Tibetan society was traditionally divided into peasants (rongpa), nomads (drokpa) and monks and nuns (sangha), with hierarchal rankings of noblemen, landowners, craftsperson, peasants and slaves. There was also a kind caste system for government officials, monastic businessmen, traders, high lamas, and ordinary monks. Rank and status was often reflected in dress, housing and the speech used to address peers, superiors and inferiors. Tibetan society has traditionally been very resistant to change. After the Communists took over Tibet, The aristocracy and titles were abolished and China became the state but most farmers continued to work the land as they have for centuries. Collective farming never really worked in Tibet. Nomads were especially resistant to it. But today things are changing very quickly as the influence of the Chinese grows on material and day to day levels.
© Ramdas Iyer Photography