Tibet and the British Raj : The Frontier Cadre 1904 - 1947

Tibet and the British Raj : The Frontier Cadre 1904 - 1947

Product ID: 27017

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Author: Alex McKay
Publisher: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives
Year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 341
ISBN/UPC (if available): 81-86470-92-1


Despite the popular image of Tibet as a remote and inaccessible land to which few Europeans ventured, more than one hundred British-Indian officials lived and worked there during the years 1904-1947.

Following Colonel Younghusband's 1903-04 mission to Lhasa, these officers and their supporting staff were posted in central and southern Tibet, and, after 1936-1937, at the British Mission Lhasa. Among those who rose to the senior positions there were such famous frontiersmen as Colonel F.M. Bailey, Sir Charles Bell, and Hugh Richardson.

This ground-breaking work draws on previously unpublished sources, both oral and written, to examine the character, role, and influence of these officers. It concentrates on those who formed a small, distinct, group of Tibetan specialists: ‘the Tibet cadre'. These men were diplomatic representatives of the Raj, but they were also scholars, spies, and empire-builders, who not only influenced events in Tibet but also shaped our modern understanding of that land. This will be the definitive source for students of Anglo-Tibetan relations.


Foreword to the Second Edition
Foreword by Dr. Michael Aris
Prologue : 'We could Run the Whole Show'
Introduction : 'To Avoid Incurring the Hostility of the Chinese Government'

1. ‘He may yet be an Indian Ruling Chief’
2. ‘An Extremely Mad Scheme’
3. ‘A Conversion Almost as Remarkable as Sir F.Younghusband'
4. ‘I became Tibetanised'
5. Growing up ‘with a Profound Belief in the British Empire’
6. 'The Strange Laboured Breathing of Men and Mules'
7. 'Tom-foolery on the Part of Laden La, Tsarong and others in Lhasa in 1924'
8. The Weir Years and 'The Right Hand of Every Political Officer'
9. 'Passed to the Heavenly Fields'
10. 'One Distinct Forward Move'
11. Gartok: Edge of Empire
12. 'Keeping the Tibetans Happy'
13. They've all got Something Special about them'
14. 'We want a United Tibet'
15. 'Nothing Left to which Objection could be taken'

Epilogue: ‘Today we are no longer masters of the Residency’
Appendix One: The Tibet Cadre; biographical details
Appendix Two: The Government of India’s Officers in Tibet; dates of service