Interview Age: 77
Date of Birth: 1935
Birthplace: Derge Yilhung, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1958
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 54D
Location: Bir, Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, guerrillas in Mustang, herding, Kham, refugee in Nepal -- life as, resistance, trade
Jiga hails from a nomadic background. He remembers women in the family milked the dri 'female yaks' and made dairy products. At the age of 16-17, Jiga become a transporter, delivering goods on yaks. He describes the journey of the transporters who carried tea leaves for traders towards Lhasa. Later the yak transporters worked for the Chinese by moving their army supplies. Thousands of yaks were hired and they were paid very well with silver coins.
Jiga's livelihood of transportation slowly ended due to changes in the Chinese attitude toward the Tibetans. Many people were being arrested and property confiscated. Unable to bear the Chinese oppression, his region's people fled to the mountains and tried to hide from the Chinese. They suffered from lack of food and were only able to eat meat from stolen animals or hunted wild animals. Occasionally they tried to raid the Chinese communes to get supplies. Jiga gives a detailed description of their numerous encounters with Chinese troops and the casualties they suffered that reduced the group of 112 to 38 people.
Jiga traveled for months to reach the Nepalese border and then joined the Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force] in Mustang. They attempted several attacks on the Chinese troops and Jiga believes he survived due to the blessing of his protective amulet.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)