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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Dhondup (alias) on 7/3/2007

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Published on Feb 2, 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: Dhondup fondly recalls the beautiful landscape of his childhood village, Dik, nestled among the snow-capped mountains of Tibet's Re District. He describes a special type of grass on the plains called jaktsa and the life of his pastoral Tibetan farming family. Dhondup explains Tibetan farming policy, which distinguished between telpa 'farmers who paid taxes' and dhuechung 'farmers who did not.' He also describes the custom of telpa families sending one of their sons to become a monk at the local monastery. Dhondup explains the relationship of labor and payment between the poor and wealthy families and the legal system available to address disputes. Since Dhondup's village was located in a remote place near the mountain pass to India, he and other villagers escaped soon after His Holiness the Dalai Lama fled to India in order to avoid the horror of the thamzing 'struggle sessions' the Chinese inflicted on Tibetans in other locations. Dhondup holds some Tibetan officials responsible for the sufferings of his people, explaining how the Chinese bribed them with dhayen 'silver coins.' Dhondup also expresses his view that the farmers were not interested in the "liberation" that the Chinese claimed to bring to Tibet.

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