Name: Tenpa Chonphel
Interview Age: 73
Date of Birth: 1937
Birthplace: Manam, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1966
Profession: Dairy Farming, Farming
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 2M
Location: Doeguling Settlement, Mundgod, Karnataka, India
Categories: Culture and History
Keywords: childhood memories, escape experiences, farm life, Chinese -- first appearance of, government/administration, herding, Chinese army -- invasion by , Chinese rule -- life under, Chinese -- oppression under, taxes, Utsang
At the young age of 7 or 8, Tenpa Chonphel herded lambs, yaks and sheep and protected the animals from wolves and tigers. Later he worked in the fields. Both his parents lived separately, not because they had divorced, but because they had different tax services to render. He tells how he, as a little child lived with his mother and from the age of 8, went to live with his father. His life gives us an insight into social customs prevalent at that time in Tibet.
A significant part of his narration details how administration was carried out in Tibet and the different tax systems imposed by the government and monasteries. Through his life story, Tenpa Chonphel gives us an understanding of the plight of the common Tibetan people and their feelings towards their tax obligations.
Tenpa Chonphel lived under Chinese occupation until 1966. He gives an account of how the Chinese came to his village and secured people's confidence by luring them with money and false promises. He also explains how the oppression came about gradually through the categorization of families, division of wealth and finally, by forcing the people to destroy their monasteries.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Pema Tashi (Videographer)