Name: Dorji Phuntsok
Interview Age: 88
Date of Birth: 1919
Birthplace: Kyima, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 27
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, Bylakuppe -- early life in , escape experiences, farm life, Chinese -- first appearance of, refugee in India -- life as, Utsang, business practices/livelihood, monasteries -- relationship with
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.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Jeff Lodas (Videographer)