Dhondup reminisces about his childhood days in his village of Khangmar Yulkhang when he had no responsibilities—playing games like skipping and soccer. His parents sent him to school in a nearby village to learn basic Tibetan reading and writing. This was a special privilege since there were only eight children who attended school in his entire region. As the only educated person in his village, Dhondup worked as a clerk to the regional administrator.
Though Dhondup's family avoided being subjected to thamzin 'struggle sessions' following the Chinese occupation of Tibet, he witnessed people in his region being subjected to them. He describes how the Sadhak 'wealthy landowners' were falsely accused of mistreating the poorer villagers and were beaten by them under the influence of the Chinese. Some of the Sadhak panicked and committed suicide to escape from the thamzin and imprisonment.
At the age of 28 Dhondup escaped to India along with 80 people from his region in 1959. He was in Bomdila, India during the 1962 Indo-China war and once again had to flee with his family, leaving behind their meager belongings. They later moved to the settlement in Bylakuppe.
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