Naren Chandra Das, the last survivor of a small group of Indian soldiers who accompanied the Dalai Lama on his journey from Tibet in 1959, died this week at the age of 85 in India.
The Dalai Lama, the now 86-year-old spiritual leader of Tibet, arrived in India as a young monk after a 13-day trek through the Himalayas disguised as a soldier, so as not to be captured by Chinese forces. Along the way, he was accompanied by the paramilitary force Assam Rifles, the oldest in the Indian Army, to which Naren Chandra Das belonged.
With six other soldiers, Narin helped the Dalai Lama reach Lumla, northeastern India, on March 31, 1959. Since then, the spiritual leader has been exiled to Indian lands. The two men met again, for the first time, in 2017, in an emotionally charged meeting.
“Looking at your face, I realize that I must be very old too,” said the Tibetan Spiritual Leader of Das at the time. A year later, Das was invited to Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama established a Tibetan government-in-exile with New Delhi’s permission.
The former soldier explained last year: “I went with my family and there they hugged me. It also gave me something to remember. I will never forget that meeting.”
Naren Chandra Das died on Monday, 27, at his home in Assam, India.
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