Raj Kapoor and Nargis

Indian soft power needs to go beyond Bollywood and food: Swapan Dasgupta

(Swapan Dasgupta is an Indian journalist and politician. The column first appeared in the print edition of Times of India on October 2, 2021)

  • In 1893, the Baptist Mission Press, Calcutta, published ‘Indian Pandits in the Land of Snow’ by Sarat Chandra Das that incorporated lectures on facets if Tibetan society and religion based on his research and experiences of visits to Tibet and China. Apart from private visits in 1879 and 1881 at the invitation of the Grand Lama of Tashi-Ihumpo which took him to Lhasa, a rare privilege in those days, he was sent by the Government of India to Beijing in 1885 where, according to the preface of his book, “he was received with open arms by the Lamas of Yung-ho kung, the imperial monastery, who accommodated him in the Yellow temple called Hwang-ssi. They also introduced him to the Tibetan plenipotentiary and the tutor of the Emperor.” Das cultivated the acquaintance of the great ministries and chief nobles of Peking and succeeded in gaining the confidence of the Prime Minister…”

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