Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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For all the Gold in Tibet – part 2

Picture 11

The Panchan Lama had decided to break all historic precedent by appointing a Foreign Devil to the Upper (smaller) House of the Tibetan National Assembly.
The Incarnation, it seemed, had ordered his cabinet ministers to seek a foreigner to serve as technical adviser. Such a foreigner, the man-god specified, must know flying and airplanes, he must be an American, and he must know something of Tibet, if possible.
Why an American? Because His Serenity was mindful of the Tibetan proverb, epitome of Asia’s bitter experience: wherever a white man goes, an army follows. The Panchan Lama felt that this would not be true of an American.

So… who was Gordon B. Enders? Continue reading


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For all the Gold in Tibet – part 1

Let’s leave on a tangent, for a while. A couple of posts, no more.

As we mentioned in the last post of the Challenge, in his plan to make Tibet a technological power, the 9th Panchen Lama had found an ally in an American called Gordon B. Enders.
Enders was to supply the Panchen Lama with plane-loads of modern gear – from radios to tractors – and to start up the industrial revolution in the Himalayas.
But what about footing the bill?
How would all those tonnes of stuff get paid?

“Unknown to most of the world, the monasteries of Tibet have been collecting gold dust for at least six or seven centuries. This gold belongs to the ruling power because the Church and the Government are the same in Tibet. How much gold has thus been accumulated, it is hard to say, but it has been estimated to be about $100,000,000.”
(Gordon B. Enders, interviewed in New York, 1936)

22372ik4vrmk9f_orig_GOLD DUST

But the story of Tibetan gold is much older tha the 9th Panchen Lama and Gordon B. Enders… Continue reading