Name: Dorji Damdul
Interview Age: 75
Date of Birth: 1932
Birthplace: Dhang, Utsang, Tibet
Year Left Tibet: 1960
Political Prisoner: No
Interview No.: 18
Location: Lugsung Samdupling Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India
Categories: Chinese Invasion and Occupation
Keywords: brutality/torture, childhood memories, education, escape experiences, Chinese -- first appearance of, imprisonment, refugee in India -- life as, Chinese rule -- life under, monastic life, Utsang, wealthy/upper class
Dorji Damdul had seventeen brothers and sisters from three different mothers. His village contained the only school within five districts so Dorji Damdul had the good fortune to be sent to school. Due to poor behavior, he was removed from school and his parents sent him to join a local monastery. Dorji Damdul provides a description of monastic life and his daily routine.
The Chinese labeled Dorji Damdul as a "rebel" because of his family's high status in the community. They restricted his movements and arrested his uncle, who served as head of the family. The Chinese arrested many monks and distributed the property of the monastery to the people of the village. Dorji Damdul was forced to return home, but his house had been emptied by the Chinese. After a year, he decided to marry, but the Chinese also imprisoned his wife, who came from a prominent family.
Fearing his own arrest, Dorji Damdul decided to flee to Bhutan with his wife, who had been released from prison because she was pregnant. During the journey, his wife gave birth to their baby, but after reaching Bhutan the baby died in 6 days. The couple traveled to Balingpur and then to Bylakuppe, India, where they resettled.
- Marcella Adamski (Interviewer)
- Tenzin Yangchen (Interpreter)
- Jeff Lodas (Videographer)