Interview Age: 73
Date of Birth: 1942
Birthplace: Derge, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1956
Profession: Herding, Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 8N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: childhood memories, environment/wildlife, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, guerrillas in Mustang, Kham, refugee in Nepal -- life as, nomadic life
Paya was born in Derge in Kham Province. There were seven members in his middle-class nomadic family. Paya recalls herding their 50-60 yaks and over a hundred goats and sheep with a few other children. In the nearby forests lived blue sheep, musk deer and Tibetan brown bears. Paya describes their life as self-sufficient--they acquired food, clothing and shelter from the animals that they raised.
Paya describes the changes in his village after the Chinese appeared. The Chinese employed various tactics to deceive and subjugate the Tibetans. They befriended the leaders by presenting them with dhayen 'Chinese silver coins' and the farmers by giving them new tools. The Chinese took the leaders to China on a "tour" from which they never returned. The Chinese then demanded the villagers hand over their guns and horses. Then the Tibetan people rebelled and escaped.
Paya explains the long and arduous journey to Nepal that took about three years for the group to complete. His family was forced to beg for food and later Paya joined the Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force] in Mustang. He served as a guide for three years after which Paya returned home to take care of his mother and sisters. Paya talks about his present life and shares a few of his daily prayers.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)