Interview Age: 89
Date of Birth: 1928
Birthplace: Rincheling, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Herding, Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 2U
Location: Lingtsang Tibetan Settlement, Manduwala, Uttarakhand, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, customs/traditions, Dalai Lama -- escape, escape experiences, farm life, festivals, Kham, nomadic life, Chinese -- oppression under, resistance, clothing/weaving, marriage practices
Yama was born in Rinchenling, Kham Province in 1928. Her family lived as both farmers and nomads. They moved seasonally between a house in the village and a yak-hair tent in the mountains. There was always an enormous amount of work to do, including milking the animals, making butter and cheese, and caring for their large number of animals. Yama was an illegitimate child and her father stayed with his other family. She explains that Tibetan society did not view such open relationships as improper.
Yama visited the local monastery annually to watch cham 'religious dances performance by monks' and she describes the characters and events. She also provides an elaborate description of the clothing and jewelry worn by the people of her region when attending a wintertime spiritual practice at the monastery.
After the Chinese appeared and their demand to implement socialism was rejected, the King of Lingtsang was imprisoned. Yama recounts how Yarling Wangyal, a minister to the king, freed him from prison and led the royal family and many of the people into exile. When they encountered the Chinese along the way, they were forced to flee so quickly that all their belongings were abandoned. Yama and many others helped to create a pathway for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to escape into India from Tsona.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Tenzin Choenyi (Videographer)