Name: Ngawang Kunga
Interview Age: 80
Date of Birth: 1935
Birthplace: Chathathi - Markham, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 12N
Location: Kathmandu, Bagmati, Nepal
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: Buddhist beliefs, Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, escape experiences, guerrillas in Mustang, Chinese army -- invasion by , Kham, monastic life
Ngawang Kunga was born in Markham in Kham Province. His father was a merchant who took goods from Tibet and China to sell in India and brought Indian goods in return. Both of his parents died early in his life and also a sibling. He was taken care of by his maternal aunt and was given the responsibility of grazing his family's animals.
Ngawang Kunga became a monk at the age of 10 at Khempalung Monastery. He had to memorize many Buddhist texts, but realized as he became older the importance of studying well. Later he traveled to Lhasa to join the Gyuto Monastery. He ran away from home to reach this monastery not realizing how far it was, but he was pursued and brought back by his maternal aunt. Then the following year she gave him permission to join the monastery in Lhasa.
Ngawang Kunga describes the changes that took place after the Chinese appeared in Lhasa. They restricted people's movements and had guns positioned in the Bakor Square. He says that the reaction of the people was to join the Chushi Gangdrug Defend Tibet Volunteer Force and that he did too. He left Lhasa with other monks and experienced various encounters with Chinese troops. Ngawang Kunga recounts how ultimately unable to put up any challenge due to lack of arms, ammunition and man power. The men escaped to India through Mon Tawang. He then talks about his life in Mustang, Nepal and the continued operations of the Chushi Gangdrug.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Palden Tsering (Interpreter)
- Dhiraj Kafle (Videographer)