Introduction to my book 'MEMORIES'


After the invasion and occupation of Tibet by the Chinese in 1959, 'his Holiness the Dalai Lama' had to flee into Exile to India.

Thousands of Tibetans followed him, carrying the hope to return to their homeland in near future. They were young, energetic and prepared to work hard. Yet the Refugees experienced extreme difficulties to adjust to the living conditions in India.

They worked as mountain road construction labourers. Hundreds of them died within the first few months. They couldn’t bear the heat in summer and the monsoon season was difficult to deal with. Many of them were used to the lives of Nomads.

But now they were challenged to restructure their lives and build a new and different one in India. This was a very different way of living in an unfamiliar environment. As time passed, more and more Tibetans arrived from their occupied homeland. Over the years life in Exile became more structured and organised and eventually the effort and their hard work started to pay off.

However, the hope of being allowed to return to their homeland soon, remained present at all times! The constant longing for their families back home, their lives they had left behind and the love for their country that they had to abandon caused them to feel 'homesick' beyond words.

Now, 50 years on, the people who fled in 1959, have grown old and still live in Exile in India. They endured, achieved and sacrificed a lot! The memory of ‘Home’ has faded but the desire to see it one more time is still strong and yet they know for certain that this is only a wishful dream.

Ill, hunched up and marked from hard work, and still living in Exile, these people have each, played their part so that life in the Tibetan community goes on as harmonious as possible and functions well.

With the passing of these people, the bearers of witness of a 'Free Tibet' will have gone. But their stories and memories will be there for our keepsake and live on in our hearts.


With utmost respect I would like to dedicate my book - MEMORIES - to each of them.

Judith Mauritz