In 2015, a book, entitled, The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong, was published by Gyalo Thondup and assisted by Anne F. Thurston. The significance of this book about Tibet is not only because Gyalo Thondup is the elder brother of the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of Tibet selected by ‘reincarnation’ after the 13th Dalai Lama's death, but also because Gyalo Thondup, with his entire family, devoted all their lives to take care of the 14th Dalai Lama before and after the Holiness reached 15 years old and assumed the responsibility from the caretaker Reting Regent. Among five male siblings, Gaylo is the only one who did not become a monk. He studied in Nanking and in the U.S., but was not a diligent student, admitted by himself. Nevertheless he was groomed to serve the 14th Dalai Lama. Gyalo's book is an autobiography reflecting his honest nature as a Tibetan illustrating his and Dalai Lama's life-long experiences with chronological detail. More importantly, not to be misled by the title, this book described the inner workings of the reincarnation search and the Reting Regent government structure as well as the grooming process of the Dalai Lama from infant to maturity age to assume the spiritual and political leadership with a cabinet of advisors. Thurston was honest to say: "political rule by incarnation is an almost certain guarantee of bad government".
Through Gyalo's book, we can learn that the unique religious practice in Tibet has controlled the Tibetans lives in an unfair social political system for generations. The monks and elites had the power and wealth but the people, devoted believers, remained poor peasants generation after generation. Gyalo might have recognized that Tibet needed reform but the ministers surrounded the Dalai Lama apparently clanged to traditions insisting on keeping the system as true independence. Failing to respect the written history of where Tibetans came from and consisting of (for example Chinese Wencheng Princess, 628-680, Tang Dynasty, married King of Tibet) and failing to understand the meaning of separation of politics and religion and ideologies prevailing in the contemporary world (Sun Yat San's Three Principles and Mao's Words on Revolution) sowed the seeds for disaster when demanding the maintenance of Tibet's traditional religious-politico-economic system.
When Gyalo was only a young man (his brother 14th Dalai Lama 2 years younger), he served as a leading figure and spokesperson for Tibet but he was powerless to do anything by himself. In hindsight, we see that the Reting Regent was stubborn and ignorant to understand the British selfish foreign policy towards India (and Tibet and China). Even Gyalo himself was naive to understand the intrigue politics of the Chinese political parties, CCP and KMT from 1911 to 1949 and beyond. Gyalo and his cabinet colleagues were not in the league of Indian Prime Minister Nehru thus could only hopelessly accept Nehru's decisions and change of hearts toying the Tibet independence issue. Gyalo was also ignorant about the US-China and US-Taiwan relations, naively believing that the CIA (the U.S.) was sincerely helping Tibet to achieve independence rather than simply creating problems in China's backyard, a strategy based on anti-communism and legacy of Korean War.
Perhaps because of his innocence, naivety, and likable personality, Gyalo as a spokesperson for Dalai Lama was presented with many opportunities to have direct contacts with world leaders, besides Americans and Indians, Gyalo maintained contact with both Chiang Kai-Shek of KMT as well as Zhu De, Mao Tse Dong and later Deng Xiaoping of CCP but never was effective in producing any meaningful negotiation to obtain any real commitment from either side to maintain Tibet's antiquated religious and political system. The Tibetans including Gyalo and Dalai Lama just did not understand these leaders' views of Chinese history and nation building. In 1949, when CCP won the struggle against KMT and established the People’s Republic of China, Tibet was invited to attend the celebration but Tibet representatives failed to negotiate an autonomous region status for Tibet which was most likely acceptable to CCP at that time. Insisting on maintaining existing political system and the indecision to accept Mao's proposal, eventually invited the Chinese troops. The wishful thinking that India and the U.S. even Russia would sincerely fight for Tibet was again naive.
Dalai Lama's exile and maintaining an exile government in India which offered no assistance made no sense. Inconsistency and lack of skills in diplomatic protocols messed up a number of opportunities to reach a meaningful agreement with CCP as Gyalo admitted and explained in several chapters of his book. Eventually, the Dalai Lama had made compromises yielding political claims such as let the Chinese Central Government have the foreign policy responsibility over Tibet. This would produce a workable system under China's one nation multiple systems policy designed to deal with Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan issues. When 10th Panchen Lama died (1989), Dalai Lama should have accepted the CCP's invitation to preside at his memorial service as the Tibetans' leader. Afraid of being kidnapped is not a justifiable excuse knowing that the 10th Panchen Lama had been outspoken in fighting for Tibet's benefits while living in China. Gyalo was right to say that was an opportunity lost.
The 14th Dalai Lama was born in 1935 and anointed in 1939. It is understandable that in the early part of Dalai Lama's life, he was an inexperienced youth basically influenced by bad advices from his senior conservative monks. Now Dalai Lama is 81, living outside of Tibet since 1959, what is the excuse not to return to Tibet to focus on restoring and maintaining the Tibet culture, language and religion since the entire China (including Tibet) has been restoring from the culture revolution. Witnessing the changes in the world, religiously (Catholicism, Christianity, Islamism) and politically (WW II, Cold War, Rise of China), it would be wise to bury the past (mistakes made by all parties) and go back to the highest monastery in the world to do something for the people of Tibet and for the peace of China and the world.