His HolinessThe Dalai Lama: “When Tibet was free, we took our freedom for granted. We had little sense that it was something we had to prove or even defend, because we were unaware that it was under threat…Our physical isolation lulled us into a sense of complacency…
In former times Tibetans were a war-like nation whose influence spread far and wide. With the advent of Budhisim our military prowess declined…„
Delving deep into the history of the Roof of the World, this book introduces us to one of the greatest tragedies of modern times, its principal characters as well as the forces impelling them, consciously or unconsciously.
The main ‘knot’ of our ‘drama’ was staged in 1950. During this ‘fateful’ year the dice of fate was thrown. There are turning points in history when it is possible for events to go one way or the other — when the tides of time seem poised between the flood and the ebb, when fate awaits our choice to strike its glorious or sombre note, and the destiny of an entire nation hangs in balance.
The year 1950 was certainly one such crucial year in the destinies of India, Tibet and China. The three nations had the choice of moving towards peace and collaboration, or tension and confrontation.
Decisions can be made with all good intentions — as in the case of Nehru who believed in an ‘eternal friendship’ with China, or with uncharitable motives of Mao. Decisions can be made out of weakness, greed, pragmatism, ignorance or fear; but once an option is excercised, consequences unfold for years and decades to follow.
In strategic terms, Tibet is critical to South Asia and South-east Asia. Rather the Tibetan plateau holds the key to the peace, security and well being of Asia, and the world as such. This study of the history of Tibet, a nation sandwiched between two giant neighbours, will enable better understanding of the geopolitics influencing the tumultuous relations between India and China, particularly in the backdrop of border disputes and recent events in Tibet.