Interview Age: 95
Date of Birth: 1912
Birthplace: Dege, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Dairy Farming, Agriculture
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 25
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, festivals, Chinese -- first appearance of, Kham, Chinese rule -- life under, nomadic life, houses/villages, landowners
Tashi's family, called Woma, lived in a three-story house on a large piece of land. They owned farmland and over 100 animals. Tashi gives an account of his boyhood as a nomad living in a large tent made of animal fur, which was moved three times each summer.
Tashi left his life as a nomad at age 21 in order to care for the horses and mules belonging to his uncle, a prominent lama, in Kongpo. Tashi gives an account of the deaths of both his first and second wives and, after marrying for the third time, settles as a farmer in Digung. In 1959 the Chinese came to Digung on three separate occasions. Tashi was told that he owned too much land and must give away one-third of his property to families without any land.
Soon after, fearing the return of the Chinese, about 30 families including Tashi's fled north, hoping to reach a Tibetan army camp. The Chinese captured some of the group and the rest fled, leaving behind their horses, yaks and belongings. Tashi refused to surrender and managed to retrieve 72 yaks and save a woman's life. Tashi and his family then made a slow escape south to India, having to carefully evade the Chinese army and claim they were going to visit relatives in order disguise their true motive for travelling.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Jeff Lodas (Videographer)