Name: Sonam Gogyal
Interview Age: 82
Date of Birth: 1925
Birthplace: Re Yago, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1961
Profession: Dairy Farming, Agriculture
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 44
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: brutality/torture, Bylakuppe -- early life in , escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, taxes, Utsang, landowners, wealthy/upper class
Sonam Gogyal was educated as a child and held the post of deputy leader of his village from age 22 to 36. He was responsible for collecting taxes from the villagers in the form of grains and animals.
Sonam Gogyal fled Tibet at the age of 36, leaving behind his wife and five children. He quickly chose to escape one night after hearing that the wealthy landowners, which included him, were to be arrested by the Chinese. In four days, he was able to reach Sikkim with a group of 12 others from his village. Thus began the life of a refugee.
Sonam Gogyal moved from Kalimpong to the Bylakkupe settlement, where he was paid to help clear the forests and build the settlement. Later he took up farming and sold sweaters in the Indian cities. Sonam re-married and built a new life with a new family, never seeing his first wife and family in Tibet again.
- Martin Newman (Interviewer)
- Lhakpa Tsering (Interpreter)
- Tsewang Dorjee (Videographer)