Claude Arpi’s book and Abdul Wahid Radhu’s work share a common thread — both are accounts of the last days of Tibet. While Arpi digs into the archives of the government of India to reconstruct the period, Radhu has witnessed the end of an era.
Arpi’s narrative reveals newly-independent India grappling with a deep diplomatic dilemma. Three years after India gained independence, Tibet lost hers. Indian policy-makers were divided into two camps on how to tackle the situation. The idealists, dominated by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s charismatic first prime minister, felt that accepting the fait accompli of Chinese occupation of Tibet was a small price to pay for a resurgent and united Asia after centuries of Western colonialism. The realists, led by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s deputy prime minister, argued that communist China was not working towards a resurgent, united Asia but towards an Asia dominated by a new China. Beijing’s invasion and occupation of Tibet was the first step towards fulfilling its expansionist goal.[source]