Name: Gyurme Chodon
Interview Age: 69
Date of Birth: 1941
Birthplace: Tseplagang - Kongpo, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Dairy Farming, Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 65M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, forced labor, imprisonment, refugee in India -- life as, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, Utsang, houses/villages, landowners, wealthy/upper class
Gyurme Chodon was a well-loved child of a wealthy family in Kongpo. Her family owned 70-80 acres of land and employed 13-14 workers. Due to their wealth they paid a lot of tax to the Tibetan Government. She describes her family's property and her three-storied house. The house was destroyed during an earthquake and collapsed on her mother.
Gyurme Chodon was punished by the Chinese for not going to school in China by spending six months working on a construction crew. She describes how influential people such as her maternal uncle were subjected to thamzing 'struggle sessions' and imprisoned. After escaping from prison her uncle told his family how prisoners suffered immensely due to lack of food, so much so that they ate human excreta to stave off death from starvation.
The whole family decided to flee the village. In preparation for the escape, Gyurme Chodon's family buried many of their household articles expecting to return in a few months or a year. Once in India the family had to work several years on a road crew in Bomdila until the region was bombed during the Indo-Chinese war of 1962. They had to flee immediately without collecting any of the few belongings they had brought from Tibet.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Namgyal Tsering (Interpreter)
Link: Watch On Youtube
Topic: Interview with Gyurme Chodon on 4/4/2010