Balipara, Assam: The last surviving member – Havaldar Sh. Naren Chandra Das – amongst the seven service men of 5 Assam Rifles Regiment, who passed away on 28th December, 2021 at his home village Udmari, 2 km from Balipara and 25 km from Tezpur, left behind a historical reference for many of those who aspire Buddhism, faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the special bond between India and Tibet.
One of the darkest period in the history of Tibet when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to escape his own country on 17th March 1959, fatigued and exhausted yet unshaken by the belief that India shall extend the refuge for being Guru for its Chela. After having reached the border of NEFA, present day Arunachal Pradesh, on 31st day of March 1959, His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminiscences that after having seen the Indian official and service men of Assam Rifle, his fear and skepticism was overthrown by hope, survival and reassurance of Tibetan identity that is emboldened in the values of Buddhist faith and practice.
It is here that the reference of Sh. Naren Chandra Das came into existence that he along with six other service men of 5 Assam Rifles Regiment escorted His Holiness the Dalai Lama from Indo-Tibet border to Lumla in Arunachal Pradesh. Prior to Sh. Das passing away, he was also invited at several events in Guwahati as well as in Dharamshala particularly during Thank You India event in 2018.
With the condolence letter issued under the signature of Hon’ble Sikyong Mr. Penpa Tsering, a brief program was organised in his village of Udmari, Balipara. Although it was planned to organise in the first week of January, 2022 but sudden surge of Covid-19 cases had forced to postpone till today.
Sh. Soumyadeep Datta, Regional Convener for Assam & Meghalaya, Core Group for Tibetan Cause – India (CGTC-I) along with the volunteers from Free Tibet – A Voice from Assam had arranged this event on the ground that was participated by Sh. Mrinal Saikia, Zila Parishad Member, Balipara and Social Activist; Sh. Jadab Das, Village Head, Udmari; Sh. Pankaj Borah, Village Secretary, Udmari; Sh. Ankur Das; along with the members of the Press Community including Sh. Deepjyoti Koch Saikia, Prag News and Head Press Club, Balipara; Ms. Nirala Deka, Secretary, Press Club, Balipara and Asomiya Pratidin; Sh. Milan Das, Pratidin Time and Sh. Paranjal P. Bora, Niyomiya Barta.
In his address at the occasion, Sh. Datta lamented on three points – first, to raise awareness amongst the community itself that there have not been any borders with India and China but only with Tibet. Second, to embrace the legacy and service of late Sh. Naren Chandra Das, not only in Udmari, Balipara but throughout Assam. Third, to erect a stupa in his honor with the support of local communities and supporters of Free Tibet – A Voice from Assam that shall attract visitors and educate not only his service to His Holiness the Dalai Lama but India’s deep rooted relation with Tibet.
Sh. Mrinal Saikia reaffirmed that the local community and the administration shall take this opportunity to do whatever possible in keeping alive the service of late Sh. Das in annals of public memory in many years to come.
The condolence letter addressed to Sh. Rajendra Das, eldest son of late Sh. Naren Chandra Das was received by Sh. Deepak Das, Sh. Rupak Das and Ms. Rina Bhuyan, middle and younger sons and daughter respectively as his eldest son was posted in SSB in Lucknow.
Being a small village of 121 households, one couldn’t have expected but there were more than 50 community members including 15 members of late Sh. Naren Chandra Das’ family itself and dozens of local media that covered the event reflecting the deemed appreciation towards the service of late Sh. Naren Chandra Das.
-Report filed by ITCO Delhi