Interviewee Profile

Name: Dechen Lhamo
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 74

Date of Birth: 1936

Birthplace: Gyangtse, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1966

Profession: Farming

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 57M

Date: 2010-04-13

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chinese rule -- life under, customs/traditions, escape experiences, forced labor, imprisonment, marriage practices, monasteries -- relationship with , refugee in India -- life as, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang


Dechen Lhamo was born in Gyangtse, a large town in central Tibet. Her family worked as farmers and her father was also employed to distribute offerings to the monasteries of Gyangtse. She describes how the offering contribution is distributed to the monasteries.

Dechen Lhamo was given away as a bride to a family in Phari by her father at the age of 21. She gives a detailed description of how marriages are arranged by the bride and groom's families, the clothing and jewelry provided and the delivery of the bride to the groom's house.

Dechen Lhamo remembers the Chinese arrived a year after her marriage. Her husband was sent by the local Tibetan administration many times to Kalimpong [West Bengal, India] to deliver letters. This had serious repercussions on her life when the Chinese labeled her husband "running dog of the Dalai." She recounts her suffering under Chinese rule after her husband and father-in-law were arrested and her she and her daughters labeled as "rebels." Her husband escaped first, leaving her with a nearly blind father-in-law and two young children. She managed to flee with her family to Bhutan five years after his escape. They were later reunited in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

Interview Team:

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

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Dechen Lhamo on 4/13/2010

Length: 01:57:50

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Tibetan Bride's Journey to Her New Home

Length: 00:03:22

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