Interviewee Profile

Name: Lobsang Norbu
(Alias: No)

Gender: Male

Interview Age: 83

Date of Birth: 1930

Birthplace: Lhoka, Utsang, Tibet

Year Left Tibet: 1959

Profession: Army

Monk/Nun: No

Political Prisoner: No

Interview Details

Interview No.: 4B

Date: 2013-12-30

Language: Tibetan

Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India

Categories: Resistance and Revolution

Keywords: army -- Tibetan, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chushi Gangdrug guerrillas, Dalai Lama -- escape, education, escape experiences, refugee in India -- life as, resistance, taxes, Utsang


Lobsang Norbu was born in Lhoka. His mother passed away after giving birth to twins when he was 13 years old. Lobsang Norbu explains the various types of taxes that were levied such as labor tax, money tax, military tax, grain tax and transportation tax. He attended the first "public" school in Tibet, which was established by the 14th Dalai Lama, for a few a few years before he had to leave home at age 14 to join the army as part of his family's military tax.

Lobsang Norbu describes the numerous divisions and leaders in the army at Drapchi and the various drills taught to new soldiers. He was trained in using guns, giving flag signals, operating the wireless radio and learned to drive vehicles. Lobsang Norbu was deployed as a bodyguard to His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he visited the Gaden Monastery to take his doctorate exam.

As conflict with the Chinese army increased, the Dalai Lama escaped from Lhasa and Lobsang Norbu gives a vivid account of the long journey His Holiness undertook to India. Lobsang Norbu was responsible for the guards' weapons and arranging horses and pack animals. He describes the various places His Holiness stopped along the grueling trek. The soldiers tried to join with the Chushi Gangdrug [Defend Tibet Volunteer Force] but they were overwhelmed by the Chinese army and fled to India over the treacherous Mangola pass and arrived in India starving.

Interview Team:

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

Link: Watch On Youtube

Topic: Interview with Lobsang Norbu on 12/30/2013

Length: 01:57:39

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