This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (June 2013)
A garpön is historically a local or regional leader in Tibet and parts of Ladakh who has command and prominence over a district or area. He is highly regarded by the people and respected as a governor although his power and authority is informal in a given area. Ultimate leadership and spiritual leadership in Tibet was always given centrally to the Dalai Lama in the capital of Lhasa. Garpöns were usually regarded as localized ministers to maintain district order. However, with the Chinese invasion of 1949, with Tibet now under the control of the People's Republic of China, the rulership of local district garpöns has diminished somewhat in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Sir Edward Birkbeck Wakefield has cited that in Ladakh there was often a senior and a junior garpön.
In the film Seven Years in Tibet (1997 film), a garpön in western Tibet was played by Samdup Dhargyal and was cited as being the eminent ruler of the province.
- Sir Edward Birkbeck Wakefield, Past Imperative (1966)
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