Borders / December 13, 2016

Essays on the Borders

Some research papers on the Indo-Tibet boundary

  • The First Months of the Tibetan Army
    An aspect which has not often been researched but is the outcome of the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict, is the creation of a Special Frontier Force (SFF). It was to be ready to infiltrate into Tibet after six months following its creation. This did not happen, but it is worth looking at the first months of the Tibetan Army.
  • On Borders
    What is a border?
    When one consults Wikipedia, the online dictionary, we are told: “Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders — such as a state’s internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area — are open and completely unguarded. Other borders are partially or fully controlled, and may be crossed legally only at designated border checkpoints and border zones may be controlled.”
    But that is not all…
  • The man who brought Tawang under India
    Major Ralengnao (Bob) Khathing, a Naga tribal from Manipur, used his distinguished military background and exemplary diplomatic skills to win over the locals and establish Delhi’s control over the region
  • The Indian Frontier Administrative Service
    Romanticism and Hostiles Borders
    Though constitutionally a part of Assam, the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) was directly administered by the Centre , with the Governor of Assam acting as agent to the President of India. The latter was seconded by a senior officer , designated as Advisor to the Governor of Assam.
  • Border Trade: Reopening the Tibet Border
    The first part of this paper concluded with this question: can the borders be softened again? Can the age-old relation between the Tibetans and the Himalayans be revived?
    The process has started, though it is slow.
    This paper will look at the gains acquired from the reopening of the three land ports, but also at the difficulties to return to the booming trade which existed between Tibet and India before the invasion of Tibet in 1950 and to a certain extent till the Indo-China war of 1962.
    It will also examine the possibility to reopen more land ports in the future, mainly in Ladakh (Demchok) and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The British Policy towards Tibet in 1945
    The first months of 1945 saw the end of World Word II’s hostilities in Europe. The War with its 60 million dead had come to an end.
    From February 4 to 11, a Conference was held at Yalta in Crimea between the heads of the government of the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, respectively represented by President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and General Secretary Joseph Stalin. The objective was to discuss Europe’s post-war reorganization.
    In Asia the war was still raging and one would have to wait till August 15 to see Japan’s surrender.
  • The Life and Time of Abdul Wahid Radhu – A case of fusion of cultures
    Some encounters are different. The one with Abdul Wahid Radhu will always remain very special for us. One of the reasons might be that for the past twenty years or so, we read a lot about him and hoped to meet him one day; however circumstances and ’life’ (or karma) had not permitted it.
    Despite (or because of) his advanced age, this human being — very few such beings still exist today in our world of narrow-mindedness — who has been one of the last caravaneers of Central Asia and Tibet, can today look at his life and the historical events which changed the face of Asia with a certain detachment…
    Published in TRANSCENDING CONFLICTS – Indian and Eastern Way (New Delhi, Global Foundation for Civilisational Harmony, 2008)
  • India Tibet relations between 1947 and 1949 — India begins to vacillate
    At the end of the 1940’s, irrespective of whirlwind changes everywhere else on the planet, life in Lhasa was going on as usual. As Asian or African people talked about Revolution, Independence or the end of Imperialism, these notions meant nothing in Tibet.
    These concepts could only be grasped by the few who had gone to Darjeeling or Kalimpong to study English, or to Chungking or Nanking to learn Chinese . They were very few.
    For most Tibetans and especially for the monks in the monasteries around Lhasa, ‘independence’ only meant that they could continue to practice their religion as they had done for centuries. Many probably felt closer to China, which was a Buddhist nation till recently. They knew about the priest-patron which for generations regulated the rapport between the Head Lamas of Tibet and the Emperors of China. They knew it was the way that the autonomy of Tibet had been protected for centuries.
    (Paper presented on the occasion of the International Conference on Exploring Tibet’s History and Culture held at Delhi University from November 19-21st, 2009)
  • The Simla Convention
    There is a prevalent custom in Asia: let’s first have a cup of tea. Colonel Younghusband had the customary cup when he visited the Tibetan camp at Guru near the Chumbi Valley in 19042. A couple of days later, he officially received his Tibetan counterpart, General Lhading at his camp in Tuna. Then, despite the courteous offering of scarves, tea and refreshments, a battle started between the troops of Younghusband and Lhading. The Tibetans were crushed; they were no match for the British troops equipped with the most modern weapons.
    Published as The Simla Convention: Ninety Two Years Later
    (Colonial India: a Centenary Tribute to Prof. K.K. Datta, Edited by Prof Surendra Gopal, Veer Kunwar Singh University, Arrah, 2006, pp 140-157)


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