Interview Age: 80
Date of Birth: 1932
Birthplace: Nyarong, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Herding, Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 63D
Location: Bir, Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, government/administration, guerrillas in Mustang, herding, Chinese army -- invasion by , Kham, monastic life, resistance
Ati belonged to a nomadic family and recalls herding yaks as a child with his mother. He became a monk at the age of 10, studying and living at a hermitage, and later joined Gyukhu Monastery. However, he left monkhood at the age of 14 in order to return home and help his mother. Ati then became a bodyguard to Gyari Nyima, the chieftain of the region. Ati travelled to various villages where Gyari Nyima went to settle disputes and look after the welfare of his subjects.
Ati describes in detail how in 1956 the invading Communist Chinese affected liberation and how the chieftains of various regions decided to rebel against the Chinese. He provides an elaborate account of the numerous fierce and dangerous encounters he and his people had with the Chinese army until they were defeated in 1959. Then the rebels and their families were forced to flee to the mountains. They were pursued by the Chinese and eventually their wives and children were either captured or killed and only 18 men survived.
After escaping to India, Ati decided to join the Mustang Unit of the Chushi Gangdruk Defend Tibet Volunteer Force in Nepal. He gives an in-depth account of how the Mustang Unit was organized in 1960 and the troops were trained by 12 Tibetans who had received training in the United States. Ati describes his involvement and the operations carried out inside Tibet to attack the Chinese. He went to India after the Nepalese Government disbanded the unit in 1974.
- Rebecca Novick (Interviewer)
- Ronny Novick (Videographer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)