The Dalai Lama Flees Tibet

March 31, 1959

By then our party had increased to 100, and we were escorted by about 350 Tibetan soldiers, and at least 50 guerrillas. From Ra-me, a detachment of about 100 men was sent to the southwest, to protect us in case the Chinese approached from the direction of the main road into India.

The rest of us rode on for the next five days into the heart of the mountains by the narrow stony tracks which are typical of old Tibet. By day we divided into several groups; each night we stopped in a village or monastery. Sometimes we had no guerrilla leaders with us. They came and went, keeping in touch with all the isolated bands who were living in the mountains, and we knew that we were surrounded by faithful determined men whom we never saw. Not all of them knew who they were defending. The first night after lodging at Ra-me, we stayed in a big village called Dophu Choekhor, where guerrillas are still keeping up a desperate fight against the Chinese invaders to this day. The whole village came out to welcome us, but most of them did not recognize me in the unfamiliar clothes I was wearing, nor did most of the monks in the neighboring monastery.

From "My Land and My People," by the Dalai Lama of Tibet

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