwa but could not return to Lhasa.

Word got around in Lhasa about Gyaltong’s mission and consequently his family and home were kept under constant surveillance by Chinese spies.  A year later, Gyaltong used his connections to successfully orchestrate the escape of his wife and three children out of Tibet.  From 1958 -1963 he remained active in the Tibetan movement by joining the Committee of Tibetan Social Welfare in Kalimpong, while starting up a noodle making business to provide for his family.

In 1964, His Holiness asked him to join the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamshala.  Once more he left his family in Kalimpong and moved to Dharamshala where he served as the Deputy Home Affairs Minister along with Minister Wangdue Dorjee (1964 – 1966).   In 1965 his wife and children joined him in Dharamshala and in 1966 his fourth child was born.    In 1967, he was appointed to establish and manage the Department of Finance for the Tibetan Government in Exile, a portfolio he held until he and his family migrated to Canada in 1972.

In the Male Earth Mouse year (May 7, 2008) he passed away peacefully at his home in Toronto, Canada.

Submitted through Email by Gelek Gyaltong


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