Interview Age: 75
Date of Birth: 1932
Birthplace: Tindho, Kham, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Profession: Agriculture, Dairy Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 40
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Resistance and Revolution
Keywords: childhood memories, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chinese rule -- life under, escape experiences, festivals, Kham, monastic life, resistance fighters, trade
Thupa hails from a family of farmers and his father served as a leader of the region's nomadic division. Thupa happily became a monk at age 10 when his family carried out the tradition of sending the youngest son from the family to the monastery. He loved performing the cham, an annual Buddhist dance performance, and delighted in scaring the spectators with the masks worn by the dancers.
Thupa was given the job of treasurer for the Tindhu Tulku, a reincarnated lama, and was required to travel for trade to distant places. He found it difficult to remain a monk and received permission to leave the monkhood while retaining his position as treasurer. He later married the sister of the Tindhu Tulku.
The Communist Chinese entered Thupa's region around 1949. When fighting between Tibetans and the Chinese increased, Thupa was asked by the Tindhu Tulku's father to keep the Tulku safe. The Tibetans tried to impede the Chinese military and obstructed their water supply, but they could only temporarily stop the advancing troops. Thupa describes the many dangers he faced and was eventually able to escort his family and the Tindhu Tulku safely into exile.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Jeff Lodas (Videographer)