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Saturday, June 3, 2023

The Tibetan Legacy of ‘the Great Game’ for Bharat

The British entered a treaty with Tibet called the Anglo-Tibetan Convention in September of 1904. This Convention guaranteed that the paths of Tibet would always be open to Bharat, and that Tibet would not negotiate with any other foreign powers. The Bharatiya Army under the British would keep occupying the Chumbi valley.

The treaty specifically excluded China from this agreement, whose ambassador was present in Lhasa at that time. This is significant as this fact makes the Anglo-Tibetan Convention basically a treaty between India and Tibet.

Although in another treaty a couple of years later reverted back the situation to its former position in some respects. The sheer fact that the British thought of identifying, invading, and mapping Tibet and striking a treaty with them shows us how important they thought Tibet was going to be for India’s international security.

The Chinese tried to control Tibet after the British forces left but were bitterly fought and after three years of trench warfare they were hounded out of Tibet.

The centuries-old Manchu dynasty fell in Beijing and the new Republican government tried to resume some form of contact with Tibet, an offer which the Dalai Lama declined pointedly. Any peripheral claim that China had on Tibet was now completely over.

The British had meanwhile hosted the Dalai Lama in Darjeeling in Bharat and in this way started a new relationship of the Dalai Lama with Bharat and Bharatiya Citizens.

The British had behaved ignominiously towards Tibetans in their invasion; there is no doubt about that. They had defiled their holy city as no Christian had been allowed into the Forbidden City before.

But they were doing so with a greater political purpose in their mind. Geopolitics is neither good nor bad. It is what it is. The British knew this and even though many of its officers had the air of white man’s burden on them, a lot of them knew that they were doing what was necessary to protect the borders of Bharat. The British did it for themselves, for the British Crown and for Christianity.

But in any case, they left a glorious legacy for Bharat to carry. Not only did they secure the western borders of Bharat, but they also closed the Pamir Gap and insulated Bharatiya borders from Russian territories. Then they secured the Sikkim-Tibet border.

They went one step further and even though they knew that Tibet was claimed as a protectorate of China, they invaded and occupied Tibet at great cost so Bharat could strike an independent treaty with Tibet.

This was a legacy which if carried forward would have given Bharat a free hand in Tibet. Had Bharat protected Tibet by stationing its armies in Lhasa and at its borders, the geopolitical game today would have been completely different.

To think of this part of independent Bharat’s history is painful to say the least. When the Red Army of communist China was invading Tibet, the Dalai Lama had appealed to Bharat for help.

But as the Dalai Lama records in his memoirs, he was bluntly refused by an arrogant and self-assured Nehru, who was head over heels in love with everything communist and was foolish enough to believe that the Chinese communists can do no wrong.

The Dalai Lama says:

“The Indian Government also made it clear that they would not give us military help and advised us not to offer any armed resistance but to open negotiations for a peaceful settlement…” (The Dalai Lama 249)

To stress the monumental stupidity of Nehru, the British had once struck a treaty with Tibet to the benefit of India, excluding every other foreign power from Lhasa but allowing Bharat. Then the Dalai Lama himself had asked for Bharat’s military help.

This was a golden moment to grab the opportunity and station India’s armies on the borders of Tibet, thereby gaining a perennial advantage over China, but Nehru’s monumental humbug did not let him see clearly.

Not only this, when the Red Army of China had occupied Tibet they were committing unspeakable atrocities on Tibetans and destroying Tibetan Buddhism which is much nearer to the Shakta sect in India.

When the Tibetans tried to communicate to the wider world the atrocities committed upon them by contacting the Tibetan diaspora in Bharat, the insolent Nehru tried every dirty trick in the book to block the Dalai Lama’s cries for help to the wider world.

Here is what Peter Hopkirk says: “Chinese attempts to crush to movement by means of harsh sentences, executions, deportations and other forms of reprisal were unsuccessful. But little of all this reached the outside world.

Occasional rumors filtered through to Bharat, but as these were impossible to check they were largely discounted in the West. It was Nehru’s policy at that time moreover, to placate his powerful Communist neighbor by discouraging such unfriendly stories.

One British journalist living in Kalimpong was threatened with expulsion if he continued to write them.” (Hopkirk 253)

Even in 1958 much of Tibet south of the Tsang-po River was firmly in the control of the Tibetan rebels.

Bharat could have taken advantage of this situation and take control of at least half of Tibet and once again have the advantage of height and could have controlled the sacred headwaters of the Indus, the Brahmaputra and the Mekong.

But they did no such thing for a communist stooge was controlling Bharat at that time. At first, south Tibet is where the Dalai Lama fled to after the Tibetan uprising against the Chinese.

After the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa, the communist Chinese Army shelled the Potala Palace and massacred thousands upon thousands of Tibetans. Expectedly the reaction of Nehru in Bharat was nothing short of abominable. He tried to silence the Bharatiya consul Ram Nath Kaul who was then stationed in Lhasa.

It was from Bharat that the communist atrocities on the Tibetans first came to light but the news was quickly suppressed by a communist stooge Nehru who seldom cared for peace or justice, and was more than ready to justify anything in support of communist China.

Very soon the Chinese would occupy Aksai Chin, which was Bharatiya Territory and Nehru would not even realize that this had happened until much later. More important than this territory is the fact that China is now at Bharat’s borders on all its northern and eastern borders.

Making Pakistan and various central Asian countries its stooge, Bharat is now surrounded from all sides by China. This ring would never have materialized if Bharat had taken Tibet as a protectorate rather than China.

What the British had gained through great courage and immense hardships and great foresight in geopolitics, India lost spectacularly owing to its foolhardy policies under a communism-loving Nehru.

(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread posted by @PankajSaxena84 on April 5, 2023, with minor edits to improve readability and conform to HinduPost style guide)

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