Name: Yidham Kyap
Interview Age: 67
Date of Birth: 1943
Birthplace: Tiwu, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 28M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, festivals, Chinese army -- invasion by , Kham, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, monastic life, resistance fighters
Yidham Kyap was born in the village of Tongkhor Nyipa into a family called Damdha. He became a monk at the age of 9 at the insistence of his parents. His father was the village leader and the Chinese promoted his father after occupying the village. His father was later demoted when he refused to lead his people in the destruction of the local monastery.
Yidham Kyap stayed in the monastery for only three years before everything changed. The Chinese waged a war in his region of Tibet. He provides an account of the destruction and killings and the resistance of the Tibetan people like his father and the leaders of the Serta, Tiwu and Tsangma regions of eastern Tibet. Yidham Kyap escaped to the hills where over 1,000 had joined the resistance army, but that group was soon captured by the Chinese and he fled again.
Yidham Kyap joined another group of 200 fleeing people, which took more than a year to reach India. He describes in detail his experience of some of their 33 battles with the Chinese. He tells of the various hardships they faced due to the Chinese attacks, shortage of food and the severe cold weather. They traveled along the banks of the Drichu (Yangtse River) and through the regions of Zachukha, Nagchukha and the Changthang before they reached Mustang in Nepal and then Buxa (West Bengal, India) and finally Mundgod in southern India.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)