Exploring Tibet’s History And Culture

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Item Code: NAD851
Author: Pabitrakumar Roy
Publisher: Central University of Tibetan Studies Sarnath (Varanasi)
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9789380282138
Pages: 480 (12 Color Illustraions )
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 820 gm
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Book Description
Editor’s note

The present volume brings together the papers presented at the conference held in Delhi in November, 2009 under the joint auspices of University of Delhi and Central University of Tibetan Studies, Samath, Varanasi.

This volume incorporates papers written by experts in Tibetology, and their focus has been on Tibet's history and culture. Tibet's history has often been profaned, and the country with its millennia old civilization has come to be projected as a land of magic and miracles, and later a Sinocized picture of Tibet is advertised in the wake of China's aggressive expansionism. Even the powers that swear by democracy and human rights have been diplomatically soft towards China's designs in Tibet. The geo- political strategic position of Tibet in the heartland of Asia has ever been a lure to its neighbours, Russia, Mongolia, China and British India. Tibet's history is chequered with rise and fall, increase and decrease of political influences and manoeuvres of its neighbours. Yet through tumultuous centuries it has retained its unique culture, custom and ethnic identity. In recent times propaganda has to come to such a pass that Tibet's identity is sought to be written off by demographic manipulation, encouraging immigration of non-Tibetan people from China to settle in Tibet, and thereby outnumbering the authentic Tibetans, and bringing them under the shadow of an alien culture.

Tibet had never been a country with closed windows. It had welcomed and adapted cultural items from its neighbours, be it medicine, religion, architecture, painting, and above all, religion. The Tibetan King Song- Tsen Gampo entered into matrimonial relations with China and Nepal. There was a time that Tibet was a considerable military power over areas far beyond its own territories, and even the borders of Himalayan India. 'The sixth Dalai Lama' was born and grew up in Tawang. These are facts of history, and can hardly be ignored. But Tibet's neighbours always had an eye on the country, and did not like the idea that it should have anything to do others than they. Concepts like sovereignty and suzerainty of Western political discourse can never do justice to the status of Tibet in history. There are facts, hard core ones to show that Tibet always retained its identity both in politics and culture, and did not surrender to powers of its neighbours.

The papers in the volume are perceptive probings, based often on archival documents, government notices and proclamations. And the inquiry spans from ancient times to the present day. It may be hoped that a honest appreciation and perusal of the contents of the papers would help reviewing Tibet's case with fresh thinking, unbiased by propaganda and commercial interests of the powers of the world. Imperialism today has new guises, and one should realize also that the matter of human rights in Tibet ought to be a matter of serious intent, not mere words empty of content to spice in pious speeches. The onus lies more with the Tibet's neighbours than the pretentious movers and shakers of the world today. There are such things as political ethics, for Aristotle ethics was a part of politics, and for Gandhi it was the whole of it. Lecturing the world on global political morality is all too often naivety, unless it is backed by authentic goodwill. Otherwise it would be valuationally crude and gross as often is the case.

I do hope that the readers of this volume on Tibet's history and culture will learn more about the country and get over the kind of defeatism which seems to have got hold of the thinking of a great many people in the world. We have to be more confident that with reasoned public discussion and concerted global action a great deal more can be achieved than is happening right now. There is everything to fight for as regards Tibet, with clarity and reason. To quote Rabindranath- Tagore, "Do not lose your heart, my friend. That what is huge is not great, and pride is not everlasting."

My sincere thanks go to Kalon Tempa Tsering, Representative, Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New Delhi for unfailing cooperation in communicating with the scholars on my behalf. This was an onerous task that he did with glee.

I would like to put on record my appreciation of kind gestures of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Geshe Ngawang Samten, in facilitating my job, Mr. Tenzin Kunsel for providing invaluable secretarial assistance, and Shri S.P. Singh for type-setting the entire corpus of the papers in the present volume. I thank him sincerely.


Note from the Vice ChancellorV-VI
Editor's NoteVII-IX
Valedictory AddressX-XII
Table of ContentsXIV-XVI
1Opening Ideas on the International Conference on Tibet's History and Culture1-8
2The Significance of Tibetan Civilization in History9-17
3India-Tibet relations 1947-1949 : India begins to vacillate18-47
4The Unhelpful Legacy of British India in shaping modem Tibet's Geopolitical Identity'48-87
5The Many Bodies of King Songtsen Constitutional Mythology in Tibetan History88-120
6The Meaning of the Visit to Beijing by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1652-1653121-134
7The Historical Significance of the Incarnation Lists Ckhrungs rabs) of The Third ICang-skya (1717-1786) and the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799)135-155
8Tibeto-Mongolian relations in the years 1686-88: The role of the First Khalkha Jetsundampa Blo bzang bstan pa'i rgyal mtshan (1635-1723)156-176
9From Tibet to Russia: the Role of Buryats to the Diffusion of Tibetan Buddhism to Russia177-195
10The 17th cent. gTsang Rulers And Their Strategies of Legitimization196-215
11The Tibetan State and Buddhist Culture (State, Sanctum and Security)216-236
12The Treaty of 1913 between Mongolia and Tibet and Its Validity237-254
13Secret Letters from Tibet of 1910-1925: Question of Tibetan Independence And the Affair of the Panchen Lama255-276
14For ign Incursions on Tibet: 20th Century through the Prism of the Russian Archives Documents277-294
15Criticism on China's Tibet Policy by a Modem Tibetan Intellectual: Dawa Norbu's Theory of "Cultural Sovereignty" as a Strategy of Resistance295-312
16Agvan Dorzhiev, his Guru Namnane Lama, and Russo-Tibetan rapprochement313-321
17 The Discourse on the Origins of the Teachers of Past, Present and Future dus Gsum sTon pa 'Byung khungs kyi322-363
18Kah thog Si tu's Account of his Pilgrimage through Central Tibet in the Years 1918-1920 (dBus gtsang gnas bskor lam yig)364-378
19Spirit-mediumship in Upper Tibet: The Vocation of One Expert Practitioner379-410
20Toward a Typology of the Dream Literature in India and Tibet411-437
21Two Parallel Tibetan Culture-Spectra in Socio-Historical Contexts438-452
Appendix: The Lhasa Trail453-462
List of Contributors463-464
Map of Tibet before 1959
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