Interviewee Profile

Name: Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 61

Date of Birth: 1953

Birthplace: Gyangkar, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: N/A

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 23C

Date: 2014-08-03

Language: English

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, education, escape experiences, refugee in Nepal -- life as, Utsang


Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen was born in Gyangkar in Utsang. As the only boy in the family, he teased his five sisters and was spoiled by his parents. He describes his large home and beautiful village with snow-covered mountains and lakes and a large nunnery nearby. His family farmed and reared animals and his father also engaged in trading. Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen talks about the school system in Tibet and shares his experience of attending classes with a local tutor.

Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen remembers being very ill at the age of 5. He also recalls a prophecy by a learned lama that was given to his parents and the consequences of not fulfilling the prediction. He then recounts the appearance of Chinese in his village and being forced to learn Chinese songs with other village children at nightly meetings. His parents made a sudden decision to escape after a friend informed them that they would be arrested the next day.

Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen describes their preparations to leave and the harsh journey over the mountains. He felt sad witnessing his family reduced to laborers in Nepal. When a Tibetan school opened in Darjeeling, India his parents enrolled him. His good education allowed him to serve the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala before migrating to the United States.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tomas Haywood (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Lama Wangchuk Gyaltsen on 8/3/2014

Length: 00:58:13

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