Name: Khiku Luku
Interview Age: 69
Date of Birth: 1941
Birthplace: Gerge, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1962
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 40M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chinese rule -- life under, escape experiences, forced labor, imprisonment, myths/stories, nomadic life, resistance fighters, taxes, Utsang
Khiku Luku's real name was Karma Wangchuk Gyaltsen. He was given the name Khiku 'puppy' Luku 'lamb' after he nearly died of an illness as a baby. Two older siblings had died and the family wanted to prevent his death by calling him this name to indicate that he was not a human child, which should protect him from evil spirits. As a nomadic family, Khiku Luku's family owned about 160-180 yaks and 1,200 sheep. They lived in a large tent made from yak hair. He describes the atung who traveled from place to place to deliver letters.
Khiku Luku speaks about the origin of his family, which was the Kham Province, and how they came to live in Gerge in Thoe Ngari in the late 1800s or early 1900s. His ancestors and several others were travelling home from a pilgrimage when they assisted the local army in defeating the Nepalese in a battle. In gratitude for their efforts, the group of travelers were offered grazing land and special tax exemptions so they decided to start a new community there.
Khiku Luku's first experience of Chinese occurred in 1958. His father had been elected as community leader, but before he could take office, the Chinese arrested him. Khiku Luku describes the villagers failed resistance, capture, imprisonment and forced labor. He paints a vivid picture of the suffering undergone by his father and other prisoners.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)