Becoming Gyalyum Chemo: Engaging Diki Tsering & Her Gender Critiques


Diki Tsering is affectionately called Gyalyum Chenmo, meaning “the great mother,” by Tibetans across the world. She is remembered for being mother to the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. However, in addition to being the Dalai Lama’s mother, Tibetans continue to commemorate her for her dedicated service towards the Tibetan refugee collective in India who escaped China’s invasion. Alongside her eldest child, daughter Tsering Dolma, she managed one of the first nurseries for orphaned Tibetan refugee children in Dharamsala. This school, which was founded in 1960 and was called The Nursery for Tibetan Refugee Children, would later expand into different branches under its new name The Tibetan Children’s Village—one of the two important educational institution that would ensure the precarious lives of Tibetan children who had become refugees and orphans for the first time in India. Songs, events, and awards continue to be dedicated to her in recognition…

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