Interview Age: 86
Date of Birth: 1926
Birthplace: Chushul, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Wireless Telegraphy
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 20D
Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: Chinese -- first appearance of, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, government/administration, Utsang
Kunchok's birthplace is Chushul, which he describes as one of the biggest towns in Utsang Province. He speaks about his family occupation working for the Tibetan Government in the Telephone Department. Kunchok gives a detailed account of how telephone lines were installed in Tibet by the British during the time of his grandfather, how the service was continued by his father, brother and himself in Chushul. Phones connected the cities of Gyangtse, Ralung, Nangatse, Pedhe, Chushul and Lhasa.
The phones were located inside a few individual's houses, such as Kunchok's and those persons were responsible for delivering messages, both personal and official, received over the phone. Visitors could also place their own calls from the phones. Kunchok also was responsible for repairing the cables and replacing the wooden poles. In 1959 the Chinese confiscated his telephone.
Kunchok recalls joining the Chushi Gangdrug at the age of 33 and the futile resistance they put up against the Chinese for the next 17 years. He describes the encounters between the guerrillas and the Chinese soldiers that he witnessed and also some of the skirmishes that he was involved in. Ultimately the superior arms and might of the Chinese army outdid the Tibetan forces.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Thupten Kelsang Dakpa (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)