Obituary-Chime Dorjee, founder & director of Gangjong Doeghar

By Ms Tsarong Dolkar Tshering | Gangtok | 4 November 2019.

Founder-Director of Gangjong Doeghar (Tibetan-Himalayan Performing Arts), Mr Chime Dorjee (1942-2019) pictured creating a Tibetan Snow Lion costume.

Legendary Tibetan musician, artist, and craftsman and Founder-Director of Gangjong Doeghar (Tibetan-Himalayan Performing Arts), Mr Chime Dorjee, popularly known as Dogah, age 77, passed away peacefully on 2nd November 2019 at 9.05 a.m. at Anandaloke Nursing Home, Siliguri, West Bengal, India.

Mr Chime Dorjee a.k.a. A Dogah was born October 7, 1942, at Karze, Kham, eastern Tibet. He showed keen aptitude and interest in learning Tibetan music, dance, and craft at an early age. In 1959, after China’s occupation of Tibet, he fled Tibet and joined the Indo Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI), based in Kalimpong, India. Alongside pursuing his interest and studies in Tibetan music, dance, and crafts, Mr Chime Dorjee, a.k.a. A Dogah single-mindedly supported the mission and activities of His Eminence the XIIth Dardho Rinpoche. Since 1965, he served as the music and dance instructor for ITBCI.

Driven by the need to conserve the Tibetan cultural heritage, in 1994, spearheaded by A Dogah, Mr Phuntsok Wangyal, Mr Tshering Wangdue, Tenzin W. Metoktsang and Jigme Wangchuk Dharshab collectively decided to set-up a cultural group to conserve the rich cultural heritage of Tibet, thus laying the foundation of Gangjong Doegar. It recently celebrated its’ Silver Jubilee on 20th October 2019.

Since its inception, Gangjong Doeghar has showcased over one thousand performances in various places across the Himalayan region (including Bhutan and Nepal) as well as in several cities and towns in the Indian subcontinent and abroad. It has trained over 235 artists and has received numerous awards and appreciation from organizations and individuals. Led by late A Dogah, his whole family is wholeheartedly committed and actively involved in carrying out the mission and activities of Gangjong Doeghar, along with committed artists such as Tashi Dhondup, heart-son of late A Dogah.

Although he was popularly known for his craftsmanship in snow lion and yak costumes in the exile Tibetan community, his connoisseur in Tibetan performing arts, art painting, creative and innovative skills and talents in crafting all kinds of Tibetan costumes as well as his contribution in the field of education, are not so widely known. Among his several contributions, he was also one of the driving force in the revival of Tibetan Opera(Ache Lhamo) in Kalimpong.

He was a man of few words, characterised by his indomitable spirit, simplicity, talent, honesty, deep commitment, and utmost dedication in the conservation and development of Tibetan art, culture, and heritage. His demise is a great loss, not only for his family and people living in this region but also an irreparable loss for the Tibetan community at large.

He is survived by his wife, Dechen Sangmo, and four sons (Mr Samdup Tsering, Program Director of Gangjong Doeghar, Mr Lhundup Wongden, Mr Lhundup Dadul, and Mr Legsang Choedhar). His cremation service will take place on Tuesday, 5th November 2019 at his residential town in Kalimpong, India.

Ms Tsarong Dolkar Tshering is an alumna of Indo Tibetan Buddhist Cultural School (ITBCI) and the Asst. Director of Social Justice, Empowerment and Welfare Department of the Government of Sikkim, Gangtok.

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