Name: Tenzin Namsay
Interview Age: 68
Date of Birth: 1944
Birthplace: Markham Shidong, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 2006
Profession: Dairy Farming, Farming
Political Prisoner: Yes
Interview No.: 73D
Location: Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
Categories: Oppression and Imprisonment
Keywords: brutality/torture, monasteries -- destruction of , Chinese -- first appearance of, forced labor, Kham, monastic life, Chinese -- oppression under, resistance, starvation, thamzing/struggle sessions, wealthy/upper class
Tenzin Namsay was born in Shidong into a wealthy family. They owned a large area of land and she led a very happy life until the age of 12. Her family's life changed completely after the Chinese appeared. She narrates her painful experience of running away to the mountains with all the villagers while the monks of the monastery and the men tried to resist the Chinese. Her father was imprisoned and her mother died during the first year of hiding in the mountains.
After three years Tenzin Namsay and her younger siblings returned to their village, but their property had been confiscated by the Chinese and they were forced live in a tiny shack. They struggled to grow crops in the poor soil allotted to them. Tenzin Namsay talks about the misery she faced as a messenger delivering letters to distant regions for the Chinese. She describes her suffering of excommunication and work on a road crew.
Tenzin Namsay was subjected to thamzing 'struggle sessions' on many occasions and recounts those horrible experiences. She speaks about how the Chinese divided the Tibetan community into different categories, how the wealthy and influential were accused on false charges, and how they were made to confess their "crimes" by force. Wanting to become a nun for many years, she was finally able to take her vows around the age of 40.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)