Interviewee Profile

Name: Dorji Phuntsok
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 88

Date of Birth: 1919

Birthplace: Kyima, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Ironsmith

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 27

Date: 2007-06-27

Language: Tibetan

Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: business practices/livelihood, Bylakuppe -- early life in , childhood memories, Chinese -- first appearance of, escape experiences, farm life, monasteries -- relationship with , refugee in India -- life as, Utsang


Dorji Phuntsok describes his childhood days as very happy because they had plenty of tsampa 'roasted barley flour' to eat and chang 'home-brewed beer' to drink. His family was a tenant and tilled the land belonging to Nyazong Monastery. His father was a blacksmith who made agricultural tools. Dorji Phuntsok traveled with his father from village to village and helped him with his work. He explains how the barter system was used because they did not use money.

When Dorji Phuntsok was around 28 years old, the Chinese came to his area of Tibet. They attempted to bribe him to report on the movements of his landlord. Rather than be an informant for the Chinese, Dorji Phuntsok remained loyal to his landlord and told him the Chinese were planning to capture him and suggested that he flee.

Later, Dorji Phuntsok helped five Khampa men and women escape by showing them the way to India. He also eventually escaped from Tibet with his wife and two young children. Dorji Phuntsok and his family came to Bylakuppe, India,, where he worked extremely hard during the initial years of the settlement. He tells a story of how the braying of his donkey, which he put in his field, would frighten away the elephants that came to eat his crops.

Interview Team:

  • Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
  • Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
  • Jeff Lodas (Videographer)
Interview Video

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Dorji Phuntsok on 6/27/2007

Length: 00:59:15

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