Dagar Badro, male, born in 1934, 85 years old. He currently lives in Baiding Village, Caigungtang Township, Chengguan District, Lhasa. Before the democratic reform was implemented in Tibet in 1959, Dagar Badro was a household slave on the Namo Estate. After the democratic reform, Dagar Badro was given land and a house. Today, he lives with his oldest son, Juedan and his family; the family of four generations enjoy a happy life.
Dagar Badro’s oldest granddaughter runs a Tibetan restaurant, which is filled with clients. When Dagar Badro andhis wife, Medog, see us journalists enter, they promptly invite us to sit down, and call to his son Juedan to serve us tea and snacks. He says, “This dried beef is made from our family’s own yaks. It’s natural and free of pollution; help yourself!”
Dagar Badro’s home is very spacious, and there are several tea tables arranged in the bright living room. Recalling those days 60 years ago, Dagar Badro sighed. “At that time, my little sister and I were the only kids in our family. In order to pay debt to the serf owner, I became a ‘household slave’ in the Namo Estate when I was eight years old.”
“One day, a yak ran off to a far away mountain. I used a stone slingshot to get it to come back, but I didn’t realize when I threw it, it hit the yak just on its leg. I injured it. I didn’t want to get whipped, so I ran away from the estate. Thus began my life as a vagabond for many years. In old Tibet, no matter where you went, you had to pay taxes. While I was a vagabond, I worked in monasteries and on estates during the day in order to pay taxes. I spent the night in an old and shabby tent on the side of the road. After many years roaming around, I met my now-wife, Medog, on the Baiding Estate.”
Dagar Badro said excitedly that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) gave him rebirth twice. First, after he had moved to Lhasa to work as a porter one year before the democratic reform, he was once almost buried alive by sand, but fortunately solders from the PLA immediately discovered what had happened and rescued him. They gave him food and warm clothing and dressed his wounds.
The second was when they gave him his freedom. “After the democratic reform, with support from the PLA and the work teams, we were given pieces of land. At the time, I was afraid the serf owner would take away the land again. Only when I saw the title deed of land and debt had all been burned did I finally believe I had received my freedom and a new life!” Dagar Badro said excitedly.
“After receiving some land, our lives got better and better. Through the settlement project, we got a new home with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, yard, and garage. There are also three storehouses to store grain. Right now my family has 180 yaks and one horse and different vehicles like an off-road car, a tractor, and a motorcycle. My children are obedient, and now even their children are married, and my youngest grandson is in university. I live with my son Juedan; he’s one of the richest men in the village whose family makes more than 200,000 yuan per year (29,167 US dollars). Life is very comfortable!” Dagar Badro said with a smile.