Rediscovering Bhutan

M.N. Gulati, Manas Pub, 2003, 415 p, photographs, ISBN : 8170491568, $44.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Rediscovering Bhutan/M.N. Gulati

Contents: Preface. Glossary. 1. Geo-physical background. 2. Ancient-medieval Bhutan. 3. Anglo-Bhutan relations. 4. Druk dynasty. 5. Nepalese immigration. 6. Indo-Bhutan relations: post-1947. 7. Infrastructural development. 8. Bhutan in crisis. 9. The new age. Appendices: 1. Construction of Infrastructural works in Bhutan by border roads organisation of India (project DANTAK). 2. Panchen Lama’s first letter to Warren Hastings. 3. Article of the treaty of peace between the honourable East India Company and the Deb Raja of Bhutan, 1774. 4. Proclamation regarding the annexation of Bengal Duars (12 November, 1864). 5. The treaty of Sinchula, 1865. 6. The treaty of Punakha, 1910. 7. Oath of allegiance signed at Punakha at the installation of Sir Ugyen Wangchuk as King of Bhutan, 17 December, 1907. 8. Indo-Bhutan treaty of 1949. Bibliography. Index.

"It is unbelievable but true that in ancient times Bhutan was a Hindu ‘kingdom’. And like most Hindus of that period, the inhabitants of ‘Bhotanta’ were also worshippers of Shiva. Hindus worshipped God Shiva. So did the Bhutias. Both referred to him as Bhutapati or Bhutesa. Indian chiefs of Kamarupa, the then Ahom Kingdom (now Assam) ruled the region till about the middle of the seventh century A.D. After the death of King Bhaskaravarman (605-650 A.D.), anarchy and instability prevailed in the region leading to large-scale immigration from the neighbouring Tibet. These immigrants found the environment of the countryside much more comfortable than their original home land that they decided not to return home. At the request of these immigrants, Tibetan King Tritsun Desten commonly known as Ralpachen (816-836 A.D.) sent a contingent of Tibetan troops under Lama Dugpani Sheptoon who invaded the Hindu ‘kingdom’ during the ninth century A.D., drove out the Indians and occupied the land. A series of large-scale migrations over a period of time thus brought about four different cultural-ethnic groups, which in turn led to uneven distribution of population and numerous semi-autonomous principalities.

This book is the story of those times, subsequent spread of Tibetan culture and ‘red hats’ sect of Mahayana Buddhism, the palace intrigues and romance, internecine warfare amongst the contending chiefs, raids into plains of British-India, kidnappings for slave-labour, assassinations, British intervention and Panchen Lama’s intercession with the British on behalf of the Bhutanese—and finally the success of British diplomatic coupe resulting in installation of a Maharaja whose successors broke the barriers of isolationism, brought Bhutan in the international comity of nations. The Maharaja became his majesty the King of Bhutan, which came under the sphere of influence of the British, and subsequently the Republic of India. A series of Five-Year Plans on the Indian pattern with Indian financial and technical aid has transformed Bhutan into a modern country within a span of less than half a century. Highlighting all these details and inclusion of numerous illustrations, has made the book a complete informative and reference tool on Bhutan." (jacket)

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