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Tibet: Features Education and Society Jampa, an 88-year old Tibetan man shares his stories about Tibet

Jampa, an 88-year old Tibetan man shares his stories about Tibet

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Jampa-Bylakuppe-India-Tibet-2017Bylakuppe In Focus: Part Two
In a series of special features, the Tibetan Post International (TPI) journalist Tashi Choekyi reports from India's largest Tibetan settlement, Bylakuppe, in the southern state of Karnataka, India. Jampa shared his story about Tibet and his experiences of living in exile with Ms Choekyi, a reporter for TPI.

Bylakuppe, South India — Jampa is currently 88 years old. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, he with his fellow Tibetan monks from Sera monastery in Lhasa fled to India. He said "we ate pieces of clothes every day and every night for our survival and finally we reached at north eastern part of India, Tawang and there we got some food, but it was a completely different taste. Neither the climate is unfavourable nor the food and water. Then after few days we were sent to Dalhousie, there the climate is cold and snowing, we stayed there for three years. Then one day His Holiness visited and he said, "our children's are at Musoorie and they are having class under the shade of trees, so I need young people to build a class room for our children".

Jampa said, "as soon as we are told such, all the young gentle man raised their hand so willingly and I am among them and we went to Musoorie. Within one year and six months, we built ten classrooms for the children to learn in. Then, His Holiness visited at Musoorie and praised us and he said, 'Great job! And yes know all of you are worried about the sins you have committed while digging the soil, cutting rocks by building the houses, but I promised you all that none of you have any sins for that.' His Holiness then asked where we all wanted to go and we answered that we all wanted to go to army. His Holiness nodded and said, 'Great! Be compassionate and do your best and be honest in cantonment.' Then, we were sent to Chakra Tar cantonment in Dehradun and we trained with guerilla skills to fight in the night. We had to go to training when all the people sleep and we had to sleep when all the people go for training, at the same time, Bangladesh and Pakistan waged a war. So India sent two troop to help Bangladesh, but unfortunately both troops were lost and no one returned. Then A.P Sahib requested His Holiness to send the Tibetan troops into war, since we are refugees. His Holiness accept the request, and the very next day His Holiness called us and gave us his blessing, a small amulet type to wear around the neck and a small package with one bead type of pill in side it and said, this amulet will protect you from weapons and the pill is poison that if unfortunately the enemy catches you, you can eat this pill so that you will die immediately and you won't have to endure unbearable punishment from them. We then headed to war and we fought night after night and we are of course tired and exhausted. But with that amazing amulet, even though bullets came like rain drops in our directions we are not even hurt a little and very soon we defeated them and they surrendered to their place. People of Bangladesh were so pleased that they treated us like their saviors and as mighty gods when they knew that we are Buddhist, because most of them were Buddhist as well. They took us to different places where Buddhist relics are presented and thanked us by kneeling down and prostrating".

Then, "we returned to our cantonment, and as soon as we are at the station we were gracefully welcomed and the chief of the cantonment were so pleased and so proud that he held party of victory especially for us, praised and rewarded all of us for the big victory. That year was most tiresome as well as most memorable one in entire years in cantonment".

"Years passed and we all have to leave cantonment because 20 years is more than enough to be in the army, so we all left. I stayed in the army for 22 years because I didnt have a home to return to or relatives to ask for help. After 22 years I came out with two other friends, and we had heard about Mysore while we are in the cantonment, so we came to Mysore and then went to Bylakuppe. We rented a house and went out in the camps and asked for work but no one gave us a permanent job. We went to Tibetan children's village and there we asked for a job there. The principal said they had enough staff but they did need a cook who could cook well and bake well. As soon he said these lines, I raised my hand and said, we graduated from army cantonment and we were trained to cook well.

"He then pointed his finger at me and said, 'You are the new cook of school from next day onwards' and two of my friends were asked to be the gatekeeper of the school as well. From very next day, we were staff and we were employed and I served Tibetan children's village for 15 years; as a cook for ten years and as a gatekeeper for five years. Then, they told me to go to the old age home and so as I am here today. I've been here for 8years and its a pleasant place for me".

The Tibetan man said, "unlike other people in old aged home I am very happy and content with the life I am living and the facilities I am provided with, I am very down to earth and simple person because I have been through hardships beyond your imagination; eating clothes and sucking snow ball for my survival for days and nights on my way to India. So when I compare my present life to the past, I have everything now, three meals a day and a quality routine, protein and nutrients are given and I don't need to worry about tomorrow and the day after. I am very blessed with a roof over my head where I can sleep peacefully and soundly without any fear in heart, likewise I am so content and happy. But maybe 80% of people in old aged homes are neither happy nor content, because they have never been through the hardships like I have, so they don't know the feeling of not having a loaf of bread to eat and still keep yelling at caretaker sand they wanted something more than they already have with them. Even a few of them have many kids but no one cares for them and instead they were sent to old aged homes and still these parents are more troublesome and greedy than any other people at old aged home, these parents just can't be thankful for the things they have and still yell for more and more"

Jampa doesn't have any relatives in India and he never returned to Tibet. Although he has family members in Lhasa, no one calls or looks for him, not because they don't love their son but they think he might have died in Lhasa during the Chinese attack on Sera Monastery in 1959. Jampa himself hasn't tried to call them, not because he doesn't miss them, but he doesn't know their addresses or phone numbers and he is not even sure whether they are still alive or have already passed.

He has been all alone for 63 years; he never got married or met his parents. When asked about going back to the snow land of Tibet, he closes his eyes tight and folds his hand and said, "I won't be able to go back in this life, but if His Holiness could return back to the Potala Palace and if happy tears of independence could roles down from the eyes of Tibetan people, and the reunion of long departed Tibetans could stand together with the roaring sound of our anthem, nothing could be happier and joyful than that moment and even my soul will be proud and happy from another realm."

Jampa said, "I am praying each and every passing day to get back our country, so that we old people will have a happy sleep and young people will have a happy life".

Last Updated ( Monday, 29 May 2017 13:09 )  


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