Name: Tsering Choden
Interview Age: 68
Date of Birth: 1946
Birthplace: Lhasa, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1956
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 25C
Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, customs/traditions, education, festivals, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, pilgrimage, trade, Utsang, clothing/weaving, houses/villages, wealthy/upper class
Tsering Choden was born in a well-to-do family in Lhasa. Her father was in the import-export business and she fondly remembers when her father brought bubble gum and hair ribbons as gifts from his trade missions to India. She describes their spacious house, inhabited by many relatives and tenants, and the meals they enjoyed. She recalls the silk and brocade dresses and explains the aprons worn by the women and the patu--a girl's coming of age ceremony. She enjoyed visiting the nearby Jokhang Temple and learning about the Buddha's life. Her family was known for their gifts to the great monasteries near Lhasa.
Tsering Choden talks about her schooling in Lhasa and her talent in performing song and dance. Her Chinese teachers advised her parents to send her to Beijing for further education. When her parents were unable to continue making excuses to avoid sending her to China, they took her instead to India in 1956 and left her in a boarding school in West Bengal.
Tsering Choden was fortunate to be reunited with both of her parents after nearly three years. She didn't learn until later that her father was one of the leaders in the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force and had been declared dead. Although injured, he managed to escape to India at the same time as His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tony Sondag (Videographer)