Who Was Who in Tibet?
During the first half of the twentieth century; the official representatives of the British-Indian Government for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet compiled comprehensive data on the society of Tibet. Following the British military expedition to Tibet in 1903-1904 under Sir Francis Younghusband, they systematically collected information on many of the important people of Lhasa and other parts of Tibet. Most of these Tibetans were government officials from aristocratic families. Between 1907 and 1950 British Political Officers collated this information and issued ten different versions of the so-called “Who’s Who in Tibet”. The first five issues (up to 1933) included both Tibetan officials and members of the leading families of Bhutan and Sikkim. Copies of “Who’s Who in Tibet” were printed in very small numbers for strictly confidential official use. They were never published and remain difficult to locate to this day.
Frank Drauschke has collected copies of all ten versions of “Who’s Who in Tibet” from different archives in India, the United Kingdom and the United States. The aim of this project was to compile data from all the different versions into a database, adding the correct Tibetan names (Tibetan script and Wylie transliteration), corresponding information and, where possible, a photograph of the person described in the entry.
On completion of this compilation (which, in total, numbered around 600 entries) the information was edited into a comprehensive volume with an English index of names, titles and places, a Tibetan index of names and essays about the sources and on the political and social structure of Tibet in the first half of the twentieth century. The biographical section includes entries from the earlier editions on officials in Sikkim and Bhutan. The book is scheduled for publshing.
Thanks to a fruitful collaboration with the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, it will be possible to enrich the book with photographs of a number of persons. Around 80 extracts from Who was who in Tibet project have been made available for inclusion on “The Tibet Album” website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, giving a glimpse of examples of the book’s content. For more information and 6,000 interesting and beautiful pictures of old Tibet, see the “The Tibet Album” website: http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/tibet_whos_who.html
Prior to publication, a special edition of the biographical part on Tibet was produced for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is limited to a number of eight volumes. The first book was presented to His Holiness by Frank Drauschke at Rhodes House, Oxford on 30th May 2008. Pictures of this event can be found on the following website: www.brighton-images.com