Interview Age: 74
Date of Birth: 1938
Birthplace: Sakha Kocha, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1963
Political Prisoner: Yes
Interview No.: 18D
Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, imprisonment, Chinese army -- invasion by , refugee in India -- life as, Panchen Lama, servitude, Utsang
Namdol comes from a large family, which owned a vast tract of land on which they grew crops. As part of the land tax, she was sent to be a servant for a private estate called Mapcha Shikha. Namdol describes her arduous task of making compost, how the owner mistreated her and other servants, and the poor food and housing they were given. After 12 years of work she ran away to Shigatse because the estate owner would not release her from servitude.
In Shigatse Namdol met her husband, who was a personal attendant to the Panchen Lama. She talks about his responsibilities and most importantly about Panchen Rinpoche's personality, his concern for the Tibetan people, dislike of the Chinese army, and his arrest and imprisonment.
Namdol witnessed the early appearance of the Chinese, who provided assistance to the Tibetans and presented many musical shows where they declared that the Communist Party was coming and would bring food and clothing for the Tibetans. Then Shigatse was taken over by the Chinese army and Namdol witnessed the beating and arrest of many monks and leaders. When the Chinese collected all the paper money from Tibetans and set fire to it, Namdol protested and was herself imprisoned for one week in a government storehouse. She recalls how she and her husband concocted a false story to obtain a travel permit in order to escape from Tibet which was then heavily guarded throughout by the Chinese army.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)