Tsarong

Last updated

"He had very definite opinions about everything connected with Tibet based on a thorough consideration. On the other hand, he was able to learn quite a bit from us about the modern world ... he has thought about many things for himself, often correctly. He had risen from the lowest social class and had never been to school. He had gained his high position through skill and courage at the time of the flight of the thirteenth Dalai Lama from the Chinese in 1911. He was then director of the so-called Drapchi office, which was responsible for technical work and for production of banknotes and coins. His salary was very small, because officials were expected to earn their own income through private trading." [4]

International diplomacy and ideologies of modernization (1914–1932)

Tsarong (front left) pictured with other Tibetan officials and the German expedition to Tibet in 1938 Bundesarchiv Bild 135-KA-10-084, Tibetexpedition, Gruppenbild mit Ministern.jpg
Tsarong (front left) pictured with other Tibetan officials and the German expedition to Tibet in 1938

In September 1915 Tsarong visited Sikkim on diplomatic purposes and visited India again on a pilgrimage in 1924. Following the declaration of Tibetan Independence and victory, Tsarong became a leading figure in Tibet in the 1910s and the decades that followed, and was entrusted with a significant amount of responsibility for the running of Tibet. His status was something unique in Tibet, growing to possess military, political and economic power. In conjunction he was not only the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, but became Senior Cabinet Minister and later Head of the Tibetan Mint and Armoury after 1933.

Tsarong gained practical and theoretical experiences by visiting neighboring countries and educating himself about their national policies and strategies. He learned that for a state to be successful, there must be not only a great value placed on internal domestic unity and prosperity, but the country must exert a strong military presence and engage in active diplomacy with foreign nations to affect the balance of international power in favor of Tibet. This strong military force in Tsarong's ideology must also exert power over those within the country, driving out the threats from internal disunity and taking away local and class privileges in favor of a centralized military-based elite, a modern Tibetan state. However, although Tsarong was very popular with many ordinary Tibetans throughout Tibet, Tsarong's revolutionary ideas of modernization and a dramatic restructure of local aristocrats and estates made him strongly disliked by many of the aristocracy or authoritative monks in Tibet who viewed him as a serious threat to their historical privileges and order. [3]

In the 1920s the aristocrats in Tibet plotted for his downfall and utilized the opportunity to do so while he was on leave in India in 1924. On his return from India in 1925, Tsarong was deprived of his Commander-in-Chief title and was subsequently demoted out of the Kashag. Despite this he remained a powerful figure and notably had strong support from the monks of one of Tibets important monasteries, Drepung who he had aided during a fracas in 1929. [2] Tsarong would continue to make visits back and forth to Sikkim throughout the rest of life, making a memorable trip to Gangtok in 1940 in which he met with the Maharaja of Sikkim, which has been captured in photographs. [3]

Involvement in economy in Tibet (1933–1950)

Tsarong (far right) in Lhasa in 1938 Bundesarchiv Bild 135-BB-099-04, Tibetexpedition, Tibeter in Tracht.jpg
Tsarong (far right) in Lhasa in 1938
Rai Bahadur Norbhu Dhondhup, Trimon and Tsarong Norbhu Dhondhup, Trimon and Tsarong.jpg
Rai Bahadur Norbhu Dhondhup, Trimon and Tsarong

Tsarong was prominent in the economic affairs of Tibet throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Following the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933, Tsarong was appointed the Head of the Arsenal-Mint, the Grwa bZhi dNgul Khang (གྲྭ་བཞི་དངུལ་ཁང). This department had a number of functions, including to improve the quality of paper currency, stock pile arms, and to introduce electricity into Lhasa. [3] In 1947, Dzasa along with ministers Trunyichemmo Cawtang and Tsipon Shakabpa spearheaded the Tibetan Trade Mission of the mint which sought to strengthen Tibet's currency and to increase hard gold reserves against paper. [5] Dzasa was notably concerned about the weakness of the financial situation and Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa recounted the economic situation in Tibet and Dzasa's aims at this time;

"In 1947 there was little of either grain reserves or gold. Tsarong was worried about this situation since we continued to print new paper currency. He always used to say that the paper money had to have some hard backing; that a currency note means that the government guarantees the value of the note in gold or some other commodity. He also used to talk about a foreign country where all the people suddenly came and asked to change paper money into silver and gold and the government had nothing, so the finance minister had to commit suicide." [5]

Tsarong Dasang Dadul
ཚ་རོང་ཟླ་བཟང་དགྲ་འདུལ་
Bundesarchiv Bild 135-BB-099-02, Tibetexpedition, Tsarong Dzasa.jpg
Tsarong in 1938
Kalön of Tibet
In office
1914–1929
ServingwithKhemey Rinchen Wangyal (until 1921), Trimön Norbu Wangyal (until 1934), Ngabo (since 1921), and Lobsang Tenyong (since 1925)
Potala palace24.jpg Norbulinka. 1993.jpg
Potala Palace, Lhasa Norbulingka, Lhasa

During this period Tsarong was also an active figure in civil engineering works and buildings in Tibet. [2] In 1937 for instance he supervised the construction a steel bridge over the Trisum River, about eight miles from Lhasa, on the main trade route from Lhasa to India and western Tibet. Immediately after its completion, Tsarong began planning a more ambitious structure across the Kyichu, the Kyichu Bridge which was to be located east of Lhasa. The project was given the seal of approval from the Tibetan government and Tsarong had organised the purchase of steel girders from Calcutta to be used to construct it. However, growing concerns over the Chinese meant the project had to be abandoned. Later after the Chinese successfully annexed Tibet, they would finance a notable bridge at Perong, close to the original site. [3]

Relations with People's Republic of China in Tibet (1950–1959)

Tsarong and Tibetan monks captured by the People's Liberation Army in March 1959 in an image taken from a Chinese propaganda film. Tsarong would soon die in a prison before his scheduled "struggle session". Tsarong in captivity.jpg
Tsarong and Tibetan monks captured by the People's Liberation Army in March 1959 in an image taken from a Chinese propaganda film. Tsarong would soon die in a prison before his scheduled "struggle session".

In the late 1940s and 1950s the threat from the Chinese grew increasingly ominous. In 1959 a revolt broke out in Lhasa against the Chinese government. Tsarong had been appointed to use his diplomatic skills to head a delegation to negotiate with the Chinese authorities in Lhasa but before negotiations could be finalized, Lhasa came under fire with bombing of the Potala and Norbulingka palaces. Several hundred Tibetans died in the attack (with approximately 87,000 dying in genocidal reprisals after the uprising's failure) and Tsarong and a number of other important officials were captured during the battle, or others died. Shortly after his arrest, on 14 May 1959, Tsarong died in a Chinese military prison in Lhasa. [3]

Personal life

Tsarong Dzasa (right) Bundesarchiv Bild 135-S-13-07-07, Tibetexpedition, Besuch von Regierungsvertretern.jpg
Tsarong Dzasa (right)

Tsarong was said to be able to speak Russian, Hindustani and Mongolian. He was described by the British as "the most powerful friend of His Majesty's Government in Tibet" and being "very friendly to British officials". He was described as "wealthy, with great energy, sound sense and was progressively minded". [2] Tsarong married the three daughters of the original Tsarong, and the children of the eldest sister Pema Dolkar Tsarong, son – Dundul Namgyal Tsarong (George Tsarong) married Yangchen Dolkar from the Ragasha family – issue 5 children. Daughter Kunsang Lhaki (Kate Tsarong) married Shata Ganden Paljor – issue 3 daughters. Married second sister Rinchen Dolma Tsarong, (she later married Sikkim Prince Jigme Taring) issue 1 daughter. Married third Tsarong sister (widow of Horkhang Dzasa) issue 2 children, Tsering Yangzom (aka Tessla) married Jigme Palden Dorji of Bhutan, and Deki Dolma Tsarong, married Yapshi Phuenkhang third son. Dechula Tsarong, no issue. Tsarong also married into the Kapshopa family – issue 3 sons, 1 daughter Daisy Tsarong. Nancy Tsarong married into Sholkhang family, issue 3 sons.

Notes

    • Tibetan: ཚ་རོང་ཟླ་བཟང་དགྲ་འདུལ་, Wylie: tsha-rong zla-bzang dgra-'dul
    • Chinese :擦絨·達桑佔堆; pinyin :Cāróng Dásāng Zhānduī

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dalai Lama</span> Tibetan Buddhist spiritual head

Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest and most dominant of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and incumbent Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who lives in exile as a refugee in India. The Dalai Lama is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

The flag of Tibet, also known as the "Snow Lion flag", depicts a white snow-covered mountain, a yellow sun with red and blue rays emanating from it, two Tibetan snow lions, a multi-coloured jewel representing Buddhist values, a taijitu and a yellow border around three of its four sides. The flag was used as the national flag of the independent country of Tibet from 1916 until 1951, when Tibet was annexed by the People's Republic of China. It was adopted by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1916 and used in Tibet until the Tibetan uprising of 1959, after which the flag was outlawed in the People's Republic of China. While the Tibetan flag is illegal in Tibet today as it is governed by the PRC as the Tibet Autonomous Region, it continues to be used by the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamshala in India, and by pro-Tibet groups all over the world to show support for human rights in Tibet and Tibetan independence.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">13th Dalai Lama</span> Spiritual leader of Tibet from 1879 to 1933

Ngawang Lobsang Thupten Gyatso Jigdral Chokley Namgyal, abbreviated to Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet, enthroned during a turbulent era and the collapse of the Qing Dynasty. Referred to as "the Great Thirteenth", he is also known for redeclaring Tibet's national independence, and for his reform and modernization initiatives.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ü-Tsang</span> Traditional region of Tibet

Ü-Tsang is one of the three Tibetan regions, the others being Amdo in the north-east, and Kham in the east. The region of Ngari in the north-west was incorporated into Ü-Tsang after the Tibet–Ladakh–Mughal War. Geographically Ü-Tsang covered the south-central part of the Tibetan cultural area, including the Brahmaputra River watershed. The western districts surrounding and extending past Mount Kailash are included in Ngari, and much of the vast Changtang plateau to the north. The Himalayas defined Ü-Tsang's southern border. The present Tibet Autonomous Region corresponds approximately to Ü-Tsang and the western part of Kham.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Norbulingka</span> Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

Norbulingka is a palace and surrounding park in Lhasa, Tibet, built from 1755. It served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until the 14th Dalai Lama's exile in 1959. Part of the "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace", Norbulingka is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was added as an extension of this Historic Ensemble in 2001. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both as administrative centre and religious centre. It is a unique representation of Tibetan palace architecture.

<i>Seven Years in Tibet</i> (1997 film) 1997 film

Seven Years in Tibet is a 1997 American biographical war drama film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. It is based on Austrian mountaineer and Schutzstaffel (SS) sergeant Heinrich Harrer's 1952 memoir of the same name, about his experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951. Seven Years in Tibet stars Brad Pitt and David Thewlis, and has music composed by John Williams with a feature performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa</span> Tibetan politician

Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa was a Tibetan nobleman, scholar, statesman and former Finance Minister of the government of Tibet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kashag</span> Governing council of Tibet from 1721 to 1959

The Kashag was the governing council of Tibet during the rule of the Qing dynasty and post-Qing period until the 1950s. It was created in 1721, and set by Qianlong Emperor in 1751 for the Ganden Phodrang in the 13-Article Ordinance for the More Effective Governing of Tibet. In that year the Tibetan government was reorganized after the riots in Lhasa of the previous year. The civil administration was represented by the Council (Kashag) after the post of Desi was abolished by the Qing imperial court. The Qing imperial court wanted the 7th Dalai Lama to hold both religious and administrative rule, while strengthening the position of the High Commissioners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibet (1912–1951)</span> Former country in East Asia

Tibet was a country in East Asia that lasted from the collapse of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty in 1912 until its annexation by the People's Republic of China in 1951.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chushul Chakzam</span> Historic bridge and river crossing near Lhasa, Tibet

The Chushul Chakzam, or simply Chakzam which literally means "iron bridge" in Standard Tibetan, was a suspension bridge that spanned the Yarlung Tsangpo river in modern-day Qüxü County near Lhasa, Tibet. It was built in 1430 by Thang Tong Gyalpo. The southern bridgehead was built on the mountain Chowuri, which is sacred in Tibetan Buddhism. This mountain was a site where Guru Rinpoche and Trisong Detsen had meditated during the 8th Century. When it was built, its main section was the longest unsupported span in the world, with a central span estimated at around 150 yards.

Bhutan House is an estate located in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India, owned by the Dorji family of Bhutan. The site is the traditional administrative Dzong for southern Bhutan, and also functioned as the administrative center for the whole of western Bhutan during the modern kingdom's early years of consolidation. It represented the relationship between Bhutan and British India, and is a modern symbol of Bhutan–India relations.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ugyen Dorji</span> 1st Chief Minister of Bhutan

Ugyen Dorji was a member of the elite Dorji family and an influential Bhutanese politician. He served as the closest adviser to Ugyen Wangchuck, the Penlop of Trongsa and later King of Bhutan. Ugyen Dorji was instrumental in fostering friendly relations with the British after the Bhutan War (1864–1865), and providing support to the British expedition to Tibet in 1904. Operating from Bhutan House in Kalimpong, India, Ugyen Dorji used his position to open Bhutan to the outside world, establish Bhutan's foreign relations, and operate a lucrative trading outlet.

The Lhasa riot of 1750 or Lhasa uprising of 1750 took place in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, and lasted several days during the period of the Qing dynasty's patronage in Tibet. The uprising began on 11 November 1750 after the expected new regent of Tibet, Gyurme Namgyal, was assassinated by two Qing Manchu diplomats, or ambans. As a result, both ambans were murdered, and 51 Qing soldiers and 77 Chinese citizens were killed in the uprising. A year later the leader of the rebellion, Lobsang Trashi, and fourteen other rebels were executed by Qing officials.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibetan Army</span> Armed forces of Tibet from 1913 to 1959

The Tibetan Army was the armed forces of Tibet from 1913 to 1959. It was established by the 13th Dalai Lama shortly after he proclaimed the independence of Tibet in 1912, and was modernised with the assistance of British training and equipment. It was dissolved by the Chinese government following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising.

Gyatsho Tshering, also spelled Gyatso Tsering, was Tibetan scholar of Indian nationality. He was the former director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ganden Phodrang</span> Form of Tibetan government

The Ganden Phodrang or Ganden Podrang was the Tibetan system of government established by the 5th Dalai Lama in 1642, after the Oirat lord Güshi Khan who founded the Khoshut Khanate conferred all temporal power on the 5th Dalai Lama in a ceremony in Shigatse in the same year. Lhasa again became the capital of Tibet, and the Ganden Phodrang operated until the 1950s. The Ganden Phodrang accepted China's Qing emperors as overlords after the 1720 expedition, and the Qing became increasingly active in governing Tibet starting in the early 18th century. After the fall of the Qing empire in 1912, the Ganden Phodrang government lasted until the 1950s, when Tibet was annexed by the People's Republic of China. During most of the time from the early Qing period until the end of Ganden Phodrang rule, a governing council known as the Kashag operated as the highest authority in the Ganden Phodrang administration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibet under Qing rule</span> Tibetan history from 1720 to 1912

Tibet under Qing rule refers to the Qing dynasty's rule over Tibet from 1720 to 1912. The Qing rulers incorporated Tibet into the empire along with other Inner Asia territories, although the actual extent of the Qing dynasty's control over Tibet during this period has been the subject of political debate. The Qing called Tibet a fanbu, fanbang or fanshu, which has usually been translated as "vassal", "vassal state", or "borderlands", along with areas like Xinjiang and Mongolia. Like the preceding Yuan dynasty, the Manchus of the Qing dynasty exerted military and administrative control over Tibet, while granting it a degree of political autonomy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lobsang Dolma Khangkar</span> Tibetan physician

Lobsang Dolma Khangkar also called Lobsang Dolma or Ama Lobsang Dolma was a 13th generation doctor of traditional Tibetan medicine. She travelled with the Dalai Lama in 1959 from Tibet to India. She was the First woman to become chief physician of the Men-Tsee-Khang. She and the others carried her daughters on their backs into what is now Dharamsala, India: Tsewang Dolkar Khangkar and Pasang Gyalmo Khangkar, succeeded her in the family line of doctors, the Khangkar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shangri Lhagyal</span> Tibetan resistance fighter

Chamdowa Tsawabomei Shangri Lhagyal (1921–1984) was a Tibetan resistance fighter against Chinese occupying forces in 1958–59. He was one of the commanders of the Chushi Gangdruk guerrillas, and fled to India in April 1959 shortly after the arrival there of the 14th Dalai Lama.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Namgyal Lhamo Taklha</span>

Namgyal Lhamo Taklha is a member of the Tibetan community living in exile. Between 1988 and 1994 she was elected to the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration and held the post of Health Secretary in the Central Tibetan Administration Cabinet based in India.

References

Citations

  1. Taklha, Namgyal Lhamo (2001). Born in Lhasa . Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion. pp.  10. ISBN   1-55939-102-2.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Tsarong Dzasa". The Tibet Album, British Photography in Central Tibet (1920–1950), Oxford University . Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Profile: Important People in Tibetan History:Dasang Dadul Tsarong" (PDF). The Tibet Museum. 2006. Retrieved February 3, 2009.
  4. Aufschnaiter, Peter; Brauen, Martin (2002). Peter Aufschaiter's Eight Years in Tibet. Bangkok: Orchid Press. p. 71. ISBN   9789745240124. OCLC   917234693.
  5. 1 2 Goldstein, Melvyn C.; Rinpoche, Gelek (18 June 1991). A History of Modern Tibet, 1913–1951. University of California Press. p. 570. ISBN   9780520911765 . Retrieved February 3, 2009.

Sources

  • Spence, Heather: “Tsarong II, The Hero of Chaksam, and the Modernisation Struggle in Tibet 1912–1931.” Tibet Journal, vol. 16, no. 1, Dharamsala, spring 1991, p. 34–57.
  • Taring, Rinchen Dolma: Daughter of Tibet. Reprint, Allied Publishers, New Delhi, 1978.
  • Tsarong, Dundul Namgyal: In the Service of his Country. The Biography of Dasang Damdul Tsarong. Commander General of Tibet. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York, 2000.