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Additional info for A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phuntso Wangye
I was facing forward and couldn’t see his face, so I had no idea what he was thinking. The silence began to get uncomfortable, and suddenly I felt something warm and wet on the back of my neck. When I turned in the saddle to see what was happening, I was shocked to see tears ﬂowing freely from his eyes. I had never seen him cry. After we got home, I wondered many times if I had done the right thing in being honest. I didn’t know the answer, but I had said what I had said, and my life was now pulling me in a new direction.
We often passed people who were terribly poor sleeping in the streets, and once we saw a woman still holding a dead child at her breast. I couldn’t stop thinking about the contrast between the way the rich people lived and the life of the very poor. I felt a kinship with the people in the streets—Dawa’s and my situation was really only a step away from theirs. Things eventually became desperate ﬁnancially, but we never thought of going back to school because we were convinced that an answer to our letter would come soon and we would start training to be pilots.
Kesang was so furious when he read it that he shot the messenger on the spot and immediately began making plans to mobilize the Batang militia and move 12 Growing Up in Kham and China against the Gonggar Lama, who he felt had betrayed him. Things quickly went from bad to worse. Intent on teaching the traitor a lesson, Kesang sent his militia— including my father—across the Drichu River and south toward Tsakalo. Unbeknownst to him, however, the Gonggar Lama had learned of the impending attack, mobilized the Tsakalo militia, and, critically, secured the support of a regiment of the Tibetan army that was stationed in Markam.