Interviewee Profile

Name: Dorji Damdul
(Alias: Yes)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 75

Date of Birth: 1932

Birthplace: Dhang, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1960

Profession: Monk

Monk/Nun: Previously

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 18

Date: 2007-06-28

Language: Tibetan

Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India

Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation

Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, Chinese rule -- life under, education, escape experiences, imprisonment, monastic life, refugee in India -- life as, Utsang, wealthy/upper class


Dorji Damdul had seventeen brothers and sisters from three different mothers. His village contained the only school within five districts so Dorji Damdul had the good fortune to be sent to school. Due to poor behavior, he was removed from school and his parents sent him to join a local monastery. Dorji Damdul provides a description of monastic life and his daily routine.

The Chinese labeled Dorji Damdul as a "rebel" because of his family's high status in the community. They restricted his movements and arrested his uncle, who served as head of the family. The Chinese arrested many monks and distributed the property of the monastery to the people of the village. Dorji Damdul was forced to return home, but his house had been emptied by the Chinese. After a year, he decided to marry, but the Chinese also imprisoned his wife, who came from a prominent family.

Fearing his own arrest, Dorji Damdul decided to flee to Bhutan with his wife, who had been released from prison because she was pregnant. During the journey, his wife gave birth to their baby, but after reaching Bhutan the baby died in 6 days. The couple traveled to Balingpur and then to Bylakuppe, India, where they resettled.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Jeff Lodas (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Dorji Damdul (alias) on 6/28/2007

Length: 01:23:28

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