Interviewee Profile

Name: Tenzin Namgyal
(Alias: Yes)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 75

Date of Birth: 1935

Birthplace: Lhasa Shol, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Currently

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 19M

Date: 2010-04-13

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Resistance and Revolution

Keywords: astrology, childhood memories, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, education, escape experiences, March 10th Uprising, monastic life, Utsang


Tenzin Namgyal attended school at Shol in Lhasa for two years where he learned basic reading and writing. Then he joined the Mentsekhang 'Medical Center' and studied astrology for nine years. He talks about the two forms of astrology called kartse and nagtse, which had their uses in the daily life predicting auspicious dates and marriage compatibility.

Tenzin Namgyal decided to leave his studies and join a monastery because two of his brothers were already monks and his mother thought it would be better life for him. He became a monk at the age of 20 at Gaden Monastery and describes the daily routine. He explains that some monks faced the difficulties due to the lack of food because they were too far from home to receive enough rations from family and had to go work in the fields.

Tenzin Namgyal depicts the turmoil in Lhasa in 1959 when thousands of Tibetan people gathered to protect His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The event culminated in the stoning to death of a Tibetan man believed to be a Chinese informer, which his mother witnessed. Tenzin Namgyal continues his story with his leaving the monastery and joining the guerrillas of the Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force]. Despite several encounters his unit had with Chinese soldiers, he was able to reach Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, India through the Mangola Pass.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Pema Tashi (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Tenzin Namgyal (alias) on 4/13/2010

Length: 02:17:52

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