ISSN: (Online) 2321 -4155
ISSN: (Print) 2320 -7000

JOURNAL OF INDIAN RESEARCH
VOLUME : 2, ISSUE : 1, April-June, 2014 (ISSN No. : 2321-4155)
 
ENCOUNTER AND ENGAGEMENT: VIGNETTES OF THE TRANS-HIMALAYAN REGION
Suchandana Chatterjee
 
ABSTRACT
This paper explores Russian and non-Russian trajectories within the Eurasian space and the ways in which those narratives can be situated within the broad perspective of transnational Buddhism. Growing interest in the resurgence of Buddhism in the post-Soviet period points to a Tibetan engagement revolving round the ideal of Buddhist enlightenment that connected people and spaces of Asiatic Russia and South Asia. The discussion is about diverse pathways of reform in colonial societies in the early decades of the 20th century as well as the multiple trans-Himalayan connections and experiences of Indian scholar travellers (like Mahapandita Rahul Sankrityayana) and surveyors in service of the East India Company (like Sarat Chandra Das). The attempt here is to focus on the experiences of these travelling minds, pointing to the orientalist networks between the Buddhological school of St. Petersburg and a diffused group of non-Russian orientalists on the India-Nepal border. The Tibetan journeys and Tibetan missions in which both South Asian and Russian orientalists participated reflect a series of regional processes that unfolded at the turn of the century. Such accounts point to the fascinating aspects of transnational Buddhism which impacted on the minds of visitors coming from various backgrounds. Such textual analysis also opens up a broad discursive space about interactive moments in regional histories of South Asia and Central Asia.
 
KEYWORD
Agvan Dorjiev, Nepali-Tibetan borderland, Nicholas Roerich, Rahula Sankrityayana, Sarat Chandra Das, Shambhala, Trans-Himalayan space, Younghusband expedition.
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