Name: Dawa Dolma
Interview Age: 83
Date of Birth: 1924
Birthplace: Toe Yancho Tanga, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1959
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 77
Location: Dickey Larsoe Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, festivals, Chinese -- first appearance of, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, taxes, thamzing/struggle sessions, trade, Utsang
Dawa Dolma and her childhood friend, Tsamchoe, now in their eighties, recount their life experiences in Tibet. In summer, their village became a trading ground for a thousand traders who exchanged salt and grain. Nomads came with their goods, tents were set up, and Dawa's village became a lively market place for two weeks each year. The local people sold their wares such as woven carpets and clothes. A tax officer would come from Lhasa to collect taxes from the traders.
The lives of Dawa Dolma and Tsamchoe began to change after they both married and had to cope with the challenges of raising a family while earning a livelihood. The friends separated when Dawa Dolma left Tibet with her husband and child soon after the Chinese arrived in their village, fearing that her daughter would be taken to school in China.
Tsamchoe witnessed villagers being subjected to thamzing 'struggle sessions' inflicted by the Chinese. Tsamchoe and her family soon followed Dawa Dolma into exile, taking the same route through Nepal. Today, they are still friends and neighbors living in the same refugee settlement.
- Sue Gershenson (Interviewer)
- Lhakpa Tsering (Interpreter)
- Jeff Lodas (Videographer)