Interviewee Profile

Name: Kalsang Thakhay
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 75

Date of Birth: 1935

Birthplace: Bhendho Chingkhor, Amdo, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Previously

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 63M

Date: 2010-04-08

Language: Tibetan

Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India

Categories: Resistance and Revolution

Keywords: Amdo, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, Dalai Lama, monastic life, refugee in India -- life as, resistance fighters


Kalsang Thakhay was born in a village near Rikong in Amdo Province. His parents eloped to China because their parents opposed their marriage and he was left with his grandparents at the age of 3. Before age 4 he was sent to the local monastery as a monk where he lived until age 12 when he and another monk ran away to go to Lhasa. They spent a year en route in Kongpo constructing roads for the Chinese.

Kalsang Thakhay recalls his good fortune of receiving blessings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his journey to China in 1954. Kalsang Thakhay joined Gaden Monastery near Lhasa and worked in a monastery store and as a teacher. In March of 1959 monks were requested guard the Potala Palace. Kalsang Thakhay volunteered and describes how the monks received weapons from the Tibetan Government and were barely trained by soldiers. They were told to go back and guard their monasteries, but Lhasa was bombed that day. The monks were then ordered to join the Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas.

Kalsang Thakhay recounts an incident where the Chinese shot at the Tibetans from an airplane and the guerrillas shot back. He witnessed the final moments of the resistance movement when some wanted to stay and fight and others felt it was useless and wanted to flee. Kalsang Thakhay later joined the Indian army with the hope to return to Tibet and fight against Chinese soldiers.

Interview Team:

  • Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
  • Ronny Novick (Videographer)
  • Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Kalsang Thakhay on 4/8/2010

Length: 02:39:49

Short Videos

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Buddhist Monks Given Weapons in Lhasa

Length: 00:03:55

© 2009-2018 Tibet Oral History Project. These translations and transcripts are provided for individual research purposes only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction and quotation beyond fair use, permission must be obtained in writing from: Tibet Oral History Project, P.O. Box 6464, Moraga, CA 94570-6464. Privacy Policy