Interviewee Profile

Name: Yama
(Alias: No)

Gender: Female

Interview Age: 89

Date of Birth: 1928

Birthplace: Rincheling, Kham, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Farming, Herding

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 2U

Date: 2017-04-06

Language: Tibetan

Location: Lingtsang Tibetan Settlement, Manduwala, Uttarakhand, India

Categories: Culture and History

Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese -- oppression under, clothing/weaving, customs/traditions, Dalai Lama -- escape, escape experiences, farm life, festivals, Kham, marriage practices, nomadic life, resistance


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.

Interview Team:

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

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Yama on 4/6/2017

Length: 02:03:34

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