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Story of Dolma


Dolma, born in 1929 in Tibet, is now resettled in Karnataka, India. Dolma is from Chushul. She is the youngest in the family of farmers. Her parents cultivated barley, peas, and wheat, and the family was self-sufficient. Farming and irrigation were carried out in her village as a primary livelihood. Her village was flanked by wildlife, such as Tibetan brown bears and mountains.

She then moved to Lhasa when she was ten and was adopted by a relative because they had no children. In Lhasa, she learned to knit sweaters and make hair tassels and zompa shoes (handmade boots). She said people preferred several colour combinations for the hair tassels, such as pink &blue, dark green, and beige. Men's tassels were all dyed red. These tassels were made of parachute cords. She also made markers for rosaries and threads for the soji of Tibet. However, life in Lhasa changed drastically with the appearance of the Chinese.

In Lhama, poor Tibetans were forced to conduct thamzing' struggle sessions', a form of public humiliation and torture used by the Chinese Communist Party. Monks and nuns were forced by the Chinese to relinquish their celibacy. She narrates in detail the events at Norbulingka, where the people of Lhasa assembled to protect His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, in 1959. She witnessed the shelling of the Norbulingka by the Chinese, which lasted for two nights, and saw many dead and injured Tibetans just outside her window. The Tibetan Women's Association organized an incense offering for the safe journey of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to India, but all the leaders were also subjected to thamzing.

Finally, she says, "There are no untruths in what I have recounted. [I] do not know to read and write to be able to copy from others. It is what I have witnessed and understood. Due to the benevolence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama [I] do not have any problems in my livelihood. And thanks to the Buddha I live a happy life without any illnesses. Thank you."

Written by Rethinking Refugees

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Story of Dolma
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