Interview Age: 70
Date of Birth: 1940
Birthplace: Gerze, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 37M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, customs/traditions, environment/wildlife, escape experiences, Chinese rule -- life under, medical treatment, nomadic life, shamans/mediums, trade, Utsang, death/burial customs
Norsang was born in a nomadic family where a child was sent to graze yaks and sheep when he turned 7 or 8. His family lived in a ba 'tent made of yak hair' and possessed around 1,000 sheep and 100-200 yaks. He talks about wild animals like the wild asses, antelopes, gazelles and brown bears found in the region. He recalls an incident where a Tibetan brown bear along with its two cubs attacked an uncle, but the uncle was able to kill the bear in defense.
Norsang describes the social customs during those days, such as death rituals, people's superstitious beliefs regarding certain birds, and sick people treated by ngagpa 'shamans' and lhawa 'mediums' in the absence of doctors and hospitals. He speaks in length about the mediums--their dress, rituals invoking protective deities which entered their bodies, and various methods used by the lhawa to treat the sick and the results.
Norsang's village was located in an isolated place so they were not initially effected by the Chinese invasion. Later the villagers were ordered to surrender their weapons to the Chinese, which the elders in his family did not want to. They chose instead to escape to India through the Ladakh region.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)