FRIENDS of Tibet Foundation, a Charitable Trust (Regn No: 126/IV/2021) is the philanthropic wing of Friends of Tibet, a non-profit organisation founded in 1999. The primary objective of the Foundation is to support the conservation and promotion of Tibet's tangible and intangible heritage including healing traditions. Friends of Tibet Foundation is also engaged in conducting research on the unique heritage, legacy and history of Tibet and publishing varied research papers with the collaboration of scholars, academicians, scientists, holistic health educationists and sociologists.
Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa Passport (1947)
THE historic 'Shakabpa Passport' was issued by the then Government of Independent Tibet in 1947 to the Finance Secretary Tsepong Wangchuk Dedhen Shakabpa who was leading a trade delegation to China, the United States and Britain. On this passport, visa and transit visa were issued by countries like the United States, Britain, India, France, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. However, this document got lost from the Tibetan community in 1992 and there were rumours that it had been sold to antique dealers and reached into the hands of Chinese government officials. After 13 years of mystery and search, Friends of Tibet located the historic passport with an antique dealer in Nepal, and later bought it for an undisclosed amount and was later presented to HH the XIV Dalai Lama in 2004. Today this document remains to stand as an important proof of independent status of Tibet legally recognised by other countries before China's invasion of Tibet in 1949.
The historic Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa Passport of 1947
A Brief History of the 1947 Tsepon WD Shakabpa Passport: The Tibetan government issued its own passports to travelers entering its borders or (the few) Tibetans who traveled abroad. Before WWII, the term passports covered visas and travel documents in general. The earliest record of a Tibetan passport issued to a foreign traveler is in 1688 to an Armenian merchant, Johannes. The Tibetan government gave its approval for the first-ever Everest expedition (1921). Charles Bell, the visiting British diplomat in Lhasa wrote "I received from the Tibetan Government a passport in official form, which granted permission for the climbing of Mount Everest." The subsequent Everest expeditions of 1922, 1924 and 1936 also received passports from the Tibetan government. Passports were sometimes issued for scientific undertakings: the Schaeffer expedition of 1939, Tucci's expedition of 1949 and the plant hunter Frank Kingdon Ward in 1924. President Roosevelt's two envoys to Tibet in 1942 were presented their passports at Yatung. The Americans Lowell Thomas Jr and Sr visited Tibet in 1949, and were issued "Tibetan Passports" at Dhomo. "When the Dalai Lama's passport was spread out before us, I could not help thinking that many Western explorers who had failed to reach Lhasa would have highly prized a document like this." The first modern Tibetan passport with personal information, photograph and space for visas and endorsements was issued in 1948 to members of the Tibetan trade mission. It was modeled on the international one-page fold-out model of 1915. Britain, USA and seven other countries issued visas and transit visas for this document. ◼
Friends of Tibet Foundation Photography Collection
Prabuddha Dasgupta (1956-2012)
THE Photography Collection of Friends of Tibet Foundation consists of original high-resolution masterpieces of well-known international photographers — Angel Lopez Soto (Spain), Angus McDonald (Australia), Ashwini Bhatia (India), Brian Harris (Canada), Diane Barker (UK), Jaqueline Meier (Switzerland), John Ackerly (USA), Giulia Francesca Johnson (USA), Lobsang Wangyal (Tibet), Kathryn Culley (USA), Manuela Metelli (Italy), Ken Damy (Italy), Nancy Jo Johnson (USA), Prabir Purkayastha (India), Prabuddha Dasgupta (India), Raghu Rai (India), Sonam Zoksang (USA), Suresh Natarajan (India), Vijay Kranti (India), Vikas Khot (India), T Wachs (USA) and William Chapman (USA).
The Friends of Tibet Foundation Photography Collection photograph of a solitary young Buddhist monk walking across a vast expanse of land in Ranbirpura in Ladakh titled 'Awakening the World' by Prabuddha Dasgupta (1956-2012), legendary photographer from India. The signed 1995 special edition photograph was gifted to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Prabuddha Dasgupta on March 12, 2000. ◼
Friends of Tibet Foundation Cartoon Collection
Rev Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile looking at the Friends of Tibet Foundation Collection of Cartoons (August 25, 2005)
ORIGINALLY developed as a travelling exhibition for Friends of Tibet, 'Indian Cartoonists on Tibet' is a selection of cartoons on the Tibet issue (1950-2005) and the tumultuous Indo-Chinese relations by renowned Indian cartoonists. The exhibition is narrated by Claude Arpi, French Tibetologist and the author of 'The Fate of Tibet'. The collection depicts 55 tumultuous years of the history of the Buddhist leader's lost state — Tibet, the Roof of the World sandwiched between two Asian giants — India and China. Tibet had the reputation of being the last Shangrila on earth. The Friends of Tibet Foundation Cartoon Collection includes work of renowned Indian cartoonists — OV Vijayan, Mario Miranda, Rajinder Puri, Priya Raj, Nanda Soobben, Prakash Shetty, Yesudasan, Abe Gowda, Kaak, Madhu Omalloor, Balu, Thommy, Ponnappa, Morparia are amongst others. ◼
Friends of Tibet Foundation Artifacts Collection
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet looking at the collection of Friends of Tibet Foundation artefacts in 2012, Sethu Das, founder of Friends of Tibet next to him.
THE Friends of Tibet Foundation Collection of Tibet Artifacts include the historic Tsepon WD Shakabpa Passport (1947) issued by the then Government of Independent Tibet to the Finance Minister Tsepong Wangchuk Dedhen Shakabpa with stamped visa and transit visa issued by the United States, Britain, India, France, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Egypt; The 1934 edition of the National Geographic with Tibet National Flag along with 76 other national flags of independent countries; the Dalai Lama�s Zenith Royal 1000-1 Wavemagnet Transistor by the Zenith Corp, Chicago, USA and used by HH the XIV Dalai Lama back in Tibet and in exile in India; true Currency and Tangka Coins from ancient Tibet — commodities that are legal proofs of a nation's sovereignty. ◼
True Currency and Tangka Coins from Ancient Tibet: Part of the XIII Dalai Lama's modernisation strategy was to produce coinage and currency notes — commodities that are legal proofs of a nation's sovereignty. Since mining was undeveloped on the plateau, silver and copper were imported from India. In 1925 two officials were sent to Calcutta from the National Mint in Yatung, Chumbi Valley, to learn the skills to produce indigenous paper currency. Then, in 1930, a new Tibetan Government department was established to merge the mint, the paper currency press, and the ammunition factory.
The 1934 edition of the National Geographic Magazine publishes 'Flags of the World' showing 77 independent countries including the Tibetan National Flag. It is assumed that The National Geographic Society obtained the Tibetan Flag from Tsarong Dasang Dadul, the Commander-in-Chief of the Tibetan Army and a member of the Geographic Society. Page number 383 of The National Geographic 1934 edition presents Tibet's National flag along with 77 flags of independent countries with a truthful description:
"Tibet: With its towering mountain of snow, before which stand two lions fighting for a flaming gem, the flag of Tibet is one of the most distinctive of the East."
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Friends of Tibet Foundation, PO Box 16674, Mumbai 400050, India.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.friendsoftibet.org/foundation
Friends of Tibet Foundation, a Charitable Trust (Regn No: 126/IV/2021) is the philanthropic wing of Friends of Tibet, a non-profit organisation founded in 1999. The primary objective of the Foundation is to support the conservation and promotion of Tibet's tangible and intangible heritage including healing traditions. Friends of Tibet Foundation is also engaged in conducting research on the unique heritage, legacy and history of Tibet and publishing varied research papers with the collaboration of scholars, academicians, scientists, holistic health educationists and sociologists.
Digital Support: Design & People, India + Ibiblio Digital Library & Archive Project, University of North Carolina, USA