Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2008 > April 5, 2008 > Rival Faiths in Tibet

Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 16

Rival Faiths in Tibet

Buddhism and Communism

Monday 7 April 2008, by Kunal Ghosh

Anti-China protests broke out in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet on March 14, 2008. They have spread to the neighbouring Sichuan and Qinghai provinces that incorporated what used to be the Amdo region of Tibet before China took possession of Tibet in 1959. The Dalai Lama has called for an international probe into whether “cultural genocide—deliberate or not—was taking place in his homeland”. (The Times of India, March 17, 2008, Lucknow) Samdhang Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, has said:
China is interfering in our subjects of study under the garb od re-education and patriotic religion. They are not allowing our history and culture to be taught in schools and monasteries.
- (The Times of India, March 21, 2008, Lucknow)

The Chinese Government has said that the disturbances had been planned and orchestrated by the Dalai Lama and declared a “people’s war” against the Buddhist organisers of the uprising. The Chinese Communists, much like their East European comrades, have been trying to suppress conventional religions since 1948. In Europe the move has not succeeded and the religions there, both Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, have resurfaced with vengeance as soon as the ‘iron grip’ loosened in the late 1980s with the then Soviet President Gorbachev’s perestroika or restructuring. Likewise Buddhism started showing signs of resurgence all over China as soon as some social and economic freedoms were introduced by the political authorities. In the new millennium, that is, since 2000, the temples are attracting increasing numbers. The Communist authorities cannot help this, but they would not tolerate any organised religious activity even of an avowedly apolitical group such as the Falun Gong. Newspaper reports and TV coverage amply bear this out. The sense of insecurity and aggression displayed by the Communists are quite akin to those of a religion when another invades its turf. The worst victims of this reprehensible attitude are the Tibetans. The suppression of Buddhism in Tibet has had a much deeper cultural impact than in main land China. What shapes the communist attitude to other ideologies/religions is the subject of this investigation.

Abrahamic Faiths and Communism

Similarity of Institutions

That communism is a crypto-religion in line with Judaism and Christianity (both are Abrahamic faiths of West Asian origin) has been alluded to by many great thinkers. I do not want to fill pages here by quoting great European thinkers such as Bertrand Russel, Alberto Moravia etc. However, I do wish to quote three Indian thinkers of repute, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sushobhan Sarkar and Nikhil Chakravartty, and add a few observations of my own. Incidentally Nehru was an admirer of communism, and Chakravartty and Sarkar were camp followers. So there must be an added sting in their observations, since they were all insiders.

Nehru called himself a “Pagan” and admired “the essential tolerance in a Pagan”. He took both America and the Soviets to task for trying to impose a rigid economic doctrine on others, but his criticism of the Communists is sharper. He said (Link 1961):

The whole idea that others must conform to our ways, that we are the only true believers—this is contrary to my pagan conception…….The Semitic conception is different. So is the attitude of the Communists, though without saying so they are now adopting a new approach. But basically communism has descended from Christianity, and Christianity has basically descended from Judaism: “Accept my God, there is no other God than the God of Israel”. The Communists are trying to apply the same kind of attitude to politics and economics…… It is this concept of having the whole truth, which is fundamentally opposed to the pagan concept. The whole truth is too big for any one people to grasp completely.

Sushobhan Sarkar(1979), in his critique on Joseph Stalin’s centenary, criticised the great dictator in the following words:

Let us recall that famous speech of Stalin after Lenin’s death: ‘Before leaving us Comrade Lenin had instructed ….we pledge Comrade Lenin, we shall fulfil that instruction…etc etc.’ Does not the whole thing sound like some litany of the Orthodox Church? It is said that the church influenced Stalin in his childhood. In this context I am reminded that at one time in China too the so-called ‘mirror documents’ were in vogue. This was a kind of striving for individual self-purification, efforts at self-improvement by comparing oneself with Marx, Lenin etc. Is not this method a complete imitation of the Jesuits?1
Nikhil Chakravartty (1990), in his ‘CPI-M in West Bengal : A Moment of Truth’, said:

It’s time to pause and ponder for the CPI-M in West Bengal. I would not use the hackneyed cliché of “self-criticism”—much abused in Communist circles. It has been shown up as a means to force a sort of confession in Catholic terms.

These are a few excerpts from persons of great vision and penetrating insight. I agree with Nehru’s opinion that communism has basically descended from Judaism and Christianity. Communists, whose prophet is Marx, have evolved the concept of “false consciousness”. For instance, why do Tibetans show such great attachment to their religion, Lamaist Buddhism? It is because they harbour a false consciousness, which is going to melt away under the sunshine of Marxism, when they receive proper education (read indoctrination or sermon). The concept of False Consciousness is very similar to the False Religion or False God of the Abrahamic faiths. Mughal emperor Jahangir’s diary reveals that he felt threatened by and arrested/tortured Guru Arjun Dev of the Sikhs, because the emperor believed that the Guru had been preaching a false religion and he (the emperor) had to stop the “false traffic” of devotees to the Guru’s abode. (Singh 1977) Long after Christianisation of Europe, Pagan forms of worship persisted under cover. Whenever it was detected, the Christian priests felt threatened and called it witchcraft or “Satan worship”, a particularly reprehensible form of false religion, and inflicted terrible punishment. There is ample evidence that Bengal’s 16th century Nawab Hussein Shah felt threatened by the gatherings around Shri Chaitanya and came close to arresting him several times. This was in spite of the transparent and completely apolitical nature of Shri Chaitanya’s Bhakti movement. Likewise the present Chinese Communists feel needlessly threatened by the totally and avowedly apolitical Falun Gong, which preaches an amalgam of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional breathing exercises. They arrest Falun Gong members on concocted charges of some crime or the other and incarcerate them. The Christian term for a religious war is Crusade, the Muslim term is Jihad and the Communist term for an ideological (read religious) war is People’s War. They now wish to unleash a People’s War on the Buddhist infidels of Tibet.

Catholics have traditionally regarded the religious interpretation of the Orthodox or Protestant churches as ‘false interpretation’ and called it heresy. We find it also among the earlier sects of the Jews; the older Samaritan sect rejected the interpretation of reformist Ezra as ‘false’. This led to tremendous enmity and the Jews destroyed the Samaritan temple. Whenever a new interpretation arises the ruling communist establishment of China gives it a derogatory name such as Splittism, Deviationism or Revisionism leading to intense hostility. They do not use the word ‘heresy’ but the sentiment is hardly different.

Veneration of the Saint’s tombs and offering floral tributes are common in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, and Islam. Modern technology has made the tomb transparent and the body preserved. So we had the spectacle of the holy tombs of the Communist leaders—first Lenin and then Stalin and later Mao Zedong. The last still endures and attracts flower-offering pilgrims. Another holy tomb is likely to be added in the near future, that of Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba.

Abrahamic religions, whenever they conquer a territory, convert the inhabitants and try to suppress their ancestral culture. Ancestral history becomes a prohibited subject. In Afghanistan and Pakistan pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist history is not permitted in schools. China is doing the same in Tibet and I have already quoted Samdhang Rinpoche on this.

Abrahamic faiths tell that history ends in an apocalyptic Doom’s day or the Day of Judgement or Kayamat. Communism talks of a definite and purposive direction in history which fulfils itself in a Utopia signalling the end of history. In contrast, the eastern religions have a cyclical view of history in which patterns of social organisation and governance repeat in a sequence, and history never ends.

Proselytising Missionary Phase

Like Western Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Marx built into his ideas a proselytising missionary zeal. Lenin and Mao carried it forward. Communists of the Second World War generation fervently believed that salvation of the world lay in communism. They sent literature, preachers and professional revolutionaries abroad. The unjust order of West European imperialism offered a favourable climate. China led by ‘the great helmsman’ Mao Zedong was in a fervent proselytising mood in the 1950s. In this phase she invaded Tibet and wished to convert the suzerainty under the Manchu dynasty into sovereignty under Communist rule. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China captured Tibet and imposed a command economy. Soon there was a border conflict with India in 1962. India had made her share of border provocations under the leadership of an unwise Nehru. Mao wanted to demonstrate the superiority of the communist system over the “bourgeois” system of India and there was a short military conflict. A completely unprepared India (it is said that the Indian soldiers fighting at an altitude above 16,000 feet did not have snow boots) lost heavily. The Chinese declared ceasefire and withdrew to their original position, which was more or less along the Mcmahon line in the east. In the next four years they offered to settle for the Mcmahon line in the east provided India accepted their position in the west bordering Ladakh. It should be recalled that border in the Ladakh region had never been demarcated and different 19th century maps of British India showed different imaginary borders which included varying chunks of territory on the other side of the Himalayan ridge line. The land under question is difficult to access from India. However, in her belligerent mood India did not accommodate the Chinese view.

The late 1950s witnessed a division in communism and emergence of sects, Krushchevism and Maoism. The two sects fought each other almost as much as they battled against their common enemy, world capitalism. This sectarian conflict infected Indian Communists too. In the early 1960s the Indian Communists split into two, the CPI and CPI-M. In the late 1960s the latter split again giving birth to the CPI-ML. There was a tri-partite bloody conflict in West Bengal, with the Congress siding with the CPI. It is to be noted that warring sects are a common occurrence in Abrahamic faiths, vide three hundred years of extremely bloody Protestant-Catholic conflict in Europe and still continuing Catholic-Orthodox-Muslim tripartite strife in Eastern Europe that broke up Yugoslavia and is now breaking up Serbia to create a new country called Kosovo. Mao Zedong divided the world into three—the First and Second Worlds consisted of Capitalist countries and Revisionist “developed” countries of Eastern Europe under Russian patronage; the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America formed the Tird World waiting to receive the gospel of Mao. From the triumph of the revolution in 1949 till 1966 Chinese communism was in an intense proselytising missionary phase.

Cultural Revolution

Abrahamic faiths have a marked tendency for destroying the older culture of the new lands into which they spread. After spreading into Europe Christianity nearly finished off the Greco-Roman Pagan culture of Europe. A dark age of nearly one thousand years descended on Christianised Europe when Europeans lost touch with Greek philosophical texts and were ashamed of their Pagan ancestry. The Dark Age lifted with the renaissance when they re-discovered their ancestral Greco-Roman writings on Science, Philosophy, Politics, Arts etc. Europe of today is proud of its Pagan ancestral heritage as much as of Christianity. (This interpretation of the Dark Age, being attributed wholly to advent of Christianity in Europe is entirely mine. Is there a lesson for Muslims and Christians of India in this?) Communism in China showed a marked inclination for destroying the older culture. In 1966 China was sent into a spin by the ‘great helmsman’ (read Prophet) Mao, who wasn’t satisfied anymore with a crypto-religion. He wanted a full-fledged religion and launched the Cultural Revolution. Many symbols of the old culture, such as palaces, temples, were partially or fully destroyed. In Tibet the Ganden monastery and the entire monastic city were completely destroyed. (Richard 1991, pp. 58, 59) Richard gives a photo of the destroyed monastery (ibid., plate 11) Mao Zedong’s photos were installed in Buddha temples and monasteries.

Mao campaigned against ‘four olds’ : Old Culture, Old Thinking, Old Ideas and Old Habits. He made intemperate and fanatical statements for uprooting these:

If you make a mistake, there is no point in trying to correct it in piecemeal fashion, what you need to do is to wipe it out completely and create a new culture.

What resulted was widespread destruction of cultural symbols all over China. This once again resembles the iconoclasm of the Abrahamic faiths which punctuates European and West Asian history.. For instance, Reformation and the rise of Protestant Christianity (Lutheran and Calvinist) saw North Europe’s (Germany, Denmark, Scotland etc.) churches being denuded of all idols and paintings. The Church of England, the moderate among the extremists, removed the idols from the altar but allowed it elsewhere in the church premises. The Catholic Church, of course, worships a Christ statue installed on the altar. (That is why Northern Europe is so barren in art forms. Most of Europe’s famous classical sculptors and painters are from the Catholic countries of Italy, France and Spain.) I should also refer to the destruction of Inca culture and symbols in South America by the Catholics, and Buddhist culture and symbols in Afghanistan by the Muslims. The latest to bite the dust were the giant Buddha statues, curved on the mountainside of the Bamyan valley of Afghanistan (February-March 2001) and the Swat valley of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan (November 2008). These works of art, declared World Heritage by the UN, were destroyed with the help of modern explosive technology by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and a local Mullah regime of the same persuasion in Swat.

Tsering Shakya of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, says (Fitzherbert 2001):

Maoists thought traditional symbols and religious ideology was hampering progress in Tibet. So during the Cultural Revolution there was destruction of symbols in private houses , monasteries, temples, village prayer halls etc.

Alberto Moravia , a Nobel Laureate in Literature and Leftist thinker of Italy (whose books were banned by the Fascist authorities during the Second World War and later put in the “Index” by the Roman Catholic Church) travelled through China at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Moravia (1969, pp. 36-37) describes the Red Book of Mao quotations as
a substitute for conscience and at the same time the axis of a system of ritual behaviour….. The book is carried around to show that one has it; thus we have demonstration…It is waved in the air at meetings, parades and gatherings; thus we have exultation of the book, or threat and challenge by means of the book. It is opened and glanced at, and thus we have consultation. It is read aloud in answer to someone, and thus we have citation, communication. Closed it is caressed with the hand or pressed to the heart, and thus we have affection. It is held in the hand during dances, songs, propaganda recitals, and thus we have symbolisation.

Moravia depicts a pattern of individual, group and crowd behaviour, in the above passage, in which the little Red Book plays a pivotal role. He stops short of calling it a holy book. But it is only a religious holy book that is caressed with the hand and pressed to the heart. The Red Guards, about 50 millions of them, mostly youth in their teens, created a havoc and disruption in the society, and all that—ironically—in a pathetic search for conformity and one-dimensional order. Moravia even finds similarity (p. 49, ibid.) with the Children’s Crusade in 1212, in which thousands of over-enthusiastic children from Germany and France set out to liberate Jerusalem from the infidels (Muslims), with most of them ending up in captivity and slavery in North Africa. The Cultural Revolution was a greater disaster on a grander scale for the whole country— anyone of any importance in China now agrees both in public and private, all recent travellers report this, Richard (1991) included. There were destruction and plunder of the Buddhist temples and monasteries in the Sichuan province, bordering Tibet but populated by a mix of Tibetan and Han Chinese of strong Buddhist persuasion. Richard (1991, p. 32) describes the Jin Ding (golden summit) temple at the height of 9700 feet as the only one

….. that had not suffered the damage that had been wrought on others lower down from the depredations of the Red Guards.

For Tibet, however, the havoc let loose by the Red Guards was unmitigated. The Chinese admit that excesses were committed. But only that far and no further. The sudden removal of Hu Yaobang from office in 1987 is attributed to his expressing regret for “misrule” in Tibet. (Ibid., p. 44) The Jokhang, the central cathedral in Lhasa, is the most important religious building of Tibetan Buddhism. The Red Guards had taken it over during the Cultural Revolution and converted it into barracks, complete with a pigsty, the source of the Han’s favourite food, pork. This was a deliberate insult by way of desecrating the religious nerve-centre of the Tibetan people. After the “excesses” of the Cultural Revolution the Jokhang again started attracting large crowds, not only of Tibetans but also a sprinkling of Han settlers in Tibet. In the whole of Tibet monasteries have been reduced from 1600 to perhaps 20, the exact figures are uncertain. The number of monks have again started to pick up, but they no longer have any control over secular affairs, and that has sounded the death knell for the Tibetan language and its alphabetical system of writing, brought over by Buddhist monks from India. As is the wont of the Abrahamic faiths (see Ghosh 1994, 1997, 1999) here again is an attack on language and script by a crypto-religion of the same family. In all important towns of Tibet the Han form a large part of the populace, often about 50 per cent. They have scant regard for the Tibetan language. Till 1987 Tibetan had no place in any official and administrative work, that is, a period of 28 years of banishment. The knowledge of Chinese is essential for progress in this far from classless society. In 1987 Tibetan was once again declared to be the official language. Richard found only one Tibetan University and no educational infrastructure other than Chinese language schools. This means that the Tibetans either learn Chinese characters or remain illiterate, the monasteries being shut off from their traditional role of spreading education. Declaring Tibetan to be the official language is largely cosmetic. We recall that the Christian conquerors of South America destroyed the Inca language and writing system. The Muslim conquerors of Persia could not finish the language but did away with the pre-Islamic books, script and writing system. The Communist conquerors of Tibet attempted a similar feat but now have backed off. A few years ago I thought that the Tibetan language has a 50 per cent chance of survival. Now it seems that Chinese communism is entering a more fanatical phase and Tibetan language would die a slow un-noticed unsung death in the long run, unless there is a political change.

China’s India Policy

WHAT does all this have to do with China’s foreign policy, particularly vis-a-vis India ? The answer is: a great deal. Before the Cultural Revolution, China had made a reasonable offer for border settlement which India, still smarting from the military defeat of 1962, unwisely declined. During the Cultural Revolution no negotiations took place. The excesses of the Revolution stopped at the end of the 1970s. But the feeling among China’s Communist elite that Buddhism is a competitor faith persisted well into the 1980s. (In fact it is still around.) That is when India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi offered to settle along the previous formula of the 1960s suggested by the Chinese themselves. This time round it was rejected out of hand. China rescinded her earlier implicit recognition of the McMahon line and made claims on Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. I suspect this volte-face took place because China’s Communists regard India as the source-spring of the rival faith, Buddhism. Additionally, of course, India keeps harbouring the Tibetan Government-in-exile of Dalai Lama, even if on humanitarian grounds. The hostile posture to India is really for China’s domestic consumption, to maintain a propaganda line against resurgent Buddhism, to create an atmosphere in which pilgrim travel to the Buddhist shrines in India can be discouraged. In the first flush of proselytising communism in the 1950s, China had joined hands with all manners of tribal separatists in India’s North-East, supplied them arms and other wherewithal, instigated Maoists of the CPI-ML to join hands with the separatists. In the post-Cultural Revolution phase, fear of revival of Buddhism in China and the presence of the Dalai Lama in India drove China into a Pakistani embrace.

Partial Recovery

RICHARD (1991, p. 52) mentions a few saving graces—Zhou En Lai, the then Prime Minister of China, intervened directly to stop the destruction of Potala, Dalai Lama’s residential palace in Lhasa, a unique piece of architecture. I am sure there were others like Zhou who exerted quiet behind-the-scene influence to save many an art form. The Ramoche, Lhasa’s second temple, which traditionally housed the deity of Shakyamuni Buddha, was gutted and looted during the Cultural Revolution and its deity was supposed to have been destroyed. Recently half of the statue was found in a rubbish pit in Lhasa; the other half was saved from being melted for scrap metal in a foundry in Beijing. The two halves have been united and re-installed in a restored Ramoche. (Ibid., p. 53) Has there ever been a luckier survival of an idol ? Richard found on the roof of the Ramoche a pile of metal-backed portraits of “the great helmsman” Mao, crumpled and thrown in a heap. This is at once the proof that they had once been installed and now the society is showing signs of recovery with quiet over-the-roof de-Maoisation, so to speak. It is significant that Richard was travelling through Tibet in 1986-87 much after the fury of the Cultural Revolution had abated in 1976. He was one of the rare foreign travellers who spoke fluent Chinese, having read the language and literature for two years in Cambridge, and brings a superior insight into a society insulated not only by a cultural barrier but an archaic (pictorial and derivative thereof) writing system.

Most of the leaders of the 1980s and 1990s, including Deng Xiaoping, were of the opinion that the Cultural Revolution had been a monumental mistake. Since then Buddhism had been reviving gradually all over China. The older generation of die-hard Communists were no more. With the “socialist market economy” and a general opening up, the society had entered a more liberal phase. Iconoclasm inherited from the Abrahamic faiths of Europe was wearing off. Uniting of the two halves of the Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the Ramoche and its reinstallation marked the beginning of a new age. For the first time in 50 years Prime Minister Li Peng, visiting India in 2001, spoke of Hyuen Tsang and Fahien, two Buddhist monk travellers famous for their accounts of medieval India. Li Peng’s visit and statements promised a long term change in China’s attitude toward Buddhism and India. That promise has been belied. At best it was a very transient thaw. With the ascendance of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, China has taken much tougher repressive measures against the Falun Gong Buddhist sect in mainland China and Lama-Buddhism in Tibet. China’s foreign policy has become more hostile toward India and her claim for Arunachal Pradesh more strident. Military incursions and skirmishes along our North-Eastern border have become more frequent.

Conclusion

CHINA’S internal developments determine her foreign policy to a great extent. Her behaviour toward India in the last 50 years can be best understood if we take communism there to have descended from the Abrahamic faiths of Europe. It displays a sense of insecurity and rivalry vis-à-vis Buddhism. Its institutional structure resembles older Abrahamic faiths. It is a Godless religion that has resulted in a Prophet-like status for a few leaders such as Marx, Lenin and Mao Zadong. The preserved dead bodies of the last two were entombed and worshipped in the same fashion as Christian and Muslim saints after death. But communism’s longevity as a faith is brief. As in Eastern Europe, communism as a totalitarian faith has started to crumble in China. China’s Cultural Revolution is a manifestation of Communism’s civilisation-destroying property, similar to Christianity’s and also Islam’s. This is what I firmly believe in, although I am aware of other interpretations put forward by Western scholars. Those traits of communism that led to the Cultural Revolution have not disappeared. They had remained subdued for nearly 20 years starting from the early 1980s, and seem to be re-asserting themselves.

The recent disturbances in Tibet have opened a new window of opportunity for Indian policy. India should shift away from the position that Tibet is an integral part of China. This 50-year-old stand is a Nehruvian blunder and has not brought us any benefit. We should remember that in spite of this stand China has made Pakistan nuclear-armed and been following a policy of systematic encirclement by opening naval bases in Myanmar. Now Maoists have become a dominant force in the Government of Nepal and they have started leaning towards China. India should make a more nuanced declaration around what is given below:

Traditionally the Chinese emperor had only suzerainty over Tibet. In recent times the government in Beijing has converted that suzerainty into sovereignty. India supports a return to suzerainty, end of sovereignty, and consistent with that, a far greater autonomy for Tibet, as is being demanded by the Dalai Lama.

If the present United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre is reluctant to do so, at least the present Opposition in Parliament should signal a change of stance. The UPA Government seems to think that by appeasing China it can get China to support India’s claim for a permanent seat in UN Security Council. With all the force at my command I like to say that would never happen, no matter how much China is pleased. It is time to give up a fruitless chicken-hearted policy toward China.

FOOTNOTE

1. Jesuits are a Catholic order under the Pope. They committed many atrocities against the Jews in Spain and Hindus in Goa. Saint Xavier was a leading light of this order in Goa. A Jesuit priest instigated Pizzarro, the Spanish conquistador of South America, to commit atrocities, which Pizzarro regretted later. The Spanish exterminated the cultural symbols of the Incas and destroyed their civilisation. The theme of destruction of cultural symbols is central to this article.

REFERENCES

Chakravartty, Nikhil (1990), “CPI-M in West Bengal : A Moment of Truth”, Mainstream, New Delhi, August 25.
- Ghosh, Kunal (1994), “Sectarian Nationalism Syndrome: A Threat to India’s Unity”, Mainstream, New Delhi, July 30, pp. 11-18.
- Ghosh, Kunal (1997), “Sectarian Nationalism, Lenin, Bauer and Indian Polity”, Mainstream, New Delhi, January 18, pp. 17–26.
- Ghosh, Kunal (1999), “Religion, Linguistics and Separatism in North-East India”, Mainstream, New Delhi, September 25, pp. 21-25.
- Fitzherbert, George(2001), “Icon Smashing—The Precedents”, BBC Webpage, March 10.
- Link, 1961, Annual Number, August 15.
- Moravia, Alberto (1969), The Red Book and The Great Wall : An Impression of Mao’s China, Translated from the Italian by Ronald Strom, Panther Books Limited, St. Albans, England, reprinted in 1973.
- Sarkar, Sushobhan (1979), “On Joseph Stalin’s Centenary”, first published in Baromash, a Bengali monthly, Saradiya number. English translation published in Mainstream, Independence Day Special, August 19, 2000, New Delhi.
- Richard, Rod (1991), Calling from Kashgar—A Journey through Tibet, Penguin Books, first published in 1990.

Dr Kunal Ghosh is a Professor, Aerospace Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

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