‘FIRE UNDER THE SNOW’ by Palden Gyatso


In 1992 the Venerable Palden Gyatso was released after thirty-three years of imprisonment by Chinese forces in Tibet. He fled across the Himalayas to India, smuggling with him the instruments of his torture. This powerful text is the story of his life and irrefutable testimony to the appalling suffering of the Tibetan nation at the hands of the Chinese.

Fire Under the Snow is the story of his life- his childhood in the small village of Panam, his training as a monk and his trek to the great monastery of Drepung, near Lhasa. In 1959 he was arrested after a non-violent demonstration for Tibetan freedom.

Shackled and beaten, he was sentenced to the first seven years of his long incarceration. In the years that followed he could only watch as monasteries were destroyed, books burned and many thousands of Tibetans executed.

When Palden was eventually released it was on the understanding that he would return to monastic life. Instead he escaped to India where he began to reveal what he had endured. His devastating memoir bears irrefutable testimony to the suffering of Tibet under Chinese rule.


In writing this enduring memoir of extraordinary suffering, resistance and endurance, he has testified not only to the pain of countless individuals but to the devastation of a nation – Judith Shapiro – New York Times

Every household in Britain should have a copy of Fire Under the Snow — Patrick French – Sunday Times

This is a book with glory and filth, innocence and murder, wisdom and madness, and at this moment the filth, murder and madness are taking over — Bernard Levin – The Times

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