Name: Ngawang Sangpo
Interview Age: 65
Date of Birth: 1945
Birthplace: Phumo Changthang, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 9M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, Chinese rule -- life under, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, herding, refugee in India -- life as, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, trade, Utsang
Ngawang Sangpo hails from a small village consisting of 14-15 families. His was a middle-class nomadic family and he recalls going on a trade expedition to Lhopra, where they bartered their butter, cheese, and wool for grains from the farmers. This trade relation existed for many generations and occurred once each year.
Everything in Ngawang Sangpo's village changed when the Chinese arrived in 1957-58. He says they were excellent in deception, first giving gifts to the Tibetans and then gradually oppressed the people, so much so that people began to commit suicide to escape thamzing 'struggle sessions.' Most monks from the local monasteries volunteered to join Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force]. Ngawang Sangpo tells how the monks had no weapons, but resisted with stones and boulders against the Chinese forces' guns and other weapons.
Ngawang Sangpo's parents feared the Chinese would take him away to school in China like other village children and sent him into exile while they waited for the release of his maternal uncle from prison. Ngawang Sangpo first arrived in Bhutan and then went to India, where he decided to become a monk. He later suffered from seizures and describes being treated by a Tibetan doctor with a golden needle.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Link: Watch On Youtube
Topic: Interview with Ngawang Sangpo on 4/4/2010