By Tenzin Dharpo
People paying respects at the cremation, June 22, 2018
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, June 22: Former servicemen in the army of independent Tibet who had dedicated over 40 years in various capacities for the Tibetan cause, Kelsang Dadul has passed away aged 93 on Wednesday evening at his residence near Lhagyalri here.
Kelsang Dadul or Kedam la as he was popularly known had the distinction of attaching Drashi Gyapon in his title meaning the leader of a 100 men unit when he was in the Tibetan government’s Yugyal Military base in Drashi, Tibet. Dadul has held various leadership positions in the last four decades serving the exile Tibetan set up in India and Nepal.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration held a prayer service on Thursday and shut the offices of the administration from midday as a mark of respect for the former bureaucrat.
He was born in 1925 in Chongye in southern Tibet. In 1943 aged 18, he joined the Tibetan government’s Yugyal Military base in Drashi, Chongye. Five years later, he was promoted to the rank of Dingpon (chief of 50 soldiers) and in 1951, he was promoted to the rank of Gyapon (chief of 100 soldiers).
He was among the soldiers that guarded the Norbulingka palace that became ‘ground zero’ for the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his government in the face of Chinese aggression during the 1959’s Tibetan National Uprising in Lhasa.
Coming into exile, Dadul was elected in the first four Tibetan parliaments that was known as the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies at the time and also the Deputy speaker during the latter part of his stint as a legislator. He had served in various capacities under the CTA’s department of home, security and education and at a time, also as the Secretary.
The former soldier had also served as the Representative to Nepal bureau of CTA’s mission there and also as the settlement officer at Sonamling Tibetan settlement, Ladakh and Lugsum Tibetan settlement, Bylakuppe. He retired after over 40 years service in the year 1983 from active duty.