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Tibet Oral History Project: Interview with Dechen Lhamo on 4/13/2010

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Published on Jan 12, 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: Dechen Lhamo was born in Gyangtse, a large town in central Tibet. Her family worked as farmers and her father was also employed to distribute offerings to the monasteries of Gyangtse. She describes how the offering contribution is distributed to the monasteries. Dechen Lhamo was given away as a bride to a family in Phari by her father at the age of 21. She gives a detailed description of how marriages are arranged by the bride and groom's families, the clothing and jewelry provided and the delivery of the bride to the groom's house. Dechen Lhamo remembers the Chinese arrived a year after her marriage. Her husband was sent by the local Tibetan administration many times to Kalimpong [West Bengal, India] to deliver letters. This had serious repercussions on her life when the Chinese labeled her husband "running dog of the Dalai." She recounts her suffering under Chinese rule after her husband and father-in-law were arrested and her she and her daughters labeled as "rebels." Her husband escaped first, leaving her with a nearly blind father-in-law and two young children. She managed to flee with her family to Bhutan five years after his escape. They were later reunited in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India.

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