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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Tsering Palden on 6/28/2007

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Published on Jan 26, 2018

The interpreter's English translation provided during this interview is potentially incomplete and/or inaccurate. If you are not fluent in Tibetan, please refer to the interview transcript for the complete and correct English translation. Read the interview transcript in English at http://tibetoralhistory.org/Interview...

** This interview about life in Tibet was conducted by the Tibet Oral History Project. This non-profit organization aims to preserve the history and culture of the Tibetan people by interviewing elderly Tibetan refugees about life in Tibet before and after the Chinese invasion. Learn more at http://www.TibetOralHistory.org.

** Interview Summary: Tsering Palden's large family lived as nomads in a remote area, who exchanged animal products for rice, wheat and other goods in Bhutan and among Tibetans. He explains why his village, Doomba, is highly respected by the Tibetans and he describes the legend behind the hills and mountain near his village. In exchange for guarding the border with Bhutan, the people of his village were given the right to sell incense "at any distance the white bird could fly for 18 days." Tsering Palden gives many details about marriage customs. He says, "Here [in India] you have something called falling in love, in Tibet it was in the parents' hands." When Tsering Palden was 19, his family brought a girl from another place and told him she was his bride. He explains how parents matched the zodiac signs for each couple and consulted lamas for divination and astrological calculations before a marriage is decided. The Chinese did not arrive in Tsering Palden's region until around 1958. Daily life was disrupted as the Chinese began giving silver coins to the poor and appointing them to leadership positions while subjecting the original village leaders to thamzing 'struggles sessions.' He provides an account of his return to Tibet in 1994 to visit his relatives and describes the changes that have taken place in Tibet.

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