Leading Tibetologist Elliot Sperling passes away

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Feb 3: Noted American Tibetologist and human-rights activist Elliot Sperling has passed away few days ago at his apartment in Jackson heights in New York.

Professor Elliot Sperling, a distinguished scholar of Tibetan studies and Tibet –China relations was reported dead at his apartment in late January. The cause and the exact time of his demise are still unknown.

16468776_1413620315349041_1538016783_nThe devastating news of the 66-year-old historian’s sudden death broke out on the social networking sites and left his friends and admirers in total disbelief.

“My very dear friend Elliot Sperling, passed away just a few days ago at his apartment in Jackson Heights NY. At the moment I am not capable of saying much more, but I lit a (choe-me) butter lamp to honor the memory of an outstanding Tibet scholar, courageous human-rights activist and a man who was unwavering in his dedication to truth and freedom,” Tibetan activist and writer Jamyang Norbu wrote on his facebook.

Beijing based Tibetan activist and writer Tsering Woeser called the Scholar’s demise as a huge loss. “Its like the whole library was burned,” Woeser tweeted on her Twitter handle.

Professor Sperling was born on January 4, 1951 and prior to his retirement in 2014, he served twenty-nine years as a faculty member of Indiana University’s Department of Central Eurasia Studies; seven of them as the department’s chair. He was also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (1984-89).

Sperling, a fearless advocate of human rights and Tibet’s independence was a member of the advisory board and a life-time member of Tibetan National Congress. His recent articles can be viewed here – http://www.rangzen.net/author/sperling/

Amnye Machen Institute, a Dharamsala-based institute renowned for its work in the field of Tibet studies launched its publication “Trails Of The Tibetan Tradition: Papers for Elliot Sperling” on Feb 23, 2015 to honor the scholar.