Tsering Döndrup

Tsering Döndrup, ཚེ་རིང་དོན་འགྲུབ།, was born in the 1960s in what is traditionally known as Sokpo Dajujik (Sog po mda’bcu gcig), present-day Malho Mongolian Autonomous County in Qinghai Province. The natives of that area originated from Mongolia, and indeed Tsering Döndrup often introduces himself by saying, “I am born Mongolian, but my language and culture is Tibetan.”Tsering Döndrup graduated from the Malho Prefecture Teacher Training School, and later studied Tibetan language and literature at the Qinghai Nationalities Institute in Xining and the Northwest Nationalities Institute in Lanzhou. He works as a researcher and editor for the Malho Mongolian Autonomous County Annals Editorial Office; up to 2009, he served as Director of that office, a position he lost when The Red Wind Scream was published that year, though he remains a member of the staff.

Tsering Döndrup grew up and received his education during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a movement that gave rise to absurd ways of thinking and behaving on the part of many Tibetans. After the Cultural Revolution, in the 1980s, corruption among officials generated sycophantic conduct from those in lower positions. Tsering Döndrup, however, managed to stay clear of this madness and behavior, just as in the well-known saying, “The lotus grows from the mud but becomes a thing unstained,” and addresses these phenomena in his writings, veiling criticism with sarcasm and humor. The author also appears not bound by Tibetan Buddhist view or Tibetan tradition: sham religious clerics and other figures do not escape his sarcastic and probing examination. The main character in The Red Wind Scream, Alak Drong, for example, is on the one hand, a mirror against which Chinese Communist leftist policies are reflected, and on the other hand, a model of the hypocritical Tibetan Buddhist lama.

Tsering Döndrup is one of the earliest to be involved in the Tibetan New Literature movement in the early 1980s. Most of the writers from this literary movement started off by writing poems, and eventually short stories. Also, some of these figures were active in the 1980s – 90s, but have since disappeared from the literary scene. Tsering Döndrup, on the other hand, has remained active throughout, writing and publishing short stories as well as novels. His award-winning short stories as well as novellas have been published in various Tibetan journals. Two of his novels are Fog (Smug pa) and Ancestors (Mes po). The translator of one of the works we feature here: “Lamentations on the Demise of the Noble Professor Dungkar Rinpoche” by Palden Gyal.