Ratu with Gyalo Thondup at Chakrata/file
DHARAMSHALA, February 9: A former soldier in the Chushi Gangdruk and one of the founding members of the Special Frontier Force, an Indian paramilitary troop comprising of Tibetan recruits, has breathed his last on February 7, 2016 at his residence at the Samyeling Tibetan Colony in Majnuka Tilla, Delhi.
Ratuk Ngawang was born in Kham Lithang in 1926. A close confidante of Adruk Gonpo Tashi, the businessman who founded the Tibetan resistance army in the guise of a business group, Ratuk Ngawang rose to the top of this resistance army.
Ngawang was a part of the Chushi Gangdruk troops that accompanied the young Dalai Lama on his flight to India, one of his biggest contribution to the Tibetan people.
Ratu Ngawang lay in rest, Family photo
Ratu Ngawang was roped in by Gyalo Thondup to lead the Tibetan Special Frontier Force, which also came to be known as the 22, courtesy its first Inspector General Sujan Singh Uban who hailed from the 22 Mountain Regiment. Ratu Ngawang played a key role in recruitment of Tibetan youth into the newly created Tibetan regiment in 1963 which was a brainchild of Pandit Nehru and the CIA in tackling China.
Ratu Ngawang led one of the three columns that set on foot into the marshy tracts of Chittagong in the 1971 Bangladesh war. The Tibetan participation in the 1971 war is a little known fact amongst Indian public as the Tibetans were not officially on the battlefield. Ratu Ngawang led the North Column while Pekar Thinlay and Gyato Thondup led the South Column and Central Column respectively. 51 Tibetan soldiers lost their lives in the war that gave birth to Bangladesh as a new country.
"I have enrolled myself in the Special Frontier Force with an aim to fight the Chinese. I lured the new recruits by telling them that it was an opportunity to fight the Chinese. I was myself ready to die fighting the Chinese," Ratu recalled telling his boss Sujan Singh Uban when he was asked about the possibility of the Tibetan soldiers joining the Bangladesh War in 1971, in an interview.
Reactions to the news of his death on social networking sites hail him as a true hero of Tibet.
Ratu Ngawang la is survived by his wife Dechen Wangmo and four children. He was 90.