Sunday, March 31, 2024

From Tibet To India: Looking Back At Dalai Lama’s Journey

The program of Nitin Gokhale ('Simply Nitin') of StatNewsGlobal quotes me.
Here is the Video...

It was this week sixty-five years ago that will remain etched in the minds of Tibetans as a watershed. On March 31, 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, entered India to seek refuge. It was a particularly troublesome month for the Tibetan administration when Chinese troops marched into Tibet and took control. The Dalai Lama was barely 23 then and there was a sense that he could be arrested by PLA troops.

On March 17, 1959, the Dalai Lama, his family members and some of his close associates left the Potala Palace in Lhasa. They travelled south towards the McMahon Line (which separates Tibet from India) and the destination was India, the North East Frontier Agency or NEFA (which is now Arunachal Pradesh).

The Dalai Lama was dressed as an ordinary Chinese soldier. The journey took about a fortnight, through inhospitable terrain and mountain passes. They also had to watch out whether Chinese soldiers were on their trail.

In one of his blogs, noted Tibetologist and author Claude Arpi gives a vivid description of what followed.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Dalai Lama's arrival in Tawang: 65 years on, India-China ties remain complex and chaotic

My article
Dalai Lama's arrival in Tawang: 65 years on, India-China ties remain complex and chaotic appeared in Firstpost...

The Dalai Lama’s escape to Tawang in 1959 not only marked a significant turning point in India-China relations but also highlighted the enduring struggle for Tibetan autonomy amid shifting regional dynamics 

Here is the link...

Sixty-five years ago, momentous events took place on the Tibetan plateau; they had incalculable and incredible consequences for India, which until then had peaceful northern borders.
On 31 March, 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet crossed the Indian border at Khenzimane on the riverbank of the Namjiang Chu (river) in the Tawang sector of today’s Arunachal Pradesh.
A few days earlier, camping in Lhuntse Dzong in Southern Tibet, the Tibetan leader had sent a cable to the Indian prime minister. The Dalai Lama who had just denounced the 17-Point Agreement signed under duress in Beijing in May 1951, said: “The Government of Tibet have tried their best to maintain good relations with China but the Chinese have been trying to take away powers from the Tibetan Government and in some areas they are making preparations for war. On March 17, 1959 at 4 pm the Chinese fired two shells in the direction of my residence. They could not do much damage. [But] as our lives were in danger, I and some of my trusted [people] manage to escape the same evening at 10 pm.”
On 27 March, TS Murty, the Assistant Political Officer in Tawang received instructions about the possibility of the Dalai Lama seeking entry into India. He was immediately asked to proceed towards the border to receive the dignitary and escort him to Tawang, Bomdila and Tezpur.
An archive document from the Government of India stated: “Expecting that some such development might occur, we had instructed the various check-posts there what to do. So, when the Dalai Lama crossed over into our territory, he was received by our Assistant Political Officer of the Tawang Sub-Division. …A little later, the rest of his entourage came in. The total numbers who have come with him or after him is 80.” More than 85,000 Tibetans would come to India during the following years.

Dalai Lama arrives in India
On 31 March at 9 am, Murty reached Chuthangmu, where a detachment of the 5th Battalion of the Assam Rifles was posted. The Dalai Lama’s advance party under a junior officer had already reached the post two days earlier. Murty was told that the main party consisting of the Dalai Lama, his family, ministers and tutors was expected to enter India at 2 pm the same day.
Murty communicated to Bomdila and Shillong (seat of the Governor of Assam) that there was no sign of the Chinese pursuit.
After planting his walking stick (which since then has become a beautiful tree and is known by the locals as the ‘Holy Tree’) on the frontier at Khenzimane, the Dalai Lama proceeded to Chuthangmu check-post where Murty handed over to him the Indian prime minister’s message. The Tibetan leader was immediately treated by India as an ‘honoured guest’ and for the past 65 years, he has remained so.
This would have important consequences for India. Soon after, the first clashes took place with the Chinese on the border (the first serious skirmish happened in Longju in Subansiri sector on 25 August, 1959). It was undoubtedly for the warm welcome given to the Tibetan leader.

Today’s Chinese claims
Recently, Beijing has again started claiming the area (corresponding to the state of Arunachal Pradesh) as its own. However, it is worth noting that when the Dalai Lama and his entourage entered India at Khenzimane in 1959, the Chinese government did not protest about the location of the border or even claim that Tawang was ‘Southern Tibet’ (the term used today by Beijing to define Tawang).
They knew perfectly well that the Tibetan leader had taken refuge in Indian territory. Strangely, Beijing is today insisting that Tawang district is part of the People’s Republic of China, but it is clearly an afterthought.
Had Beijing already believed that Tawang area was part of the Chinese territory in 1959, the Chinese troops would have followed the Dalai Lama and his entourage into this area and stopped him from moving to Assam.
The Dalai Lama also clearly mentions in his autobiography that Chuthangmu was the border where he was received by a detachment of the Assam Riffles. He wrote: “I would like to state how the Government of India’s officers posted there had spared no efforts in making my stay and journey through this extremely well administered part of India as comfort-able as possible.”

Events of March 1959
The Tibetan leader’s arrival in India was the culmination of the events of March 1959 in Tibet. It included the popular uprising on 10 March. The escape of the Dalai Lama from Lhasa on the night of 17 March, the massacre of the Tibetan population during the following days and finally the so-called ‘emancipation’ (or ‘liberation’) of the Tibetans by the Communists.
In his ‘Report for the months of March, April and May 1959’ sent to the Ministry of External Affairs, Maj SL Chibber, the Indian Consul General in Lhasa recounted: “In the history of movement for free Tibet, the month of March, 1959, will be most historic …during this month Tibetans high and low, in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, openly challenged the Chinese rule … the might of [the] Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), who on March 20, 1959, started an all-out offensive against the ill-organised, ill-equipped and untrained Tibetans with artillery, mortars, machine guns and all types of automatic weapons, [the protest] was short-lived.”
Chibber continued: “On March 28, 1959, the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China dissolved the local Tibet Government and transferred all its functions and powers to the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).”
Another account was given by the Chinese author, Jianglin Li in her book, Tibet in Agony. She used Chinese sources to describe the crackdown in Lhasa. Jianglin wrote: “From March 25 to April 5, the CPC’s Central Committee held an enlarged politburo meeting, and the seventh plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee in Shanghai. Pacification of rebellion in Tibet and relations with India were two of the issues discussed. Wu Lengxi, who was then head of Xinhua news agency and chief editor of The People’s Daily, revealed a glimpse of Mao’s thinking on the China-India relationship in his memoir: ‘Let the Indian Government commit all the wrongs for now. When the time comes, we will settle accounts with them’ [would have said the Great Helmsman].”
The accounts were ‘settled’ three years later (in October 1962) when the 7Th Infantry Brigade was decimated on the slopes of the Thagla ridge.
Since then, Beijing has used its propaganda machinery to paint the dramatic events of 1959 in white when they were black.

Propaganda continues
As recently as 21 March, 2024, China Tibet Network republished an interview of Anna Louise Strong, the author of A Million Serfs Stand Up. She, like Edgar Snow, falls in the category of what Lenin described as the ‘useful idiots’, i.e. foreigners defending all the actions of the Communist Party of China, including during the Cultural Revolution.
In August 1959, she was one the first foreign journalists to arrive in Tibet after the massacre of the Tibetans (prosaically called ‘democratic reform’ by Beijing); she wrote: “The air on the plateau is thin, and the entire nature seems to be soaked in sunlight. Snow peaks, rocks, cliffs, and long sloping pastures all have very bright colors, which are more dazzling than any scenery I have ever seen." She added, “Maybe instead of trusting others, it’s better to go and see for yourself.”
The Chinese website said: “In the next months, she visited Norbulingka, Jokhang Temple, Potala Palace, Drepung Temple, walked into the fields, and walked into the former serfs …She interviewed monks and former serfs, celebrated the Fruit Festival with farmers and herdsmen, and felt the joy of the harvest.” Strong celebrated the Communist ‘emancipation’ of the Tibetans.
Sixty-five years later, Beijing still uses Strong’s propaganda writings to justify their 1959 actions, forgetting that according to Chinese own records, 87,000 Tibetans were killed during these few weeks of March and April 1959, though according to China Tibet Network: “[Strong] did a lot of homework, analyzed the background of democratic reform, and also carefully observed and recorded the situation of democratic reforms in Lhasa, Shannan, Shigatse, Nyingchi and other places, and completed When serfs stood up in Tibet.”

End of a way of life
RS Kapur, another Indian official posted as Indian Trade Agent in Gyantse, wrote in his usually emotionless Annual Report for the Year 1959: “While heart of Tibet was bleeding the free world only made speeches. With the end of the debate on Tibet in the United Nations, Tibetans lost all hopes of their survival, stare at the sky with the blank eyes and ask: Where is God? Where is Buddha? How can world witness such brutal acts on a race that has always wanted to live in peace?”
Kapur added: “Buddha, the Tibetans say, has disappeared from the world; [they] are fast losing hopes of survival of their race. From all appearance Tibet is finished.”
Sixty-five years of a very sad tale indeed. But we have perhaps not seen the end of the story.

Sixty Five Years Ago: The Dalai Lama crosses over to India

An article written five years ago...

At a time when China says that the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama is not his ‘personal decision’, but that he should follow the ‘Communist Party’s instructions’, it is important to remember the momentous event which took place sixty years ago in the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), today’s Arunachal Pradesh.
On March 31, 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet crossed the Indo-Tibet border at Khenzimane in the NEFA’s Kameng Frontier Division, north of Tawang; a couple of kilometers south, he met a detachment of the Assam Rifles waiting to welcome him at Chuthangmu.
Since then, he has been an honoured guest of India.
Four days earlier, the 24-year-old Tibetan leader had sent a message to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India: “Ever since Tibet went under the control of Red China and the Tibetan Government lost its powers in 1951, I, my Government officers and citizens have been trying to maintain peace in Tibet, but the Chinese Government has been gradually subduing the Tibetan Government.
He further stated: “The Tibetans have great love for and faith in Buddhism and their religion is more precious to them than their lives. In order to root out Buddhism, the Chinese published some articles in the press against Lord Buddha’s teachings and circulated them widely. This has created [an] unhappy atmosphere amongst the Tibetans and they have started disliking intensely the Chinese Administration.”
The Dalai Lama told Nehru about the circumstances of his departure: “On March 17 at 4 pm, the Chinese fired two shells in the direction of my residence. They could not do much damage. As our lives were in danger, I and some of my trusted staff managed to escape the same evening at 10 pm.”
The party headed south and reached Lhuntse Dzong, north of the NEFA on March 26, after what has been termed as the Escape of the Century. The Dalai Lama observed: “India and Tibet have had religious relations for thousand years and they are like brothers without any differences;” he then requested Nehru for asylum: “In this critical situation we are entering India via Tsona [last town north of Tawang]. I hope that you will please make necessary arrangements for us in the Indian territory.”
Ever since, India has looked after the Tibetan leader’s welfare.

The Arrival in India
On March 27, TS Murty, the Assistant Political Officer was told to rush from his headquarters in Tawang to the border; on March 31 in the morning, he reached Chuthangmu in time to receive the Tibetan Lama.
The Dalai Lama’s advance party, under a junior officer, had already come two days earlier; they had informed the Assam Rifles that the main group consisted of the Dalai Lama, his family, his two tutors and three ministers; they were expected to enter India soon. Indian officials were also told that there was no sign of a Chinese pursuit; the party only needed more porters once they entered India.
A secret report sent to Delhi observed: “At 1400 hours on March 31, the Dalai Lama and his party reached Kenze Mane [Khenzimane] which demarcates the frontier in Chuthangmu area. His Holiness was riding a yak and was received by the Assistant Political Officer, Tawang. They proceeded to the checkpost without halting at the frontier.”
It was agreed that all porters, who had come from Tibet, would be sent back and that porterage arrangements thereafter would be made by the Government of India; the report continued: “It was also agreed that all pistols and revolvers, except those in possession of the Dalai Lama, his family and ministers (excluding their servants), and all rifles would be handed over to us for safe custody and that these could be collected at the frontier by those members of the body guard who were to return to Tibet after escorting the Dalai Lama to the plains or that alternatively, we would keep that in our custody and obtain disposal orders from the Government.” It is doubtful if the Dalai Lama himself had a pistol.
A reply from the Prime Minister to the Dalai Lama’s message was received through KL Mehta, Advisor to the Government of Assam on April 3: “I received Your Holiness' message only yesterday on my return to Delhi. My colleagues and I welcome you and send you greetings on your safe arrival in India. We shall be happy to afford the necessary facilities for you, your family and entourage to reside in India. The people of India who hold you in great veneration will no doubt accord their traditional respect to your person.”
Sixty years later, the veneration remains.

The Dalai Lama’s account
Let us come back a few days earlier.
In his memoirs, Freedom in Exile, the Dalai Lama narrated his last days in Tibet: “From Lhuntse Dzong we passed to the small village of Jhora and from there to the Karpo pass, the last before the border. Just as we were nearing the highest point of the track we received a bad shock. Out of nowhere, an aeroplane appeared and flew directly overhead. It passed quickly - too quickly for anyone to be able to see what markings it had - but not so fast that the people on board could have missed spotting us. This was not a good sign. If it was Chinese, as it probably was, there was a good chance that they now knew where we were. With this information they could return to attack us from the air, against which we had no protection. Whatever the identity of the aircraft, it was a forceful reminder that I was not safe anywhere in Tibet. Any misgivings I had about going into exile vanished with this realisation: India was our only hope.”
As the party was spending its last night in a small village called Mangmang; it suddenly began to rain: “This was on top of a week of appalling weather, which threw blizzards and snow glare at us by turns as we straggled along. We were all exhausted and it was the last thing that we needed, but it continued torrentially throughout the night,” remembered the Dalai Lama.
Though the young leader was very sick, he decided to move on: “I now had the difficult task of saying goodbye to the soldiers and freedom fighters who had escorted me all the way from Lhasa, and who were now about to turn and face the Chinese. There was one official too who decided to remain. He said that he did not think that he could be of much use in India, therefore it would be better to stay and fight. I really admired his determination and courage.”
It is how the Dalai Lama arrived in India sixty years ago: “After bidding these people a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzomo, for I was still too ill to ride a horse. And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.”
On the back of a yak!

A Report from the Political Officer
Har Mander Singh, the Political Officer (PO) of the Kameng Frontier Division received the Tibetan leader in Lumla, south of the border, mid-way to Tawang.
Har Mander informed Delhi that after crossing to India, the Dalai Lama had moved south, passed the historical Gorsam Stupa, reached Shakti village the next day and Lumla on April 3.
Here the PO had long discussions with the Tibetan officials and the Dalai Lama: “the [Tibetan] Foreign Minister [Thupten Liushar] briefly recounted the circumstances under which the Dalai Lama was forced to leave Tibet. About the relations between China and Tibet, he said: “…The Government of Tibet was, however, in possession of documents refuting Chinese claim of suzerainty over them and in support of theirs being an independent country.”
Liushar said that the Dalai Lama himself had felt that he should work in harmony with the Chinese: “Indeed during his visit to India [in 1956] he was advised by the Indian Prime Minister himself to cooperate with the Chinese in the interest of his country.”
In spite of the Dalai Lama’s effort to accommodate the Chinese viewpoint, “the Chinese interfere in the religious affairs of the Tibetans... They had desecrated several monasteries in Kham Province and had also killed several incarnate Lamas,” wrote the PO.
The Indian officials were informed how the Dalai Lama had decided to escape via the Southern route as the only Chinese garrison (of about 600) on the way was in Tsethang where the Chinese: “were surrounded by the rebel [guerilla] troops and Tibetan Government forces and could not, therefore, interfere with the movement of the party.”
Before moving on to India, the Dalai Lama had established an exile Government in Lhuntse Dzong.
Later, on the way to India, the Tibetans mentioned the aircraft flying over them near Tsona; it could well have been an Indian airplane from Squadron 106, mentioned by Wing Commander ‘Jaggi’ Nath in a recent interview to
The Tibetan ministers informed the Indian officials that: “The policy of the Chinese was becoming increasingly anti-religious; the masses of Tibet were restive and he was no longer able to make them put up with the Chinese rule; the Chinese had attempted to endanger [the Dalai Lama’s] person; Tibet should be free; his people would fight to win their freedom; he was confident that India’s sympathies are with the Tibetans; the seat of his Government had shifted from Lhasa to Lhuntse Dzong.”
The program of the party was briefly discussed, reported Har Mander Singh: “The Foreign Minister indicated that they might like to stay up to ten days in Tawang. I explained briefly the disadvantages of their prolonged stay in Tawang and said that we could perhaps make them more comfortable in Bomdi La. I made it clear, however that we were prepared to accede to the Dalai Lama’s wishes. The Foreign Minister said that it would be possible to cut down their stay in Tawang to about three days.”
Har Mander Singh assured Liushar that India would provide all facilities for travel beyond Tawang to all persons accompanying the Dalai Lama, but there was danger that stray persons escaping from Tibet may take this opportunity and come in along with the main party. He wanted a full list of persons entering India, as comprehensive and accurate as possible, he said.
During the following weeks, 12,000 refugees would cross the border; the exodus will continue for several years.
The rest is history.

Crossing the border

Assam Rifles Guard of Honour in Tawang
The Dalai Lama's Mother in Bomdila
With PO Har Mander Singh
In Tawang
In Siliguri with PN Menon, former Indian Consul general in Lhasa

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Rahul Sankrityayan’s Tibet connect debunks false Chinese narrative

Mahapandita Rahul Sankritayan and Gedun Choepel
My article Rahul Sankrityayan’s Tibet connect debunks false Chinese narrative appeared in Firstpost

Sankrityayan’s four visits to Tibet are fascinating as they are a vibrant proof of the century-old linkages between India and Tibet—a fact denied by Communist China today—and a proof that Tibet is truly a child of Indian civilisation

Here is the link...

During the annual ‘Two Meetings’ in Beijing, it was announced that China’s defence budget for 2024 would be $231.36 billion, an increase of 7.2 per cent from the previous year (about thrice the size of the Indian defence budget); it is a large increase, especially when one knows that official figures are only a fraction of the actual spending by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert, told the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece The Global Times: “By 2027, the Chinese military will have the ability to effectively deal with threats brought by hegemonism and power politics in the western Pacific region, including issues relating to the Taiwan question and the South China Sea, as well as border tensions between China and India.”
It is clear that the increase in the Chinese budget is targeting not only Taiwan, the ‘rebel island’, but also India.
In these circumstances, it is necessary for Delhi to think ‘out of the box’.

One of the many alternatives is to supplement military preparedness with ‘Historical Warfare’; this would not cost much to the exchequer and would help refocus and motivate the defence forces on the border.
It would also put the boundary question in its proper historical perspective; for millennia, Northern India has been contiguous to Tibet, an independent nation till the end of the 1950s, not to China; the same is true for Eastern Turkestan (now called Xinjiang).
In this context, I recently became acquainted with the fascinating life of Mahapandita Rahul Sankrityayan, one of the greatest Indian scholars who wrote some 130 books.

He was a great wandering scholar, spending 45 years of his life away from home on Asian and Western roads.
Rahul Ji, as he was known by his followers, was born Kedarnath Pandey to an Orthodox Hindu Brahmin family in Pandha village of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh on April 9, 1893. He was the eldest child of six siblings. Though he only received a formal education up to grade eight (in Urdu language in his village), Sankrityayan later mastered some 34 languages.
His maternal grandfather, Ram Sharan Pathak, an ex-soldier, with his innumerable tales of valour and adventure, planted the seed of love for travelling in him; already at the age of 9, he ran away from home ‘to see the world’ and only after having visited Calcutta and Varanasi did he return to complete his middle school.
One of his biographers wrote: “Sankrityayan’s life, work, and ideas were steeped in and spread through many cultures, disciplines, and geographies. Born in a Sanatani Brahmin family, he lived variously the life of a Vaishnava sadhu, an Arya Samaji polemicist, a Buddhist monk, an antiquarian and scholar of Buddhism, a political activist jailed for anti-colonial speeches (1920 and 1923–1925) and beaten up by the henchmen of landlords in a peasant movement in Bihar (1939), a self-professed communist, a progressive writer, a novelist, a historian, a biographer, a language activist, a linguist, lexicographer, and so forth.”

Sankrityayan indeed lived multiple lives in one, always ready to change his worldview while remaining profoundly human.
From 1914 till 1930, he lived as a Vaishnava sannyasi; in 1939, Rahul Ji converted to Buddhism; this did not stop him from participating in the freedom movement, and between the years 1936 and 1944, he was actively involved in the peasant movement. During this period, he spent 29 months in jail (1940–42) for being a member of the Communist Party of India.
When free, he extensively travelled to Sri Lanka, the Soviet Union, the Far East, Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Western Europe.
Sankrityayan’s four visits to Tibet are fascinating as they are a vibrant proof of the century-old linkages between India and Tibet (a fact denied by Communist China today) and a proof that Tibet is truly a child of Indian civilisation (as the Dalai Lama likes to put it).
It is important in the present tense context of Sino-Indian relations to not forget this.
During his trips to Tibet, this polymath managed to bring back to their land of origin some 1,619 valuable manuscripts and thankha paintings; he employed 16 mules to bring the precious loads to Bihar, where they are today kept in a special section of the Patna Museum.

In Tibet, Rahul Ji met his Tibetan ‘counterpart’, probably the greatest Tibetan scholar of the first part of the 20th century, Gendun Choepel. Rahul Ji called him ‘Geshe’ (‘Kalyanamitra’ in Sanskrit) or ‘Brother in the Dharma’. In Tibet, Geshe denoted a high degree of knowledge and was equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist studies.

The Mahapandita recounted: “My first meeting with Geshe took place in Lhasa. He was a disciple of Geshe Sherab, the most learned pandit of Drepung, the largest monastery in Tibet. Geshe Sherab was an authority on philosophy; thus, his disciple would also be a student of the same subject.”
However, Gedun was not only a student of philosophy; he was also a poet and had mastered traditional and modern Tibetan painting: “As a talented artist, he could live a comfortable life in Lhasa. However, Geshe never aspired to a comfortable life.”
Like Rahul Ji, Gedun was a wanderer, an adventurer, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, always wanting to acquire more knowledge.
Sankrityayan recalled: “[In 1934> I realised that his depth of classical learning combined with his artistic background would be invaluable to me in the search for ancient MSS [manuscripts>… On his part, he wanted to accompany me to India and see and learn more. We became friends from that time onwards.”
Thus started the search for the lost manuscripts of Nalanda and the other great viharas of Northern India; the two pandits wanted to rediscover the centuries-old linkage between India and Tibet.
They first visited the ancient monasteries north of Lhasa, then they went to Reting monastery, established in the 11th century: “Tibet has a scanty rainfall, and at the time of our arrival, richly painted thangkas had been hung out for an airing. Geshe’s heart leapt at the sight. They were of Indian workmanship, and it is also possible that they had been brought from India.” They copied them.
In his memoirs, Rahul Ji noted: “My Tibetan journeys were a combination of bitter-sweet experiences—the bitterness as extreme as the sweet. Sometimes, animals to carry us and our goods were as readily provided as a householder’s hospitality. Sometimes, though we ourselves were willing to walk, we could not hire porters, and it was difficult to get a yard of space to rest ourselves.”
His following visit to Tibet was a great success: “I saw many dozens of ancient Sanskrit MMS. I was able to photograph many of them and copy down many by hand.”
The day of May 25, 1936, was memorable: “We were informed by Dolma Phodrang [one of the temples in Sakya monastery> that they had received the key to Chakpe Lhakhang… I had very little expectation that I would find a Sanskrit manuscript there. After arriving, I turned to the left and found the first stockroom. The door and doorframe seemed centuries old. Who knows how many years of dust must have been collected? On one occasion, dust spread so profusely that the whole stockroom was blanketed as if in smoke.”
The Mahapandita continued his exploration: “We waited a little and then moved in. There was also enough dust on the floor to make footprints. We found hundreds of scriptures there, some wrapped in cloth, while others had been left uncovered. Among them, we found scriptures as old as seven and eight hundred years. These were the texts that had been written and read by great ancient Tibetan masters and scholars. They were precious jewels of Tibetan literature and history.” They had found the lost manuscripts.
Rahul Ji continued to explore the room: “I was searching for palm leaf manuscripts in Sanskrit. After browsing here and there, I found one which was not wrapped in cloth. One, two, three, four… I found twenty manuscripts in all. I opened one and began to look at it. I was overjoyed.”

This discovery symbolises the age-old relationship between Tibet and India.
Today, it is important to remember these ancient linkages (there are many others), which bear testimony to the deep connections between the people of India and Tibet.
If these connections could be revived in any way, it could completely change the perspective of the conflict with China and Beijing’s erroneous narrative for the border ‘dispute’. In the meantime, Beijing should be reminded that Tibet has been (and is still geographically) India’s northern neighbour.
And real heroes like Mahapandita or Geshe should not be forgotten; on the contrary, they should be honoured, and a young generation of historians should be encouraged to boldly follow in the footsteps of the wandering scholars