Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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The Fighting Ascetics of India. [1]
by J.N. Farquhar, M.A., D. Litt. (Oxon.).
Professor of Comparative Religion in the University of Manchester




MONASTICISM, the system which sets men and women apart from ordinary life, in order that they may live in celibacy and poverty, and devote their whole time and energy to the highest ends of religion, is something which we can all understand and appreciate, whatever our judgment as to the final value of the practice may be; but when we hear of members of some monastic order taking to arms and fighting, we hardly know what to make of the information. How can the life of complete self-dedication to religion square with war, terror, bloodshed and death? How can the monk have ever been to become a soldier? -- The answer is that in most cases, religious war has been the exciting cause. When people of one faith have attacked people who held another, with some sort of religious or semi-religious end in view, then monks, though dedicated to an exclusively religious life, have, in most cases, felt it was time to take up the sword in defence of their fellow-believers. When, under the early Caliphs, the armies of Islam attacked the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire, we read that, at a number of points, Christian monks went out with banners and arms to oppose them. Muslim ascetics have, however, frequently taken up the sword, even when they were not threatened by religious war, and the same seems to be true of certain groups of Indian ascetics.

The mediaeval movement in which the three great orders of monastic knighthood arose -- the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, the Knights Templars and the Teutonic Knights [2] -- was inspired by the desire to protect Christian pilgrims and invalids from Muslim violence; but thereafter the knights proceeded to play for some two centuries a great part in the political and military struggle between Europe and Islam. Similarly, in Spain, the orders of St. James of Compostella, Alcantara and Calatrava, were all founded as military religious orders to fight the Moors of Spain [3] Even to-day in those parts of the Near East where conditions are constantly disturbed, you may see the Christian monk shouldering his musket or any other weapon he can get to defend his monastery. [4]

Sufism, as Muslim Mysticism is called, sprang from the religious experience of Muhammad, on the one hand, and from Christian mysticism, [5] on the other; while early Muslim asceticism is almost entirely a reflex of the life of the Christian monk of the seventh century. Muslim mystics, whether householders or vowed ascetics, are called Sufis; [6] while ascetics are called Faqirs [7] or Dervishes, [8] faqir being Arabic, while dervish is Persian. The only word used in India for a Muslim ascetic is faqir. These ascetics are organised in orders, each dependent on an ancient historical founder and controlled by a living head. [9] Like the Christian monk of the seventh century, the faqir took to fighting in the religious wars. We hear of them in the early struggles and in most of the later wars.
[10] In most Islamic countries of the East to-day, you meet the faqir carrying a spear or heavy axe.' [11] Sheikh Said, the leader of the Kurds who have rebelled against the modern Turkish Government, is the head of one of the most famous Dervish orders, the Nakshbandis, [8] so that, doubtless, many of his fighting followers are faqirs.

It is very remarkable that, although Buddhist teaching is of a deeply quietist character, yet one great order of Buddhist monks in medieval Japan developed into a military force and played a considerable part in the politics and wars of their time. [12]


I expect most students of history know about the Christian military orders and have also heard something about the fighting prowess of Muslim faqirs; but to most of us the ascetics of India seem to stand by themselves. We think of them as the supreme penitents of the world. This side of Hinduism is usually thought to be, beyond other forms of religious life, characterised by otherworldliness, by a supreme contempt for the pleasures, comforts and shows of the world. The idea of Hindu monks becoming fighting men seems grotesquely absurd.

If you dip into the great books on the history of India, you will find scarcely a hint that such a thing ever happened; [13] most students have never heard of the facts; and even in the latest and greatest books on Hinduism, there is scarcely a reference to its monastic warriors. I should have known little or nothing about this very significant aspect of Indian history, had I not been driven to investigate the present-day organisation of certain orders of Hindu ascetics: only when I got to understand the history of the fighting did the problem become soluble.

There is a sort of faint prophecy of all this strange history found at a very early date in India. It was probably about seven hundred years before Christ, but possibly earlier, that groups of Hindu householders began the practice of giving up the life of the village and the town to devote their whole time to religion in the quiet and peace of the forest. Those who entered on this life were called Vanaprasthas, forest-dwellers, hermits, but their practice cannot be called ascetic. It was rather puritan than ascetic. Celibacy was not necessary. A man usually took his wife with him to the forest, and children were often born in the hermitages. The chief end these men had in view was to escape from the toil and bustle and worry of ordinary life, and to devote their whole attention to religious thought and practice. The hermit gave up his profession and every form of work; he did not even sow and reap. He was forbidden to enter a village or to step on ploughed land. His sole interest was religion. He therefore went to the forest and built a rude hut, and laid up in it a store of grain for food. Usually a number of huts were built near each other, and thus formed a hermitage. As there were many wild beasts in the forest in those early days, and also many wild men, the hermits crowded together for safety.

When a king or prince or courtier was driven into exile, the custom was to retire to the forest and live as a hermit until some change in the political situation should give him the chance of returning.] Thus the Ramayana tells us that when, through the scheming of one of his wives, Dasaratha, the king of Ayodhyi, was persuaded to send his son Rama into exile, Rama with his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshman, withdrew to the forest to the south of the Jumna, and there lived as hermits; and there is a episode in the life of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata. In the case of a king, prince or noble, the exile took his arms with him to the forest, and used them to keep off wild beasts and hostile men, and also to kill the deer of the forest for food; but the ordinary hermit had no arms. This then is the faint early prophecy of the great history of later days which we have to study.

In those days Hindus of the highest castes still ate flesh. But in later centuries animal sacrifice and the eating of flesh were denounced as cruel in that they led to the destruction of animal life. Hence the saving of animal life became an ideal, and a rule arose that no hermit in the forest should kill an animal: it was thought inconsistent with his religious life. This is the famous rule of ahimsa, [14] harmlessness.

When hermits had learned to practise this rule, the animals of the forest gradually realised, in the neighbourhood of a hermitage, that they were perfectly safe from attack, and became absolutely tame, completely free from fear of man. In early Indian poetry one finds many descriptions of these scenes of peace and friendship in the forest. [15] In the course of the first attempt to climb Mount Everest, when the explorers had come within a few marches of the great mountain, they found many places where beasts and birds were exceedingly tame, quite untouched by fear of man. The Buddhist monks on the mountains still practise ahimsa.


One of the greatest of all the changes that mark the history of Hinduism is the rise of the doctrine of transmigration and karma, the central idea of which is that every soul passes through innumerable lives, in each life enjoying or suffering just recompense for the deeds done in its previous life. Now all Hindus accepted this doctrine; but, while the ordinary man accepted it with equanimity, quite pleased to look forward to another life, thinking men hated the prospect and regarded it as intolerable to be unceasingly driven through the round of birth and death. Hence they began to look about for some means of escape from this dreadful fate. They sought for Release from Transmigration.

Now every form of asceticism, Hindu, Buddhist or Jain, which arose in ancient India, was meant to secure this inexpressibly precious boon; and men who were determined to achieve Release became ascetics, because it was felt that no one could escape from rebirth, unless he had completely subdued his passions and all the natural tendencies of the human personality to love life and the world and its joys. Indian asceticism has thus for its one aim the complete expulsion of love of all things worldly from the soul. How incredible then, at first sight, it is that any Indian ascetic should take to fighting! Further, every ascetic takes the vow of ahimsa, i.e. harmlessness, the vow not to destroy life in any form: how then can the Indian ascetic become a warrior?

The earliest of all the ascetic orders of India is the famous Hindu order, the sannyasis or renouncers, so named because their faith and their practice equally required that they should renounce everything worldly. The order came into being, in all probability, about 600 B.C. The belief which created the movement is that the human soul is identical with the Supreme; and the original teaching of the school is found in the early Upanishads. [16]

Rather later arose Jainism and Buddhism, each with its order of monks intent on Release.

We now leave those early days of the sixth century B.C. and come down to a time about the Christian era. In the interval the mass of the Hindu people had learned to worship the gods by means of temple and image; and in the centres of population artistic temples were being erected, each dedicated to one of the chief divinities of the Hindu pantheon.

The most noticeable result of this new worship was the rise of sects within Hinduism. Each god had his own special worshippers who preferred him to all the other gods; and, as they became organised for his worship and everything connected therewith, they became a sect.

By far the greatest of the sects of these early days were the sect which still worships Siva and the sect which still worships Vishnu. Each sect had its own group of monastic devotees.

We take the sect of Siva first. At this early date, about the Christian era, the monks of Siva practised yoga, "restraint," i.e. a series of exercises, partly mental, partly physical, meant to still the mind and to help the man to escape from the influence of the world and to understand spiritual things. Hence those ascetics who were devoted to Siva and practised yoga were called yogis, "restraint men."

The sect of Vishnu had its ascetics also. As they also sought to conquer the worldly passions of the human heart and to become spiritual men, they were called vairagis, passionless men."


We may now consider how the various groups of ascetics became transformed into fighting men.

A. We begin with the devotees of Siva, who, we have seen, were called yogis. Some of these yogis worshipped the fierce form of Siva called Bhairava, i.e. the Terrifier. In his images, he has a red skin, matted hair, four arms and three eyes, the third eye set vertically in the middle of his forehead. In one hand he carries a sword, in another a cup of liquor. He is stark naked, wearing only a garland of human skulls hanging from his neck, an emblem of the human sacrifices in which he delights. [17]

Now to imitate one's god is one of the commonest of religious impulses; so the yogis who adored Bhairava got themselves up so as to be as like the god as possible. The yogi went naked, had his hair in a great matted cone on the top of his head, carried a sword in one hand and a cup of liquor in the other, and, if possible, he also wore a garland of human skulls hanging from his neck. They frequently used a human skull as a drinking vessel. The sword was used for slaying the victims of sacrifice, whether animal or human, and also played a great part in some of their magic rites. In one of the most famous of Indian dramas, the Malati-Madhava of Bhavabhuti (c. 700 A.D.), the heroine is on the point of being slain in a temple as a sacrifice to the fierce goddess Chamunda, by a yogi, when the hero arrives, kills the yogi and saves the lady he loves. [18]

In one of the romantic histories found in Sanskrit literature, Ba~a's Harsha-charita, [19] the life-story of the emperor Harsha, we learn how these yogis became soldiers. King Pushpabhuti meets a learned yogi named Bhairavacharya, i.e. Priest of Bhairava, and becomes his friend. This ascetic scholar kills a man, and, by the might of a weird magic rite performed on the corpse, he enables the king, in a midnight encounter, to conquer and subdue to his will an unearthly spirit of great power called Srikantha. Thereafter, two yogis, disciples of Bhairavacharya, who had borne arms along with the king in the night battle and are described as "men of a warlike spirit," enter the royal bodyguard to spend the rest of their lives fighting for the king. The romance belongs to the seventh century A.D.; and we thus see that at that early date it was already customary for these yogis to hire themselves out as soldiers. Here there is no religious war to account for the transformation of the monk into a fighting man.

At later dates we find many references to yogi warriors, especially in the chronicles of Rajputana. [20] Clearly each Rajput chief was glad to gather round him a bodyguard of these men; and many a chief hired large numbers of them, so that they formed a considerable element in his army. They seem to have usually gone naked, thus keeping up their allegiance to the naked god Bhairava. While most of our references to yogi warriors in the early centuries relate to Rajputana, it is clear that in later centuries they were common in many parts of the north. [21]

Besides sword, spear, bow, and arrow, these yogis carried steel discs, which they threw with deadly effect. The discus made of thin steel was an ancient Indian weapon, and was called Chakra, i.e. wheel. They were made with a saw-edge, and each was but a narrow circlet of steel, so that the warrior could pass six or eight of them over his head and wear them like a ruff round his neck. We are told that they could throw a disc with so much force as almost to cut a man in two.

But fighting yogis did not always become the hired soldiers of a recognised king. They frequently gathered in great companies, when the country was in an unsettled condition, and went out to fight in their own interests. They would seize a piece of valuable land, settle down on it, and live by agriculture and trade; but they retained their arms and were quite ready to use them if any one tried to dispossess them. Many of them made considerable fortunes. It is hardly likely that in those circumstances their vow of celibacy was very much respected. An excellent example of this type of settlement is found in the case of a yogi king who, about 1500 A.D., had his lands in Western India and kept a considerable army of yogis. Once in three or four years some three thousand of these warriors went out on pilgrimage and laid the whole country under contribution. [22] Anquetil du Perron, the French scholar who went to India about 1760 A.D. and brought to Europe the earliest trustworthy information about the Zoroastrian religion, describes a rich yogi who lived stark naked near Surat. He had great influence and did a very large trade in precious stones; so that he kept up correspondence with every part of Asia. [22]

One of the most notable religious leaders of India about 1500 A.D. was Kabir. In his system Hinduism and Islam mingle. Nanak, who founded the religion of the Sikhs, is only one of a number of teachers who drew their inspiration from him. Kabir vigorously condemned both idolatory and caste; and he had great influence all over North India. In the Bijak, a volume of his religious verse, there is a poem which pictures the fighting yogi and his irregularities very vividly:-- [23]

1. O brother, never have I seen yogi like this: puffed up with pride he walks, caring for nothing.

2. He teaches the religion of Mahadeva (i.e. Siva) and therefore is called a Mahant.

3. In market and street he sits in the posture of a yogi; he is an imperfect Siddha (saint) a lover of Maya (the illusion of the world).

4. When did Dattatreya [24] attack his enemies? when did Sukadeva [24] lay a cannon?

5. When did Narada [24] fire a gun, or Vyasadeva [24] sound a horn?

6. They who fight are of little wisdom; shall I call such men ascetics or bandits?

But how was it possible for these irresponsible companies of ascetic warriors to wander about in this way, at their own sweet will, killing people, stealing their property and their children and committing all sort of excesses? -- One part of the reason is to be found in this, that for some centuries there was no Imperial power in North India. The country was cut up into a great number of independent kingdoms, big and little, and no one felt responsible for the general peace and welfare of the country. So long as a roving band of yogis did not attack the interests of a king or chieftain powerful enough to cut them to pieces, they were free to continue their plundering and murderous pilgrimages.

But the chief reason for the immunity from punishment which fighting ascetics enjoyed in North India for a thousand years is to be found in their religious status. Since they were initiated ascetics, recognised devotees and servants of one of the Hindu gods, they could not be tried for murder by any Hindu king. They did not come within the ambit of the law. Only the guru of the ascetic could punish him. Necessarily the ordinary Hindu was afraid to touch one of these men: there was no saying what sort of supernatural vengeance he might wreak upon him. Their consecrated position thus effectively protected them from civil process and also from popular reprisal.

B. We now turn our attention to the end of the twelfth century, when the great Muhammadan army of invaders from Western Afghanistan crossed the Indus, and within a few years conquered a very large part of North India. From 1200 A.D. the bulk of the north was ruled by a Muhammadan empire.

I had better interject at this point a yogi custom which expresses rather a noble spirit. After the conquest had taken place, one might meet in North India, bands of yogis, each with several lengths of heavy iron chain hanging from his shoulders and trailing on the ground behind him. It was a symbolical act, meant to express their overwhelming shame at the enslavement of their country by foreigners. [25]

The writer does not know whether fighting faqirs formed part of the army which invaded India or not. In any case, after the conquest, great numbers of Muslim adventurers of many types came into North India; and among them religious teachers and faqirs in great numbers. From a date not later than 1500 A.D., we have plenty of information to show that faqirs wandered about, taking part in any fighting that was to be done, and also murdering, plundering and seizing lands. Here is how Tavernier, the well-known French traveller of the seventeenth century, describes a company of them which he met:-

"The following day I had another experience, which was a meeting I had with a party of Faqirs, or Muhammadan Dervishes. I counted fifty-seven of them. . . . The only garment of the five leaders consisted of three or four ell of orange-coloured cotton cloth. . . . Each of them had also a skin of a tiger upon the shoulders which was tied under the chin. They had eight fine horses, saddled and bridled, led by hand before them, three of which had bridles of gold, and the five others had bridles of silver, and the saddles also covered with plates of silver and a leopard skin on each. The other dervishes had for their sole garment a cord, which served as a waistband, to which there was attached a small scrap of calico, to cover the parts which should be concealed. They were all well armed, the majority with bows and arrows, some with muskets, and the remainder with short pikes, and a kind of weapon which we have not got in Europe. [26] (He refers to the disc which we have already described.)

Since the government of North India was then in Muslim hands, these Muslim ascetics were shielded from popular reprisal and from civil process by their sacred character. So long as they did not assail the government, they did what they liked with impunity.

By 1500 A.D., it is evident that there were immense numbers of armed faqirs and yogis wandering about in North India, and far down the west coast. Faria [27] speaks of yogis, and also Kalandars, i.e. faqirs of the Qalandar [28] order, moving about in the Konkan in bands of 2000 or more, forcing the people to give them what they wanted; and Varthema [29] tells of a yogi king out on a raid with 3000 followers as far south as Calicut. We must take these facts as proof that hordes of ascetics warriors marched far south along the west coast on plundering expeditions; but it is important to notice that the enlisting of ascetics as soldiers never infected to any extent the monastic orders of South India. [30] The movement arose and spread and lived for centuries in the great northern area, where the Muslim government was struggling to maintain its supremacy and where in the latter half of the eighteenth century, it succumbed to the British.

C. We now turn to another group of Hindu monks. At the beginning of this article we saw how the most respected and most cultured order of ascetics, viz., the sannyasis, came into existence. By the sixteenth century they were found in large numbers in most parts of India, and they were specially numerous in the central part of North India, that section which contains the great cities, Benares, Allahabad, Agra, and Delhi.

For many centuries only Brahmans were initiated as sannyasis; and even in the case of Brahmans care was taken to accept only men of some education and some philosophic interest. They were expected to study the chief texts of the Vedanta and to spend some part of their time in thoughtful meditation. A certain percentage of them proved fine scholars and wrote philosophic works of distinction. They have always been the most illustrious Hindu ascetics. In the sixteenth century they dressed, as they do to-day, in long saffron robes, and each man carried a single bamboo rod, danda, to indicate that he belonged to the ekadandi, [31] one-rod division, of the sannyasi order. They were divided, as they are to-day, into ten sub-divisions, viz.: 1. Tirtha, 2. Asrama, 3. Sarasvati, 4. Bharati, 5. Vana, 6. Aranya, 7. Parvata, 8. Sagara, 9. Giri, 10. Puri; and each man received a name which included the name of the sub-order to which he belonged. Thus Madhusudana Sarasvati belonged to the third sub-order, the Sarasvati.

Naturally, the armed faqirs, as they roamed about, found it very good sport to kill sannyasis. A group of these Hindu scholars would go down to the Ganges to bathe in the morning, when a company of faqirs would suddenly appear and kill them all. We can readily understand the indignation of the sannyasi order and of the whole Hindu community when those highly respected men were murdered in this brutal and cowardly fashion. To the faqirs, as good Muslims, to kill those idolatrous infidels seemed to be the right thing to do; and the ordinary Muslim official would quite sympathise with them.

But Akbar was then on the Imperial throne, and he had already given his Hindu subjects a number of notable privileges. There were numerous Hindus who occupied high office in the government and in the army. Among all his courtiers the favourite seems to have been the cultured Hindu, Raja Birbal. There had been no such Muslim emperor in India before.

At that time there lived in Benares a well-known sannyasi scholar called Madhusudana Sarasvati. His books are well known to Sanskrit scholars to-day. He decided to try to persuade Akbar to do something to save sannyasis from these outrages. He therefore went to court and had an audience with the Emperor. Raja Birbal, as a trusted adviser on Hindu questions, was present at the interview. Madhusudana stated the grave danger in which sannyasis stood, since they were themselves defenceless, while there was no possibility of getting their enemies punished by law. Raja Birbal then suggested that Madhusudana should initiate large numbers of men of non-Brahman caste as sannyasis and arm them, so that they might be ready at all times to defend Brahman sannyasis from attack. The Emperor agreed to the proposal and promised that fighting sannyasis should be immune from prosecution, precisely like faqirs. I am inclined to date the interview about 1565 A.D.

The condition in which we find the sannyasis to-day shews us clearly what steps Madhusudana took to carry out the plan. He found thousands of Hindus of Kshatriya and Vaisya caste who were willing to become fighting men. These he initiated as sannyasis, so that they became full members of the order; but, since for some twelve or thirteen centuries it had been recognised as the law that only Brahmans should be initiated, their initiation was held to be irregular. The sub-orders into which they were brought are numbers 4 to 10, [32] and these sub-orders as they exist in North India have therefore been recognised as "impure" [33] ever since those days.

Readers will not find this agreement between Akbar and Madhusudana Sarasvati mentioned in any historical work. So far as I know, it has not been recorded anywhere. I picked up the information from the lips of sannyasis, who told it me to explain how large numbers of their order came to be fighting men.
But, though it has come down to us only by tradition, there can be no doubt about its truth. All sannyasis in North India hold the tradition; and we may also be certain that the Emperor who had given the Hindu an equal place with the Muslim in his-empire would at once recognise the justice of Madhusudana's appeal and would respond to it. But there is also an incident recorded in the Emperor's life, which fits so well into the tradition that I am sure every historical mind will at once acknowledge that it ought to be accepted as full corroboration of the story.

The incident is described by Abul Fazl and other historical writers. Akbar was in camp at Thaneswar, north of Delhi, early in 1567 A.D. News was brought to him that two companies of armed sannyasis, Giris and Puris, [34] who had quarrelled about the possession of the gifts in the shrine of Thaneswar, were about to have a fight. Like the keen soldier he was, he at once went to witness the encounter. When he arrived, he found that the Puris were outnumbered by the Giris, and he therefore ordered some of his own men to join the weaker side and redress the balance. The battle was fought, and the Puris were victorious. In this fight some twenty men were killed. We are told that the emperor greatly enjoyed the spectacle. [35] Since he had agreed to their organisation, in order that they might fight Muslim foes, he must have chuckled inwardly to see them turn their swords against each other.

It seems passing strange at first sight that an enlightened man like Akbar should tolerate such things in his empire instead of strengthening the law to deal vigorously with all breakers of the peace! Yet he acted in harmony with the ideas of the times. It would not seem strange to sixteenth-century India that the Emperor should stand by and see a fight in which twenty men were done to death. It did not shock India of the sixteenth century, any more than duelling shocked England in the eighteenth century.

We thus conclude that, about 1565, large numbers of non-Brahmans [36] were initiated as sannyasis and armed to fight Muslim faqirs. From this time onward for two and a half centuries we have abundance of information about their activity. There were immense numbers of fighting sannyasis. They went naked, like other fighting ascetics. [37]

Like yogis, these fighting sannyasis were called Gosains (Sanskrit Gosvami) and also Nagas, to distinguish them from the real sannyasis, who were still busy with philosophy.

No doubt these men soon gave a good account of themselves as soldiers. Evidence of their fine fighting qualities will be given towards the end of this paper. But within a few decades, like the faqirs and the yogis, large numbers of them took to fighting on their own account and to a domestic life and trade, on lands which they had seized.

Tukaram, a famous Maratha poet, who flourished about 1640 A.D., follows Kabir in expressing a very healthy scorn for some of these men:--

Brother, we have become a Gosain and abandoned everything:
Patel -- build us here a chapel; bring bhang and tobacco in plenty;
Provide daily food for me, and send a sister to serve me.
Tuka said that such devotion resembled a mask worn at the Holi.

--Holi, India's EPIC Color Festival - Vrindivan, India

D. We have thus far learned how the yogis and the sannyasis became fighting men. We now turn to the devotees of Vishnu, who are called vairagis, passionless men, in the vernacular bairagis. Probably shortly after the time when Madhusudana organised great numbers of fighting sannyasis, the movement spread to bairagis. [39] I think we may with safety conclude that by 1600 A.D. many of these had become armed also. The movement probably began with the Ramanandi sect, which by this date was already very large; but Vishnusvamis, [40] Nimbarkas and Vallabhacharyas [41] also took to fighting. These bhairagi warriors soon became very numerous, almost as numerous as the armed sannyasis.

E. We have already heard of Kabir, the man who opposed idolatry and caste and mingled Hindu and Muslim ideas in his system. Apart from his own immediate followers, who are called Kabirpanthis, a number of other sects, large and small, arose from his influence. We have also seen Kabir's scorn for the yogi who carries arms, seizes lands and lives no celibate life. In spite of that biting satire, many members of the sects which sprang from his teaching took up arms. So overpowering was the urge towards fighting in those days.

Ascetics belonging to these groups are called sadhus, the generic name for ascetics to-day. The most notable of these sects who took up arms were the Satnamis, the Dadupanthis and the Sikhs; and the change in all three cases seems to have come in the seventeenth century.

Of all these groups the Sikhs are the most interesting. Throughout the sixteenth century they were a pious Puritan community, drawn almost entirely from the peasantry of the Punjaub and eager only to live at peace with every one. During the reign of Akbar, 1556-1605 A.D., there was peace between the Mogul empire and the Sikhs; but immediately thereafter, suspicion and treachery arose, and there was frequent trouble. Finally under the tenth Guru, Govind Singh (1676-1708), relations became so seriously strained that the Guru created an order of fighting ascetics, the Akalis, i.e. the Immortals, and many men belonging to the older groups of ascetics among the Sikhs (especially the Udasis) also took to arms. Hence the Sikh church practically became an army. Still later, under Ranjit Singh, early in the nineteenth century, the Sikhs ruled the Punjaub; and they finally fought two stubborn wars with the British before they would consent to give up aggressive war.

All the fighting groups had a good deal in common. They all went naked, or next to naked, and were therefore called nagas, "naked men." A very large number of them used hemp drugs, and the yogis drank strong drink freely. Their weapons were bow and arrow, sword, spear and shield, chakras, and now and then firearms. Before they went into battle, they painted their faces and their bodies, so as to give them a fearsome appearance; and they raised most unearthly yells as they rushed to the charge. Many of them cultivated beards with projecting whiskers to make them look still more frightful.

All these fresh groups of armed ascetics frequently fought on their own account, seized lands and settled down to trading, agriculture and money-lending. There is evidence that large numbers of all the fighting groups formed settlements of this nature. Traces are found of them in nearly all parts of North India. In many cases monasteries were built on the lands thus seized, and an attempt was made to continue the ascetic life. They recruited their numbers by buying or stealing, during their raids, the healthiest children they could find.

But though a considerable proportion remained celibate, vast numbers married and formed families. They thus became very like the ordinary Hindu householder. But one noticeable point of difference remained. In becoming ascetics they had lost their caste status. Thus, although they had become householders, they could not return to their old castes. The result was that each local group gradually developed into a new caste, the yogis forming the Yogi caste, the sannyasis the Sannyasi or the Gosain caste, and the bhairagis the Bairagi or the Vaishnava caste. Thus in most Gazetteers from Assam to the Punjaub, and south as far as Central India and the Marathaa country, these castes are noticed. Within the Sannyasi caste, each family is usually called by the name of the sub-order to which it belonged, whether Bharati, Puri or what not. There are many of these irregular Sannyasi families to be found in Nepal also. The men may marry or remain celibate as they please; but, married or single, they are usually employed as ministrants in Saiva temples. Men of the same type perform a similar function in Assam, and in some other parts of India. [42]

These agricultural and mercantile settlements usually prospered. Most men made a good livelihood, many became well-to-do and a few very rich. Many traded in a special commodity, e.g. opium [43] or precious stones. In the widespread fighting in India between 1750 and 1817, individual sannyasis, yogis and bairagis would be found who were quite ready to finance a campaign. [44] They frequently marched about levying heavy contributions; and are said to have been guilty of every enormity. Sir Lepel Griffin [45] says of the Sikh Akalis, "these men, excited by hemp, were generally the first to storm a town, and often did excellent service; but they were lawless and uncertain, and in peaceful times enjoyed almost boundless licence."

Tavernier [46] says that it was estimated in his day (early seventeenth century) that there were in India 800,000 Muslim faqirs and 1,200,000 Hindu ascetics. If this is trustworthy, there were two million ascetics in India, the vast majority of them ready to fight at a moment's notice.

F. It may be interesting to mention the most prominent battles fought by ascetic soldiers. The record is very irregular and scanty as yet: perhaps this paper may lead to the discovery of many other battles.

a. There was a battle at Hastinapur between faqirs and Hindu ascetics in 1558 A.D.

b. In the seventeenth century, the only great fight between ascetics which I have met in my reading, took place at Narnol, south of Delhi, in 1673, between a large mass of Satnamis and a section of the army of Aurungzebe, when the Satnamis were decisively defeated and many thousands of them slain. [47]

c. Writing in the eleventh volume of Asiatic Researches, Captain Raper says [48] that, during the time of Maratha government in North India, a large force of sannyasis of the Giri sub-order [49] seized Hardwar, collected all the dues and policed the fair. They had to fight many actions in defence of their position, but they maintained the sovereignty for many years. The bhairagis endeavoured to oust them from Hardwar at the Kumbh Mela of 1760, but were severely defeated in a bloody contest, in which it is said 18,000 bairagis were left dead on the field.

d. At the battle of Patna in May 1764, when Major Carnac defeated the Nawab Wazir of Oudh, Malleson tells us that "a body of five thousand fanatics, all perfectly naked, and covered with paint and ashes," who were fighting on the side of the Nawab Wazir, "rushed forward with great impetuosity, with wild shrieks and gestures, presenting a very formidable appearance, but the English received them with a volley so well directed, that many of them were laid low and the remainder scattered in disorder." [50] No indication is given to enable us to decide to which order of ascetics these wild warriors belonged.

e. In 1766, James Rennell, the famous geographer of the rivers of North India, was nearly cut to pieces in an encounter with ascetics in Kooch Behar.

f. For several years, before and after 1770, great hordes of armed sannyasis infested Bengal. Appearing suddenly in a district, they would burn, plunder and ravage without mercy or measure. On one occasion they plundered Dacca, which was then a wealthy city. The income of the British Government in Bengal was seriously curtailed in consequence more than once. [51] The memory of this horror still survives in Bengal and is called The Sannyasi Rebellion. [52] Hastings finally put them down.

g. In 1778, General Goddard, in his march through Bundelkhand, was attacked by 2,000 sannyasis. [53]

h. In 1779 a body of Vishnusvami ascetics entered the service of Bijai Singh of Marwar. [54]. Some Vishnusvami ascetics were still employed as State Sepoys when the Census Report of 1891 was written.

i. In 1789, Mahadaji Sindhia, while reorganising his army, introduced large numbers of sannyasis and placed them under Himmut Bahadur, who acted as their guru as well as their commander. His monastery was the Abhana Akhara of Jhansi. Until this date very few fighting ascetics had appeared in the Maratha armies. [55]

j. In 1796, some 12,000 Sikh cavalry, under an Udasi leader, attacked the various groups of armed ascetics at Hardwar, and killed 500 of them. The Sikhs were finally driven off, losing 20 men killed. [56]

k. In 1803 Gosain Himmut Bahadur, who had been leader of Sindhia's sannyasi force but had quarrelled with him, helped to conquer Bundelkhand for the British. [57]

l. In 1809 a force of Sikh Akalis attacked Metcalfe's Muhammadan escort. [58]

m. In 1817 at the battle of Kirkee, a strong force of sannyasi infantry fought on the side of the Peishwa. [59]

n. In 1823, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the King of the Punjab, succeeded in making the city and province of Peshawar tributary to him. But an Afghan leader, disgusted with the new arrangement, raised an army and met the king in battle near Naoshera, midway between the Indus and Peshawar. Sir Lepel Griffin in his Life of Ranjit Singh, in the Rulers of India Series, remarks, "The Akalis, the Sikh fanatics, and the Ghazis, the devotees of Islam, met in fair fight, which resulted in the repulse of the former with the loss of their much feared leader Phula Singh." Clearly, these Afghan Ghazis belong to the type of naked Muslim ascetic warriors which we have met so often.

o. The ascetics of the Svami-Narayani sect, which was formed in Gujarat about 1804, were originally armed; and there are records of great fights about 1830 between them and bairagis [60] (most probably Vallabhacharyas).

When the British became supreme in India, the armed ascetics in most cases gave up all attempt to live as soldiers and settled down in cities or on the land. For many decades they retained their arms and frequently used them. They still carried arms, when Wilson wrote about them in 1832. [61] They remained wild, lawless groups, constantly engaged in conspiracies, in private feuds, in murders and raids. They were often used as spies. Vivid pictures of them may be found in the literature, especially in many passages in Pandurang Hari (1826), Sleeman's Rambles and Recollections (1844), Meadows Taylor's Story of my Life (1874) and Sir Bartle Frere's Introduction to the 1876 edition of Pandurang Hari.

By the middle of the nineteenth century most of the fighting groups had given up the old life; for the British administration does not allow men to wander about the streets naked, nor do they permit people to carry dangerous arms about, unless they have government licences; yet interesting traces of these old days may still be seen in many places.

A. Yogis. I have several times met individual yogis belonging to the most shameless class of all; but they are extremely respectable to-day. In their monasteries you do not find them naked, nor do they have arms about, at least so far as I have seen. But there is one monastery in Benares belonging to the old Kapalikas, now called Aghoris, where a good deal of the old foul life still goes on, drink, women [62] and shamelessness. I found a yogi there one day and had a talk with him. He was very reticent, but he readily shewed me the human skull which he used as a drinking cup.

B. Sannyasis. There are vast numbers of naga sannyasis (i.e. non-Brahman sannyasis, modern successors of the fighters) to be found in monasteries all over North India; but if you met them in ordinary circumstances, you would see nothing very noticeable in their appearance. Yet there are many monasteries where they keep their old arms. Shortly before I left India, I paid a visit to Jaipur. My excellent host drove me to the old deserted capital, Amber, some five or six miles distant. The palace is still in good repair, but most of the houses and temples are falling to pieces. He took me to an old disused Jain temple, an excellent piece of architecture, which it was a pleasure to inspect. We went inside, and there we found about a dozen naga sannyasis sitting about, wearing clothes and looking very like ordinary mortals. But on the walls hung swords, spears, muskets and other arms, all that remains of their old military life.

A huge gathering of Hindu ascetics of all types is held once in four years at Allahabad. I had the pleasure of visiting the gathering in 1918. There we found a vast assemblage of sannyasis of two very different types. The first type were dressed in long saffron robes, and, when they moved about, each carried a long bamboo rod in his hand: these are the legitimate sannyasis, all Brahmans, all scholarly in some degree: these are the people whom the Muslim faqirs of the sixteenth century thought it such sport to kill.

But there were far larger numbers of naga sannyasis, the men who represent the fighting sannyasis of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There were many thousands of them, and they sat about on the sand, in nearly all cases, stark naked. That was the mark of their old life. They would not be allowed to walk about naked in towns, as they used to do; but, at this noted ascetic assembly, they were allowed to retain their nakedness. They held a great procession daily, wearing literally nothing. Men, women and children stood looking on unmoved. One group [63] wore a sort of uniform and executed a fine military dance.

The Malkana Rajputs are a set of Hindus who, some considerable time ago, became Muslims, but have retained rather large pieces of Hinduism in their practice; so that they are usually called "half-converted." Some naga sannyasis, remembering the struggles of their predecessors with the Muslims, are now endeavouring by means of Suddhi, a purificatory ceremony, to bring them back to Hinduism.

C. Bairagis. A similar tale may be told of the devotees of Vishnu, the bairagis. You may find arms here and there on the walls of their monasteries, momentoes of the fighting times, but in ordinary circumstances you would see nothing else to recall their old warrior status. At the great gathering at Allahabad, however, I found thousands on thousands of them sitting about stark naked, like the sannyasis. It was, however, quite easy to distinguish them from sannyasis; for every single bairagi wore his sect-mark [64] painted on his forehead. Most of them went still further: they had their faces painted all over with bright cojoured chalks or paint, pink and blue and yellow and red and green; these are momentoes of the days when their predecessors rushed to battle with their whole bodies painted like savages.

Considerable numbers of Vishnusvamis are still in state service in Marwar, Bundi and Kotah; there are also a number of Nimbarkas in the Jaipur state service: these are Rajput states.

C. Sadhus. We take next the groups that trace their religion back to Kabir. Great numbers of these men, successors of the sadhus who fought in the wars, are still in state service in Rajputana. The most noteworthy group is a body of Dadupanthis at Jaipur, where they act as State Tax Collectors. If you went to see one of these men in his monastery or his office, you would take him for an ordinary Hindu; but when he is present at some state ceremony, or when he goes on a journey, he appears in white garments with a sash round his waist and a tulwar, or curved sword, hanging by his side. Some of them still cultivate the fierce beard and side whiskers which were worn by their predecessors in the wars.

D. Akalis. I once met one of the chief Akalis resplendent in full dress in the Mall, Lahore. He was a man of magnificent physique. He wore a long coat of navy blue cloth and a dark conical cap, which was encased in a sort of open helmet formed of steel discs and bars. In his hand he carried a huge baton of dark wood beautifully mounted in silver.

Not in such dress have the Akalis been pursuing their recent crusade in the Punjaub. While there has been great excitement, the leaders have done their best to make the movement truly peaceful and to keep the Akalis from violence.



NOTE. -- In the hunt for the facts in connection with this subject, I have received a great deal of help from friends, especially from Mr. W. D. P. Hill, M.A., Benares, the Rev. C. Spooner, M.A., formerly of Benares, Darsan Sastri J. N. C. Ganguly, M.A., Calcutta, the Rev. Dr. F. E. Keay of Saugor, C.P., India, and Dr. Mingana of the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

1. A lecture delivered in the John Rylands Library, 11 March, 1925.

2. Encyclo. Britt., xxiv. 12; xxvi. 591; 676.

3. Ibid., xv. 866.

4. I owe this touch to Dr. Mingana, who has travelled much in the East.

5. ERE., xa. 10; Encyclo. Britt., xxvi. 31.

6. Ibid

7. lbid, x. 136.

8. Ibid., vai. 75.

9. See ERE., iv. 641; va., 881; Encyclo. Britt., vai. 75.

10. See Dervish and Marabout in Encyclo. Britt.

11. This also I owe to Dr. Mingana.

12. ERE., iv. 642.

12. Sir Charles Eliot, Hinduism and Buddhism, I. lxxxa.; xca.; Griffis, Religions of Japan, 247, Cave, Living Religions of the East, 183.

13. In the Bombay Gazetteer, xiv. 134 ff,, there is a long note which gives more facts about the fighting ascetics than I have found anywhere else; but see also Grant Duff, Tod, Sleeman and Forbes.

14. Later, the rule of ahimsa prohibited injury to plant life as well. The sannyasi was not allowed to pluck fruit from a tree or grain from a field.

15. Ramayana1, III; Kalidasa, Sakuntala, Act I., Everyman edition, p. 7.

16. See Hume, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads Translated, Oxford, 1921.

17. See Sastri, South Indian Images of Gods and Goddesses, 151.

18. See Wilson's translation, Act V.; Keith, The Sanskrit Drama, 188.

19. Translated by Cowell and Thomas, RAS., 1897, pp. 83-99.

20. See especially Tod, and Grierson's Lay of Alha.

21. Probably, the earliest group were Kapalikas, like Bhairavacharya and his men; but Lakulisa fighters were also found; and great numbers of Gorakhnath's Kanphata Yogis took to arms.

22. Bombay Gazetteer, xiv., 135.

23. Ahmad Shah, The Bijak of Kabir, 85.

24. Famous Hindu saints.

25. Barbosa, Stanley's edition, 99-100, quoted in the Bombay Gazetteer, xiv. 135 ff. See also Oman, The Mystics, Ascetics and Saints of India.

26. Tavernier, Travels in India, Ball, 1. 21.

27. History of the Konkan, referred to in Kerr's Voyages, VI. 230.

28. Encyclo. Britt., iv. 76a.

29. Badger's Varthema, III. 273.

30. But there were a few bodies of armed Bairigis and Sannyasis to be seen: Buchanan, Journey, I. 22, 303; II. 76.

31. The Ekadandi Sannyasis follow Sankaracharya in holding the monistic view of the Vedanta philosophy, while the Tridandis or three-rod Sannyasis follow Ramanujacharya in holding the theistic view. The latter are found, almost exclusively, in South India.

32. See above, p. 441 -2.

33. Sannyasis of this "impure" type are called Atita in Sanskrit, as having "gone beyond" the rule.

34. See p. 441-2, above.

35. V. Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, 78.

36. It is probable that Madhusudana initiated only Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, as the tradition maintains, but it is quite clear that at later dates Sudras also were freely admitted.

37. Grant Duff, Mahrattas (Oxford, 1921), I. 16 f.; 436; 514; II. 189 f.; 428; 471; Tod, Rajasthan (Oxford, 1920), II. 601; 642; III. 1670; 1673; Wilson, Sects, 238 ff. Sleeman, Recollections (Oxford, 1915), 218; 370; 592 n.; Forbes, Ras Mala (Oxford 1924), 1. 358; 359; II.,40; 45.

38. Edwardes, Intro. to Grant Duff, Mahrattas, Oxford (1921). I. lxvai.

39. Grant Duff, Mahrattas, Oxford, 1921, I. 15; 17; Asiatic Researches, VI. 309; Sleeman, Recollection (Oxford, 1915), 300; 370; 591; 592 n Wilson, Sects, 238 ff.

40. Tod, Rajasthan, Oxford, II. 1081.

41. Ibid., 642.

42. Cf. Forbes, Ras Mala, II. 308, 309, 310.

43. Tod. Rajasthan, III. 1670.

44. Meadows Taylor, Story of my Life, 146; 179; 183-7; 236.

45. Life of Ranjit Singh.

46. Travels in India (Ball), II. 178.

47. V. Smith, Oxford History of India, 428; Jadunath Sirkar in Modern Review, 1916, 383.

48. P. 455.

49. See p. 442 above.

50. Decisive Battles of India, 189- 191.

51. Trotter, Warren Hastings, 70.

52. See Bankim Ch. Chatterji's Anandamatha, Appendix.

53. Pennant, Hindusthan, II. 192.

54. Tod, Rajasthan, III. 1082.

55. Grant Duff, Mahrattas, II. 189.

56. Asiatic Researches, VI. 309; Saharanpur Gazetteer, 1875, p. 291.

57. Grant Duff, Mahrattaa, I. 357.

58. Sir Lepel Griffin, Ranjit Singh, 136.

59. Grant Duff, Mahrattas, II. 428.

60. Bombay Gazetteer, xiv. 136.

61. Religious Sects of the Hindus, 238.

62. Govinda Das, Hinduism, 337, says, "A festival is held every year, when all the prostitutes of the city gather there."

63. Probably Alakhgirs (i.e. disciples of a naga sannyasi belonging to the Giri sub-order) see ERE. av. Alakhnamis.

64. In most cases Ramanandi.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Asia Society
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Asia Society's New York City Headquarters and Museum
Asia Society is located in New York CityAsia Society
Location within New York City
Established 1956
Location 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), Manhattan, New York, USA
Coordinates 40.7698°N 73.9643°W
President Josette Sheeran
Public transit access Subway:
"6" train"6" express train​ to 68th Street – Hunter College
"F" train​"M" train​"N" train​"Q" train​"R" train to Lexington Avenue – 63rd Street
M1, M2, M3, M4, M66, M101, M102, M103

The Asia Society is a non-profit organization that focuses on educating the world about Asia. It has several centers in the United States (Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York) and around the world (Hong Kong, Manila, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Zurich). These centers are overseen by the Society’s headquarters in New York, which includes a museum that exhibits the Rockefeller collection of Asian art and rotating exhibits with pieces from many Asian countries including China, Japan, India, Iran, and Korea.

On June 10, 2013[1] Josette Sheeran, former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme and Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum, became the seventh president and CEO of the institution. On October 21, 2014[2] Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia, was named president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, the organization's think tank.


Asia Society logo.

The Asia Society defines the region of Asia as the area from Japan to Iran, from central Asia to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The Asia Society is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose aim is to build awareness about Asian politics, business, education, arts, and culture through education. The organization sponsors the exhibitions of art, performance, film, lectures, and programs for students and teachers. The programs are aimed at increasing knowledge of society with a focus on human rights, environment, global health and the position of women.

The Asia Society's original focus was explaining aspects about Asia to Americans, and Robin Pogrebin of The New York Times said that it was "[l]ong regarded as a New York institution with regional branches".[3] Around 2011 the society was refocusing efforts on augmenting partnerships amongst Asians and between Asians and Americans in business, culture, education, and public policy. In 2011 Pogrebin said "over the last few years has aimed to recast itself as an international organization, partly through the construction of the two major centers in cities where it previously had only offices".[3]


The Asia Society was founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller III. Initially established to promote greater knowledge of Asia in the US, today the Society is a global institution—with offices throughout the US and Asia—that fulfills its educational mandate through a wide range of cross-disciplinary programming. As economies and cultures have become more interconnected, the Society's programs have expanded to address Asian American issues, the effects of globalization, and pressing concerns in Asia including human rights, the status of women, and environmental and global health issues such as HIV/AIDS.[4] The organization's records are held at the Rockefeller Archive Center in North Tarrytown, NY.[5]



The Society's Manhattan headquarters, at Park Avenue and East 70th Street on the Upper East Side, is a nine-story building faced in smooth red Oklahoma granite designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes in 1980. Since it replaced some old brownstones on one of the city's most prestigious streets, Barnes gave the building a strong facade to continue the line along Park, and set it back from East 70th with a terraced garden buffering it between the street and the older houses on that block. The semicircular window on the upper story and variations in the color and finish of the granite are intended to evoke Asian cultures. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic at The New York Times, called it "an ambitious building, full of civilized intentions, some of which succeed and others that do not". In the former category he put the interiors and the overall shape; in the latter he included the facade.[6]

In 1999, it was closed for 18 months so that new interiors, designed by Bartholomew Voorsanger, could be built. During that time the society used the former Christie's Manhattan offices on 59th Street as a temporary home. The completed renovation included a 24-foot-high (7.3 m) atrium and cafe. The expansion doubled the museum's exhibition space, allowing the society to put the entire Rockefeller Asian art collection on display.[7]

Robin Pogrebin of The New York Times said in 2011 that the Asia Society is "perhaps best known for the elegance of its headquarters and galleries on Park Avenue at 70th Street".[3]

Global centers

Asia Society Texas Center in Houston

Along with its New York headquarters, the Asia Society has centers throughout the United States and Asia. 2012 marked a major expansion, with the opening of multimillion-dollar buildings in Hong Kong and Houston, Texas.[8] The Hong Kong complex, dedicated on February 9, 2012, is situated on the site of a former British military explosives magazine overlooking Victoria Harbour and includes numerous restored military buildings. The project was designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The Houston building, located in the city's museum district, opened on May 6, 2012 and was designed by architect Yoshio Taniguchi. The other American centers are located in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Other Asian centers are in Seoul, Manila, Shanghai and Mumbai. There is also a center located in Sydney, Australia.


At its 70th Street headquarters, The Asia Society Museum is host to both traditional and contemporary exhibitions, film screenings, literature, performing, and visual arts. The holdings include works from more than thirty Asian-Pacific countries including Hindu and Buddhist statuary, temple carvings, Chinese ceramics and paintings, Japanese art, and contemporary art. The museum's collection of traditional objects stems from a donation from Asia Society founder John D. Rockefeller III and Blanchette Ferry Hooker Rockefeller, who contributed a number of items in 1978. The society began actively collecting contemporary Asian art with a 2007 initiative.[9] A major renovation was completed in 2001, doubling the size of the four public galleries and expanding space for educational programming.[10]

The headquarters also houses a museum shop and café. Forbes has listed the Garden Court Cafe on its All-Star Eateries in New York list several times.[11]


On May 21, 2013, Asia Society announced[1] that World Economic Forum Vice Chair Josette Sheeran, a former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), would on June 10, 2013 become the seventh president and CEO of the institution. Dan Washburn is the Chief Content Officer.[12]

Board Co-Chairs

Ronnie Chan
Henrietta H. Fore

Past Presidents

Dr. Vishakha N. Desai 2004–2012
Robert Oxnam 1981–1992
Nicholas Platt
Phillips Talbot 1970–1982



The Asia Society annually presents a Corporate Conference in Asia, which functions as a fundraiser, to examine the implications of macroeconomic trends and geopolitical developments for the region and the world. Heads of Asian governments are often featured, as well as roundtable discussions with business and policy leaders from around the world.[13]


The Asia Society's Education department has two primary objectives: one focusing on teaching and learning about Asia in the United States and the other on the expansion of US investments in international studies at the elementary and secondary school levels.[7]

International education generally encompasses the knowledge of other world regions, cultures and global issues; skills in communicating in languages other than English, working in global or cross-cultural environments and using information from different sources around the world; and values of respect and concern for other cultures and peoples.

International Studies Schools Network

The Asia Society International Studies Schools Network (ISSN) comprises a select group of public elementary and secondary schools across the country with programs in "developing globally competent, college-ready high school students".[14] There are currently 35 schools in the network, covering both rural and urban communities and in cities throughout the U.S., from the Henry Street School for International Studies (New York, NY) and the Academy of International Studies (Charlotte, NC) to the Denver Center for International Studies (Denver, CO) to Vaughn International Studies Academy (San Fernando, CA) and the International Studies Learning Center (Los Angeles, CA).[15]


Blocking pro-democracy activist from attending event

Pro-democracy activist and secretary-general of Demosisto Joshua Wong was allegedly disallowed by Asia Society Hong Kong from speaking at a book launch originally scheduled to take place at its Hong Kong venue on June 28, 2017. It was understood that Asia Society Hong Kong was approached by PEN Hong Kong to co-curate the book launch, but negotiations stalled upon the former's request for a more diverse panel of speakers. PEN Hong Kong, a non-profit organization supporting literature and freedom of expression, eventually decided to relocate the launch of Hong Kong 20/20: Reflections on a Borrowed Place – of which Wong was one of the authors – to the Foreign Correspondents Club. Joshua Wong says that Asia Society Hong Kong needs to give a “reasonable explanation” for the incident.[16]

“The mission of PEN Hong Kong is to promote literature and defend the freedom of expression. To bar one of the contributors to our anthology, whether it is Joshua Wong or somebody else, from speaking at our launch event would undermine and in fact contravene that mission,” said PEN Hong Kong President Jason Y. Ng.[16]

Back to November 2016, Asia Society Hong Kong also canceled a scheduled screening of Raise The Umbrellas, a documentary on the 2014 Occupy protests with appearance of Joshua Wong.[17] Asia Society Hong Kong has similarly cited the lack of balanced speaker representation at the pre-screening talk as the reason for not screening the film.

US Congressman Chris Smith, co-chairperson of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, expressed that “The Asia Society has some explaining to do after two events that featured Joshua Wong prominently were canceled over the past nine months,” said the New Jersey representative. “I commend PEN Hong Kong for not appeasing the Asia Society’s demands.”[18]

On July 7, 2017, Asia Society Hong Kong released a statement on PEN Hong Kong's book launch event and acknowledged for their mistakes. “Asia Society takes this issue very seriously, and after looking into the circumstances, it is clear that an error in judgment at the staff level was made involving the PEN Hong Kong event. Asia Society, throughout its history, has hosted events at all of its global locations with speakers representing all sides of major Asia-related issues.” Asia Society Hong Kong emphasized they received no representations from the Chinese government on this matter, and Joshua Wong and speakers from all sides of the issue are welcome at Asia Society.[19]

In an email to a member, Asia Society Hong Kong's Executive Director S. Alice Mong reasserted that as an independent non-government organization, it remains impartial and apolitical, and that its priority is to stay focused as an educational organization that presents balanced perspectives to promote critical understanding of topics that matter to Hong Kong, Asia and their respective roles in the global context.

On July 10, 2017, Forbes magazine ran an article revealing Hong Kong real estate magnate and Asia Society Co-chair Ronnie Chan (a US citizen) to be the political force behind the Joshua Wong incident. It alleged that wealthy Asians have been behind US think tanks and NGOs and effectively turning them into foreign policy tools of the People's Republic of China (Beijing).
However, the link to the article went dead a day later. It has been rumored that Asia Society or Ronnie Chan could be taking legal action against Forbes for libel. The original Forbes article is still accessible, at a different site: ... -hk-607591 .

On July 20, 2017, Asia Society Chairman Ronnie Chan defended the Hong Kong center’s apolitical stance at an event in New York. He reiterated the Hong Kong center’s deliberate stance to stay away from local politics and to cover business and policy, education, arts and culture as an institution. “At Asia Society, we generate not heat but light,” he said.[20]

On August 4, 2017, Hong Kong international affairs commentator and newspaper columnist Simon Shen wrote in support of Asia Society Hong Kong’s apolitical stance and described it as a “firewall” between international relations and local politics. He pointed to the increasingly blinkered outlook of the local political discourse and argued for the need served by Asia Society to bring a broader perspective for understanding the role of Hong Kong in a global context.[21]

See also

Japan Society (Manhattan)
• New York City portal
• Asia portal


1. "Asia Society Names Josette Sheeran New President". Asia Society.
2. "Former Leader of Australia to Study Asia in a New Way". The New York Times.
3. Pogrebin, Robin. "Asia Society Expands, in Houston and Hong Kong". The New York Times. February 2, 2012. Retrieved on January 31, 2012.
4. "Mission & History | About". Asia Society. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
5. "Treasures Within a Treasure: The Rockefeller Archives Center". Retrieved January 4, 2019.
6. Goldberger, Paul (April 11, 1981). "Architecture: Asia Society Building, A Design Full of Civilized Intentions". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
7. Vogel, Carol (December 10, 1999). "Inside Art: Asia in Midtown". The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
8. Pogrebin, Robin (January 31, 2012). "Asia Society Expands, East and West". The New York Times. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
9. Pogrebin, Robin (September 5, 2007). "Asia Society Will Build a Contemporary Art Collection". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 17,2016.
10. "Asia Society & Museum". Voorsanger Architects PC. Retrieved October 17,2016.
11. "The Forbes 2008 All-Star Eateries in New York: Special". December 4, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
12. "Our People". Asia Society. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
13. [1] Archived July 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
14. "International Studies Schools Network". Asia Society. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
15. "International Studies Schools Network | International Studies Schools Network". Asia Society. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
16. "Asia Society faces backlash as Joshua Wong demands explanation over 'blocked' book launch". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. July 6, 2017. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
17. Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (November 10, 2016). "Hong Kong Venue Cancels Screening of Protest Film, Citing Political Concerns". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
18. "PEN Hong Kong". Retrieved July 6, 2017.
19. "Statement on PEN Hong Kong Event". Retrieved July 8,2017.
20. "Hong Kong, 20 Years Later: Promises Made, Promises Kept, Promises To Be Fulfilled". Asia Society. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:25 am

Japan Society (Manhattan)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/25/19

Japan Society
Founded May 19, 1907[1]
Type Educational
Focus Education
333 East 47th Street, New York, NY
Area served
New York, NY
Method Film screenings, Lectures, Symposia, Cultural lectures, Workshops
Key people
Motoatsu Sakurai, President
Ruri Kawashima, Tokyo Representative
Endowment $60,458,898 (2015)[3]

Japan Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1907 to promote friendly relations between the United States and Japan. Its headquarters, the youngest landmark building in New York, was designed by Junzo Yoshimura and opened in 1971 at 333 East 47th Street near the United Nations.[4] With a focus on promoting "arts and culture, public policy, business, language, and education," the organization has regularly held events in its many facilities, including a library, art gallery, and theater, since its opening.[5] After suspending all activities during World War II, Japan Society expanded under the leadership of John D. Rockefeller III.[6]


In 1907, Tamemoto Kuroki and Goro Ijuin were chosen to represent Japan at the Jamestown Exposition. They attended a welcome dinner in New York with Japanese ambassador to the United States, Shuzo Aoki, where there was talk of forming an organization to promote US-Japan relations in the city. Two days later at a luncheon held by Kuroki, Japan Society was born. The organization would be run by Aoki, then Honorary President of the Japan Society of the UK, and John Huston Findley.[7][8][9]

Japan Society spent the next forty years hosting events in honor of Japanese royalty, giving annual lectures on a wide range of topics, and presenting art exhibits that drew in thousands of New Yorkers. In 1911, Lindsay Russell, another founding member of the society and later president, met with Emperor Meiji and spent his visit to Japan encouraging more societies to form there and throughout the United States.[7]

Japan Society was soon incorporated under New York law and finally found a home near one of Russell’s work offices, though it continued to relocate throughout its history before its current headquarters was opened in 1971. At this time, Japan Society and its members began to express interest in improving teaching about Japan in the United States. The organization began sponsoring trips to the country, publishing books, and sent a report to the Department of Education about the portrayal of Japan in American textbooks.[7]

It remained active during World War I, operating as it had for the last seven years, but the organization became more political when it began associating with the Anti-Alien Legislation Committee, an advocacy group that spoke out against yellow peril. Russell and Hamilton Holt, another founding member, used the organization's publications to defend all of Japan's actions at the time. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, even one of Japan Society's writers secretly worked for the Japanese government with the task of improving Japan’s image in the United States. The organization eventually realized the dangers of taking sides and by 1924 stopped publishing any political commentary.[7]

Rockefeller, who served as president and chairman from 1953 until his death in 1978, helped expand Japan Society.

By the 1930s, membership had dropped significantly due to financial difficulties and the Second Sino-Japanese War. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Henry Waters Taft immediately resigned as president after serving from 1922 to 1929 and again from 1934. Russell also stepped down as one of Japan Society's directors. All activities were suspended and would not resume until the Treaty of San Francisco was signed in 1951.[7]

John D. Rockefeller III served as president from 1952 to 1969 and then as Chairman of the Board until his death in 1978. He accompanied John Foster Dulles on his trip to Japan that eventually led to the signing of the 1951 treaty. Rockefeller, a supporter of the Institute of Pacific Relations who visited Japan in 1929 during one of its conferences, wanted to contribute to bettering US–Japan relations after the war and believed there needed to be non-governmental organizations like Japan Society in each country in order for such friendly relations to exist.[7]

Under Rockefeller's leadership, Japan Society expanded and talk began to find a permanent headquarters for it. It shared offices with another Rockefeller-led organization, Asia Society, but as the two organizations continued to grow during the 1960s it became increasingly clear that Japan Society needed its own building. After receiving donations from Rockefeller and other members, construction began on "Japan House" in 1967. Designed by Junzo Yoshimura, whose work also includes Asia Society's headquarters, it became the first building in New York of contemporary Japanese architecture. On September 13, 1971, it was finally opened to the public after a ceremony attended by Prince Hitachi. He echoed Russell’s first words about Japan Society, calling for "closer people-to-people" contact between the countries.[7][10]

See also

• Japanese in New York City
• Nippon Club (Manhattan)


1. Auslin, Michael R.; Edwin O. Reischauer (2007). "Japan Society: Celebrating a Century (1907-2007)" (PDF). Japan Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
2. "Japan Society Annual Report 2012–13" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 March 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
3. "Japan Society Annual Report 2014-15" (PDF). p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
4. Gootman, Elissa. "Four New Landmarks Include City's Youngest". City Room. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
5. "Mission Statement & Overview". Japan Society. Japan Society. Retrieved 2016-11-16.
6. Auslin, Michael R.; Reischauer, Edwin O. (2007). Celebrating a Century: 1907-2007. New York, NY: Japan Society.
7. Auslin, Michael R.; Reischauer, Edwin O. (2007). Celebrating a Century: 1907-2007. New York, NY: Japan Society.
8. "Japan Society Born at Kuroki's Party". The New York Times. 1907-02-05.
9. "Nations Join Hands at Kuroki Dinner". The New York Times. 1907-05-18.
10. "Japan House Here Opens with a Call for More Contact". The New York Times. 1971-09-14.

External links

• Japan Society
• Japan Society: Celebrating a Century, 1907-2007
• About Japan, A Teacher's Resource
• U.S.-Japan Innovators Project
• Japan Society Film Program
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:44 am

Institute of Pacific Relations
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/25/19

Institute of Pacific Relations
Successor: Pacific Basin Economic Council & Pacific Trade and Development Conference
Established: 1925
Founder: Edward C. Carter
Dissolved: 1960
The East–West Center (EWC), or the Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange Between East and West, is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. It is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii.

-- East–West Center, by Wikipedia

Type: Non-governmental organization
Purpose: To provide a forum for discussion between Pacific Rim nations.
Headquarters: Honolulu, later New York
Official language: English
Key people: Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Owen Lattimore
Publication: Pacific Affairs & Far Eastern Survey
Affiliations Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Foundation

The Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) was an international NGO established in 1925 to provide a forum for discussion of problems and relations between nations of the Pacific Rim. The International Secretariat, the center of most IPR activity over the years, consisted of professional staff members who recommended policy to the Pacific Council and administered the international program. The various national councils were responsible for national, regional and local programming. Most participants were elite members of the business and academic communities in their respective countries. Funding came largely from businesses and philanthropies, especially the Rockefeller Foundation. IPR international headquarters were in Honolulu until the early 1930s when they were moved to New York and the American Council emerged as the dominant national council.[1]

IPR was founded in the spirit of Wilsonianism, an awareness of the United States' new role as a world power after World War I, and a belief that liberal democracy should be promoted throughout the world. To promote greater knowledge of issues, the IPR supported conferences, research projects and publications, and after 1932 published a quarterly journal Pacific Affairs. After World War II, Cold War charges that the IPR was infiltrated with Communists led to Congressional hearings and loss of tax exempt status. Many IPR members had liberal left orientations typical of internationalists of the 1930s, some ten IPR associates were shown to have been Communists, others were sympathetic to the Soviet Union, and the anti-imperialist tone of the leadership aroused resentment from some of the colonial powers, but the more dramatic charges, such as that the IPR was responsible for the fall of China, have not been generally accepted.

Founding and early years (1925–1939)

The IPR was the result of two sets of organizers, one in New York, another in Hawai'i. The New York-based effort was organized by Edward C. Carter, after graduating from Harvard in 1906, joined the Student Volunteer Movement with the YMCA in India, then worked with the Y in France during World War I. After the war he joined The Inquiry, a liberal Protestant commission with a flavor both genteel and militant which organized conferences and publications on labor, race relations, business ethics, and international peace. Among Carter's constituents were John D. Rockefeller, III, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, daughter of the Rhode Island U.S. Senator, and Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, President of Stanford University. Wilbur argued that a new organization devoted to Pacific affairs would fill a gap not addressed by East Coast foreign policy groups. Meanwhile, in Hawai'i, another group was organizing under the leadership of local business interests.


Not everyone approved. Time Magazine called Carter, Wilbur, and The Inquiry a "strange and motley crew", a "little band of élite and erudite adventurers." Some in the American State Department and Navy opposed discussion of Pacific affairs, fearing that it might interfere with strategic planning at a time when Chinese and Japanese nationalism were on the rise. Carter countered with support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation. Using networks of the International YMCA, independent National Councils were organized in other countries, with an International Secretariat in Honolulu.[2]


Attendees of the Fourth Biennial Conference in Shanghai, China, October 21 to November 2, 1931.

The first conference was held in Honolulu in the summer of 1925, followed by another in Honolulu (1927), then conferences in Kyoto (1929), Hangzhou and Shanghai (1931), Banff, Canada (1933), Yosemite, USA (1936), and Virginia Beach, USA (1939). Each conference published its background papers and roundtable discussions in a volume in the series Problems of the Pacific.

Attendees of the sixth conference in Yosemite, 1936.

American Council leadership

Edward Carter took responsibility for the American Council. When he became Secretary General in 1933 he lobbied successfully to have the International Headquarters move to New York. Since 1928 his chief assistant had been Frederick V. Field, who worked with him until 1940. (Field was later attacked for his Communist allegiances: see below.) The American Council moved energetically on several fronts. One of Carter's concerns was that public opinion needed to be informed and school curriculum deepened. Another area was to commission or subsidize scholarship on all aspects of Asia. Over the next decades, the IPR imprint appeared on hundreds of books, including most of the important scholarship on China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Notable was the Chinese Dynastic History Project, headed by the German refugee scholar Karl Wittfogel, which set out to translate and annotate the official histories compiled by each Chinese dynasty for its predecessor. In 1932, the IPR determined to expand its Bulletin into a full-fledged journal, Pacific Affairs. At the recommendation of longtime treaty port journalist H.G.E. Woodhead, Carter recruited Owen Lattimore, a multi-sided scholar of Central Asia who, however, did not have a Ph.D.[3]

The IPR aimed to include all of the countries of the Pacific, including colonies, such as the Philippines and Korea (the Dutch government forbade participation from the Dutch East Indies), and the Soviet Union. As friction between Japan and China became more intense, the IPR became more overtly political. In 1931, the Japanese invasion forced the conference to move from Hangzhou to Shanghai. In 1932, the Japanese delegation withdrew and succeeding conferences were held without Japanese representation. Since the USSR was a longtime rival of Japan and a revolutionary Marxist power, Soviet participation raised many questions and problems. Marxist analysis, such as that brought by Wittfogel, was considered by some to add a powerful tool for understanding Chinese history, but Stalin's interest was scarcely limited to discussions and theories. Carter's sympathy for the Soviet Union led him to defend Stalin's purges and trials, although IPR publications contained both favorable and critical treatments of Soviet policies.[4]

Publishing history

The IPR sponsored other important scholarly excursions into Asian history and society: R.H. Tawney's long memo for the 1931 Conference was published as his Land and Labor in China (1931); a Marxist analysis of geography by Chi Ch'ao-ting; the collaboration between Lattimore and Wittfogel which used an eclectic array of approaches including Arnold Toynbee, Ellsworth Huntington, and Karl Marx to develop a social history of China.[5]

The war years

During World War II, the IPR organized two conferences, one at Mont Tremblant, Quebec, in December 1942 and the second in Hot Springs, Virginia in January 1945. One scholar noted that the non-official nature of these meetings meant that officials and influential leaders could join in the fray in an ostensibly private capacity, which "gave the I.P.R. a status well beyond its actual size."[6]:212 Colonial issues, economic issues and post-war planning were the major areas of controversy. The Americans demanded that European colonial markets be opened to American goods by the removal of preference tariffs while the British expressed concerns that American economic might could be used as a "potential bludgeon".[6]:541 Another example was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit of India, asserting that the conflict in Asia was a race war, and other members of the conference from Asia warned that too harsh a treatment of Japan would lead to anti-Western feeling throughout the Far East.

At the roundtables, there was criticism as well as doubt that British would follow the Atlantic Charter. The British pointed out that high-flown ideas were being pushed on them while American willingness to apply the same ideals within its own borders was questionable. Those in the International Secretariat were suspicious and critical of the British, noting that the delegation from India was more British than the British. Those representing American interests repeatedly insisted they were not fighting in order to reconstitute the British Empire; the representatives of the British concern replied that they would "not be hustled out of evolution into revolution," and that the US might "do well to look into her own Negro problem."

As part of IPR’s lasting impact in the region, the conferences helped to focus on the political and social developments within Japan after the war, especially the question of whether to abolish the imperial throne. Edward Carter summarized Anglo-American differences and fears: "continuing imperialism as a threat to world peace", on the one hand, and of "anti-colonialism as a recipe for chaos" on the other, and of "imperial tariff protections as a barrier to world trade and of American economic might as a potential bludgeon." Some have suggested that Carter left the Secretary General position in late 1945 because of pressure from the European council leaders due to his increasingly outspoken anti-colonialism.[6]:369

At home, the American Secretariat came under criticism.

Attacks over alleged Communist influences and demise

Toward the end of the war, the Institute came under criticism for alleged communist sympathies. The first major criticism of the Institute was a wartime study by dissident IPR member Alfred Kohlberg, an American who had owned a textile firm in prewar China. After finding what he believed were Communist sympathies in IPR, in particular Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Kohlberg first wrote to other members of the Board, published an 80-page report, then launched a publicity campaign against the Institute.[7]

The IPR came under further suspicion by government authorities as a result of the Venona intercepts and its close association with Amerasia. Amerasia came under investigation when a classified OSS report appeared as an article in the magazine.

IPR was closely allied with Amerasia. The two organizations shared the same building, and many members of the Editorial Board of Amerasia were officers or employees of IPR.[8] An FBI review of Amerasia and IPR publications found that approximately 115 people contributed articles to both.[9] The Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy was also housed in this building.

Among IPR staffers claimed to be Communists or collaborators with Soviet intelligence agents were Kathleen Barnes, Hilda Austern, Elsie Fairfax-Cholmely, Chi Chao-ting, Guenter Stein, Harriet Levine, Talitha Gerlach, Chen Han-seng (a member of the Sorge spy ring),[11] Michael Greenberg (named as a source in 1945 by defecting Soviet courier Elizabeth Bentley), and T.A. Bisson (Venona's "Arthur"),[12] as well as Kate Mitchell and Andrew Roth, both of whom were arrested in the 1945 Amerasia case.[13]:147–59

After the success of the Chinese Communist Revolution, criticism of the IPR increased. Its detractors accused it of having helped to "lose China" to Communism.

In the early fifties, the IPR came under a lengthy investigation by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Critics charged that IPR scholars had been naïve in their statements regarding Communism, Chinese Communism and Stalinist Russia.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin repeatedly criticized IPR and its former chairman Philip Jessup. McCarthy observed that Frederick V. Field, T.A. Bisson, and Owen Lattimore were active in IPR and claimed that they had worked to turn American China policy in favor of the Communist Party of China.

In 1952, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (SISS), chaired by Senator Pat McCarran, spent over a year reviewing some 20,000 documents from the files of IPR and questioning IPR personnel. The committee found it suspicious that Marxists had published articles in the IPR journal and that Communists had attended an IPR conference in 1942. In its final report the SISS stated:

The IPR itself was like a specialized political flypaper in its attractive power for Communists ...The IPR has been considered by the American Communist Party and by Soviet officials as an instrument of Communist policy, propaganda and military intelligence. The IPR disseminated and sought to popularize false information including information originating from Soviet and Communist sources.... The IPR was a vehicle used by the Communists to orient American far eastern policies toward Communist objectives.[13]:223–225

Elizabeth Bentley testified that NKVD spy chief Jacob Golos warned her to stay away from the IPR because it was "as red as a rose, and you shouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole."[14] Likewise, Louis Budenz, former editor of the Daily Worker, testified that Alexander Trachtenberg of the Communist Party-affiliated International Publishers told him that party leaders thought the IPR was "too much a concentration point for Communists; the control could be maintained without such a galaxy of Communists in it."[13]

The IPR lost its tax-exempt status as an educational body in 1955, when the Internal Revenue Service alleged that the Institute had engaged in the dissemination of controversial and partisan propaganda, and had attempted to influence the policies or opinions of the government. Under the leadership of William L. Holland, the IPR pursued a long legal action to regain tax-exempt status, which lasted until 1959. The final court judgment rejected all allegations by the Internal Revenue Service.[15]

By the mid-1950s, the IPR was facing other challenges – notably the development of well-funded centers for Asian Studies at major American universities such as Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Michigan and Columbia. The rise of these centers created an opinion that the IPR was no longer necessary. The large foundations which had previously supported the IPR shifted their financial resources to the university centers.[16]:65–70

At the end of the IRS case, a degree of financial support that the Institute had attracted due to free speech issues and the IRS case was lost to other causes. The IPR also had been gradually losing academic contributors due in part to the rise of the Association for Asian Studies.[16]:70–75

The Institute dissolved in 1960. Publication of the journal Pacific Affairs was transferred to University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada.

A few years later two successor organizations were established, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, an organization of regional business leaders founded in 1967, and the more academic Pacific Trade and Development Conference (PAFTAD) in 1968.[17]

Sources and notes

1. Paul F. Hooper, ed., Remembering the Institute of Pacific Relations: The Memoirs of William L. Holland (Tokyo: Ryukei Shyosha, 1995), pp. 77-120; Akami, Tomoko (2001). Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22034-3.
2. Hooper, Elusive Destiny
3. Pt II, "The Pacific Community," Akami, Internationalizing the Pacific.
4. Pt II, "The Pacific Community," Akami, Internationalizing the Pacific; Field, From Right to Left p. 125.
5. William T. Rowe, "Owen, Lattimore, Asia, and Comparative History," Journal of Asian Studies 66.3 (2007): 759-786.
6. Christopher G. Thorne, Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War against Japan, 1941-1945 (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1979, 1978): 212-214; 540- 541; Holland Memoirs.
7. Marshall, Jonathan (1976). "The Institute of Pacific Relations: Politics and Polemics". Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. 8.
8. Office memorandum: Rosen to Ladd, Re European Recovery Program, November 22, 1949, p. 3 (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 47 Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, PDF p. 44)
9. FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, January 18, 1951 (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 47 Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine), PDF p. 9
10. Oneill, William L. (1990), A Better World: Stalinism and the American Intellectuals, Transaction Publishers, p. 275, ISBN 978-1-4128-1602-1, retrieved 2016-03-15
11. Maochen Yu, "Chen Hansheng's Memoirs and Chinese Communist Espionage Archived February 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine," Cold War International History Project Bulletin, 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996), p. 274
12. Robert L. Benson, The Venona Story Archived May 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. National Security Agency, Central Security Service
13. Institute of Pacific Relations, report of the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, 1952, p. 97.
14. Senate Internal Security Committee, Hearings on the Institute of Pacific Relations, p. 437
15. "Institute of Pacific Relations fonds". University of British Columbia Archives. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
16. Jump up to:a b Holland, William L., Remembering the Institute of Pacific Relations, 1995.
17. Woods, Lawrence Timothy (1993). "The Pacific Basin Economic Council". Asia-Pacific Diplomacy: Nongovernmental Organizations and International Relations. UBC Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-7748-0440-8.



• “Pacific Affairs through War and Peace”, Official Pacific Affairs website at The University of British Columbia.
• Holland, William L. "Source Materials on the Institute of Pacific Relations". Pacific Affairs, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Spring 1985) pp. 91–97
• Hooper, Paul F. "The Institute of Pacific Relations and the Origins of Asian and Pacific Studies". Pacific Affairs, No. 61, No. 1 (Spring 1988) pp. 98–121
• Boyer, Paul S. “Institute of Pacific Relations”. The Oxford Companion to United States History. (Oxford University Press, 2001) ISBN 9780199891092. p. 387


• Thomas, John N. Institute of Pacific Relations: Asian Scholars and American Politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press (1974)
• Hooper, Paul F. Elusive Destiny: The Internationalist Movement in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press (1980) ISBN 9780824806316. 228 pages.
• Condliffe, John B. Reminiscences of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia (1981) 53 pages.
• Field, Frederick V. From Right to Left: An Autobiography. Westport, CN: Lawrence Hill (1983) ISBN 9780882081625. 321 pages.
• Hooper, Paul F. (ed). Rediscovering the IPR: Proceedings of the First International Research Conference on the Institute of Pacific Relations. Honolulu: Department of American Studies, University of Hawai'i at Manoa (1994) 142 pages.
• Hooper, Paul F. (ed). Remembering the Institute of Pacific Relations: The Memoirs of William L. Holland Tokyo: Ryukei Shyosha (1995) ISBN 9784844763819. 662 pages.
• Yamaoka, Michio (ed). The Institute of Pacific Relations: Pioneer International Non-Governmental Organization in the Asia-Pacific RegionTokyo: Waseda University, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies (1999)
• Akami, Tomoko. Internationalizing the Pacific: The United States, Japan, and the Institute of Pacific Relations in War and Peace, 1919-45. London; New York: Routledge (2002) ISBN 9781134600007. 361 pages.
• Hooper, Paul F. "The McCarthy Era and the Financial Crisis of the Institute of Pacific Relations," Towards the Construction of a New Discipline: International Conference Proceedings on the Re-evaluation of the Institute of Pacific Relations. Tokyo: Ronsosha (2005) pp. 146–51


• Anderson, Michael Richard. “Pacific Dreams: The Institute of Pacific Relations and the Struggle for the Mind of Asia”. University of Texas at Austin (August 2009)

Government records

• United, States (1951). Institute of Pacific Relations.: Hearings before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, Subcommittee Investigating the Institute of Pacific Relations, Eighty-Second Congress, First Session, Eighty-Second Congress, Second Session. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. HathiTrust Digital Library free online archive.
• National Archives and Records Administration, Senate Internal Security Subcommittee

See Also

• Amerasia
• Pacific Affairs
• Philip J. Jaffe
• William L. Holland
• Owen Lattimore
• Council on Foreign Relations

External links

• Pacific Affairs journal official website
• Institute of Pacific Relations in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
• Collected works at The Online Books Page
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:34 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/25/19

Amerasia was a journal of Far Eastern affairs best known for the 1940s "Amerasia Affair" in which several of its staff and their contacts were suspected of espionage and charged with unauthorized possession of government documents.


The journal was founded in 1937 by Frederick Vanderbilt Field,[1] who also chaired the editorial board,[2] and Philip Jaffe, a naturalized American born in Russia. It was edited by Jaffe and Kate L. Mitchell.[3] Field was the publication's chief financial backer. Jaffe was a friend of Earl Browder, general secretary of the Communist Party of the United States. The journal's staffers and writers included a number Communists or former Communists, including Chi Ch'ao-ting, and at one time Joseph Milton Bernstein, who has been alleged to be a Soviet agent. The journal had a small circulation and sold for fifteen cents a copy.[4] It ceased publication in 1947.[5]

Government documents case

Kenneth Wells, an analyst for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), noticed that an article printed in the January 26, 1945, issue of Amerasia was almost identical to a 1944 report he had written on Thailand.[6] OSS agents investigated by breaking into the New York offices of Amerasia on March 11, 1945, where they found hundreds of classified documents from the Department of State, the Navy, and the OSS.

The OSS notified the State Department, which asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate. The FBI's investigation indicated that Jaffe and Mitchell had probably obtained the documents from Emanuel Larsen, a State Department employee, and Andrew Roth, a lieutenant with the Office of Naval Intelligence. Other suspects include freelance reporter Mark Gayn, whose coverage of the war in Asia appeared regularly in Collier's and Time magazine,[7] and State Department "China Hand" John S. Service.

FBI surveillance established that Jaffe met with Service several times in Washington and New York and reported that at one meeting "Service, according to the microphone surveillance, apparently gave Jaffe a document which dealt with matters the Chinese had furnished to the United States government in confidence."[8]

An FBI summary reported that Jaffe visited the Soviet consulate in New York and that two days after a meeting with Service, Jaffe had a four-hour meeting in his home with Communist Party Secretary Earl Browder and
Tung Pi-wu, the Chinese Communist representative to the United Nations Charter Conference.[9]

In carrying out its investigation, the FBI broke into the offices of Amerasia and the homes of Gayn and Larsen and installed bugs and phone taps.

On June 6, 1945, the FBI arrested Jaffe, Mitchell, Larsen, Roth, Gayn and Service.[10] Simultaneously, the Amerasia offices were raided and 1,700 classified State Department, Navy, OSS, and Office of War Information documents were seized.

Because no evidence was found indicating that any documents had been forwarded directly to a foreign power, the Justice Department decided not to seek an indictment under the Espionage Act. Instead, it sought to indict the six for unauthorized possession and transmittal of government documents. Service, the only State Department officer arrested, had given Jaffe approximately eight documents, copies of his own reports on conditions in China, that represented non-sensitive intelligence that diplomats routinely shared with journalists. The grand jury voted unanimously against indicting him.[11]

The grand jury indicted Jaffe, Larsen, and Roth. Before the trial began, Larsen's defense attorney learned of the FBI's illegal break-in at Larsen's home. The Justice Department, fearing a loss at trial if evidence were excluded because it was obtained illegally, arranged a deal. Jaffe agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $2,500, while Larsen pleaded no contest and was fined $500. The charges against Roth were dropped.

Congressional investigations

The "Amerasia Affair" became a touchstone for those who wanted to raise alarms about espionage and the possible Communist infiltration of the State Department. Senator Joseph McCarthy often spoke of the case in these terms, maintaining it was a security breach and cover-up of immense proportions.[12]

In 1946, a House Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Rep. Samuel F. Hobbs and, in 1950, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees, commonly known as the Tydings Committee, investigated the Amerasia case. In 1955, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee sought the Amerasia materials from the Justice Department. The records were declassified and the Justice Department delivered 1,260 documents to the Subcommittee in 1956 and 1957.

The Senate Internal Security Subcommittee published a two-volume report, The Amerasia Papers: A Clue to the Catastrophe of China, in 1970. It ascribed the communist revolution in China in part to the Communist sympathies of the Chinese policy experts in the Foreign Service, known as the "China Hands".

See also

• Institute of Pacific Relations
• Espionage Act of 1917


1. "Frederick Vanderbilt Field". The Guardian. February 16, 2000. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
2. FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, Internal Security – C, November 4, 1944 (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 1[permanent dead link], PDF p. 45)
3. Klehr and Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case, 44
4. Klehr and Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case, 3
5. Yuwu Song (July 18, 2006). Encyclopedia of Chinese-American Relations. McFarland. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-7864-9164-3. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
6. Klehr and Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case, 28ff.
7. Klehr and Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case, 50ff.
8. Report of the United States Senate Subcommittee on the Investigation of Loyalty of State Department Employees, 1950, appendix, p. 2051.
9. FBI Amerasia file, Section 52.
10. New York Times: "FBI Seizes 6 as Spies, , Two in State Dept.", June 7, 1945, accessed April 19, 2011
11. Robert P. Newman, The Cold War Romance of Lillian Helman and John Melby (University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 68
12. M. Stanton Evans, McCarthyism: Waging the Cold War in America, Human Events, May 8, 2003.

Further reading

• Klehr, Harvey; Radosh, Ronald (1996). The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2245-0.
• Service, John S. (1971). The Amerasia Papers: Some Problems in the History of US-China Relations. Center for Chinese Studies.
• Cox, John Stuart; Theoharis, Athan G. (1988). The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition. Temple University Press. ISBN 0-87722-532-X.
• Senate Internal Security Subcommittee (1970). The Amerasia papers: A Clue to the Catastrophe of China. U.S. Government Printing Office.
• National Archives, Records of the Committee on the Judiciary and Related Committees
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:45 am

Frederick Vanderbilt Field
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/25/19



Frederick Vanderbilt Field
Born: April 13, 1905
Died: February 1, 2000 (aged 94), Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nationality: American
EducationL Hotchkiss School (1923)[1], Harvard University (1927), London School of Economics
Parent(s): William Osgood Field, Lila Vanderbilt Sloane
Relatives: Cornelius Vanderbilt (great-great-grandfather)
Samuel Osgood (ancestor)
Cyrus Field (ancestor)

Frederick Vanderbilt Field (April 13, 1905 – February 1, 2000) was an American leftist political activist and a great-great-grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, disinherited by his wealthy relatives for his radical political views. Field became a specialist on Asia and was a prime staff member and supporter of the Institute of Pacific Relations. He also supported Henry Wallace's Progressive Party and so many openly Communist organizations that he was accused of being a member of the Communist Party.[1] He was a top target of the American government during the peak of 1950s McCarthyism. Field denied ever having been a party member but admitted in his memoirs, "I suppose I was what the Party called a 'member at large.'"[2]

Early years

Field was born on April 13, 1905, a scion of the wealthy Vanderbilt family and a descendant of Corneilus Vanderbilt.[1] A 1923 graduate of the private Hotchkiss School, Field went on to attend Harvard University, where he participated in undergraduate life as chief editor of The Harvard Crimson and a member of the Hasty Pudding Club.[1] Matriculating in 1927, Field spent a year at the London School of Economics, where he was exposed to the ideas of Harold Laski, the Fabian socialist political theorist, economist, and writer.[1]

[Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.] was fond of a certain slogan, and in June of 1922 he repeated it to British scholar and future Labor Party Chairman Harold J. Laski. "As I have said, no doubt, often, it seems to me that all society rests on the death of men. If you don't kill 'em one way you kill 'em another -- or prevent their being born." He added, "Is not the present time an illustration of Malthus?" [125]

In 1926, Holmes again confided to Laski, "In cases of difference between oneself and another there is nothing to do except in unimportant matters to think ill of him and in important ones to kill him." [126] Shortly thereafter, Holmes wrote Laski, "We look at our fellow men with sympathy but nature looks at them as she looks at flies .... " [127]

-- War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race, by Edwin Black

Freda, along with many October Club stalwarts, had started out as a member of the Labour Club and then gravitated towards the breakaway group. 'The idealism of our generation was the idealism of helping the underprivileged,' she recalled. 'If the Labour Club to which I belonged ... had any meaning, it was showing that we cared if people hadn't got enough food when they took the government dole, and we did care if the hunger marchers went all the way from Reading to London, we cared if there were children in the slums with no shoes and that children hadn't got enough food.' Her years in Oxford, she said, were 'radical years ... we used to attend all the clubs like the Labour Club and later on the more extreme October Club ... The whole atmosphere was electric with social demands and social change. We were, as it were, the Depression generation.' [38] Both Freda and Bedi attended the socialist G.D.H. Cole's lectures and Harold Laski's seminars on Marx and -- in a joint activity which served to demonstrate both their intellectual and personal compatibility -- they scoured the British Library to track down Marx's journalism about India.

-- 2: The Gates of the World. The Lives of Freda: The Political, Spiritual and Personal Journeys of Freda Bedi -- EXCERPT, by Andrew Whitehead

First coming into politics as a supporter of the Democratic Party after returning to the United States, he was disillusioned by the Democrats' unwillingness to take a more uncompromising position toward social reform and endorsed Norman Thomas, the Socialist presidential candidate in 1928 and became a member of the Socialist Party. Having attracted significant attention as an unlikely endorsement for Norman Thomas, Field was cut off without a penny by Frederick William Vanderbilt, his great-uncle, from whom he had been promised an estimated fortune of more than $70 million.[1]

Institute of Pacific Relations and radical politics

Upon Field's return from England in 1928, Edward Clark Carter of the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR) introduced him to Y.C. James Yen, who was then in the United States to raise money for his Chinese Mass Education Movement. After touring the country as Yen's personal assistant, Field joined the IPR, a group that brought together government and non-governmental elites to study problems of the Pacific rim nations, as an assistant to Carter. Field "took no pay; he was, in fact, one of the institute's most generous contributors."[3] He published several reference works on the Asian economy and organized conferences and publications.

As he grew older, his politics became more radical. He described the IPR as "a bourgeois research-educational organization" funded by the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations and some of the biggest corporations in the US, which he claimed subsidized his publication of proposals "as anticapitalistic as the articles he wrote for The New Masses and The Daily Worker."[4] New Masses was identified by one scholar as the "semi-official spokesman of Communist letters"[5] He was also Executive Vice-President of the Council for Pan American Democracy, which John Dewey's Committee for Cultural Freedom alleged in 1940 was under "outright communist control"[6] and Provisional secretary of the Board of Directors for the Jefferson School of Social Science, associated with the Communist Party.[7]

He wrote a memo cautioning Owen Lattimore, editor of the IPR quarterly Pacific Affairs, with regard to a certain article that "the analysis is a straight Marxist one and... should not be altered."[8] He donated money and time to Communist causes in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,[1] and during the war, he generously donated money to organizations close to the Soviet Union.[9]

In his autobiography, Field confesses that during this period he "uncritically accepted" Soviet accounts of their political purges and that was "taken in." "Stalin was infallible," he recalled. "[A]ll my Communist surroundings told me so. So was [American Communist Party Secretary Earl] Browder, although on a lower level of sanctity, and so were the other CP [Communist Party] leaders."

At a time when other erstwhile loyal friends of the Soviet Union were becoming disillusioned by Stalin's Great Purge, Field defended the Moscow Trials "because Comrade Stalin says so, we have to believe the trials are just."[10]

Since the IPR aimed to be nonpartisan and, in theory, still attempted to include even the Japanese point of view, he collaborated with his friend Philip Jaffe to set up the journal Amerasia in 1937 as a vehicle for criticism of Japanese attacks in China. Jaffe later pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to embezzle, steal and purloin" government property after Office of Strategic Services and FBI investigators found hundreds of government documents, many labeled "secret," "top secret," or "confidential," in the magazine's offices.[11]

In 1941, he left his position at the IPR but served as a trustee until 1947.[12] Field attended the 1945 United Nations founding conference in San Francisco as an IPR representative, and also as a writer for the Daily Worker.[13]

American Peace Mobilization

In 1940, Field became executive secretary of the American Peace Mobilization (APM), a position for which he had been recruited by Earl Browder himself. "Some time before the APM was formally organized," wrote Field, "Earl Browder asked me if I would accept the executive secretaryship if it were offered me."[14] At APM, Field emerged as a committed pacifist, demanding that the United States stay out of the war in Europe, at least while the Hitler-Stalin pact lasted.[15] His reasoning, as he would explain in his autobiography, was that "the European war in those early stages was one between rival imperialists, the British Empire and the Nazi Reich."[16] By summer of the following year, however, Field came to a complete turnaround: on June 20, 1941, in his capacity as executive secretary, he suddenly called off the organization's "peace picketing" of the White House[17] reversing himself to demand immediate war on Germany[18] – just two days later, Nazi Germany would launch its surprise invasion of the Soviet Union.

According to the McCarran Committee's IPR Report, Lattimore, along with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Administrative Assistant Lauchlin Currie (identified in the Venona decrypts as the Soviets' White House source codenamed "Page"),[19] tried in 1942 to get Field a commission in military intelligence,[20] but, unlike Duncan Lee (Venona code name "Koch"), Maurice Halperin ("Hare"), Julius Joseph ("Cautious"),[21] Carl Marzani, Franz Neumann ("Ruff"),[22] Helen Tenney ("Muse"), and Donald Wheeler ("Izra"), all of whom got into the OSS, Field was rejected as a security risk.[1]

In 1944, dissident IPR member Alfred Kohlberg submitted to IPR Secretary General Edward C. Carter an 88-page analysis alleging that the institute had been infiltrated by pro-Communist elements. Among other things, Kohlberg alleged that Field was a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party.[23] In 1945, former Soviet spy Elizabeth Bentley told FBI investigators that she had attended a conference in Field's home earlier that year.[24] Also present, she alleged, were Browder, John Hazard Reynolds, head of the United States Service and Shipping Corporation (a Comintern front organization for Soviet espionage activities)[25] and "Ray" Elson (Identified in the "Gorsky memo" under the cover name "Irma")[26]

In 1945 Field was one of the founding members of the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy, which tried to influence US policy to stop supporting the Kuomintang government in China, and after 1949 to recognize the People's Republic of China.[27]

On April 22, 1948, Louis Budenz, former managing editor of the Daily Worker, advised FBI investigators, "Field is a Communist Party member."[28] In 1949, Field identified himself in Political Affairs as an "American Communist."[29]

Anti-colonialism and Pan-Africanism

Vanderbilt Field was the main donor to the Council on African Affairs, an anti-colonialist and Pan-African organization.[30]

Civil rights activities

Field took an active role in the operation of the Civil Rights Congress, a leftist group of civil rights advocates formed from the merger of the International Labor Defense (ILD), the National Negro Congress, and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties in Detroit in 1946. The organization concentrated on legal action and political protest, notably publicizing the 1955 lynching of 14-year-old boy Emmett Till and publishing the 1951 document We Charge Genocide. It also helped to pioneer many of the tactics that would be employed by later civil rights workers.[1][31] Field simultaneously acted as both secretary and trustee of the Civil Rights Congress bail fund.[1]

Tydings Committee

In 1950, Budenz testified before the Tydings Committee to personal knowledge that Field was a Soviet espionage agent.[32] Questioned, Field refused to answer on grounds of potential self-incrimination.[33] The following year, former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers testified before the McCarran Committee that NKVD "handler" J. Peters told him, in 1937, that Field was a member of the Communist underground.[34] Herbert Romerstein, former head of the office to Counter Soviet Disinformation at the United States Information Agency, and the late Eric Breindel placed Field in the GRU apparat, alleging that he "was an agent of Soviet military intelligence."[35]

Yet, writers Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya, examining the archives in an article of The American Scholar, disagree:

Documents show that he was in contact with various Soviet representatives in the United States beginning in early 1935. Some of these interactions may be described as 'active measures' on behalf of the Soviet Union. Still, what we know does not prove that Field was a full-blown Soviet agent.[36]

As secretary of the Civil Rights Congress bail fund, Field refused to reveal who had put up bond for eight Communist Party officials, who had jumped bail and disappeared after being convicted by the Truman administration Department of Justice for violations of the Smith Act. Convicted of contempt of court since he would not provide the names of any of his Communist friends, Field served two months of a 90-day sentence in federal prison at Ashland, Kentucky, in 1951.[1]

Mexican exile

Field at one point moved with his wife to Mexico in a "self-imposed exile", but he kept up many of his associations. A 1962 visit by Marilyn Monroe was monitored by the FBI out of concern over the actress's connections to Communism, and a "mutual infatuation" between her and Field concerned both "some in her inner circle, including her therapist", according to investigators' files. There was "dismay among her entourage and also among the (American Communist Group in Mexico)." Those file notations were kept redacted until a FOIA request in 2012.[37]


He died on February 1, 2000 at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis, where he had been living since his return from Mexico in 1983.[1]

Published works

Books and Scholarly Publications

• From Right to Left: An Autobiography (Lawrence Hill, 1983)
• Thoughts on the Meaning and Use of Pre-Hispanic Mexican Sellos (Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, 1967)
• China's Greatest Crisis (New Century Publishers, 1945)
• China's Capacity for Resistance (American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, 1937)
• Economic Handbook of the Pacific Area (Doubleday, 1934)
• American Participation in the China Consortiums (Pub. for the American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations by the University of Chicago Press, 1931)


1. Nemy, Enid (February 7, 2000). "Frederick Vanderbilt Field, Wealthy Leftist, Dies at 94". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-11. Frederick Vanderbilt Field, who supported Communist causes in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s and was once described as the Reds' pet blueblood, died Feb. 1 at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis.
2. Field, Frederick V. From Right to Left. p. 169.
3. "Life of an Angel". Time. January 9, 1950. Retrieved 2008-05-11. Frederick Vanderbilt Field was news the day he was born, Apr. 15, 1905. He was a great-great grandson of Railroad Builder Cornelius Vanderbilt, marked by destiny and carefully drawn wills to be a man of wealth and solid respectability.
4. Ibid.*
5. James Burkhart Gilbert, Writers and Partisans: A History of Literary Radicalism in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992) ISBN 0-231-08254-1, p. 106
6. Eugene Lyons, The Red Decade: The Stalinist Penetration of America (Indianapolis: The Bobbs Merill Company, 1941), p. 376
7. Guide to the Jefferson School of Social Science
8. "Absent-Minded Professor?" Time, March 10, 1952
9. Bird and Chervonnaya, Op. cit. Archived 2007-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
10. Field, From Right to Left pp. 172–173.
11. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996) ISBN 0-8078-2245-0, p. 38–39, 131.
12. Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Security Laws, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Interlocking Subversion in Government Departments, (Washington: U S Government Printing Office, 1954), pp. 8–10
13. FBI Report: Southern California Division, American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, June 13, 1947, p. 3 Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 3, PDF p. 4)
14. Field, From Right to Lewft
15. "Picketers Picketed," Time, June 2, 1941
16. Field, From Right to Left
17. "White House Pickets Stop At 1,029 Hours," Washington Post, June 22, 1941
18. "Purely for Peace," Time, July 14, 1941
19. Robert J. Hanyok, "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust, 1939–1945" (Washington, DC: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency, 2005, 2nd Ed.), p. 119 (PDF page 124)
20. M. Stanton Evans, "McCarthyism: Waging the Cold War in America Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine," Human Events, May 30, 1997
21. Lee, Halperin and Joseph are identified in Venona decrypt 880 KGB New York to Moscow, June 8, 1943, p. 1 Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
22. "Alexander Vassiliev’s Own Translation of his Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine," October 2005
23. FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, Internal Security–C, July 22, 1949, p. 9 (IPR file, Section 4[permanent dead link], PDF p. 11)
24. FBI Report: Underground Soviet Espionage Organization (NKVD) in Agencies of the United States Government[permanent dead link], October 21, 1946 (Silvermaster file, Vol. 82), p. 221
25. Lauren Kessler, Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who Ushered in the McCarthy Era (New York: HarperCollins, 2003) ISBN 0-06-095973-8, p. 77
26. Alexander Vassiliev, Op. cit. Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
27. Garner, Karen (2009-06-01), Precious Fire: Maud Russell and the Chinese Revolution, Univ of Massachusetts Press, ISBN 1-55849-754-4, retrieved 2016-03-14
28. FBI Report: Institute of Pacific Relations, Internal Security–C, p.5 (FBI file: Institute of Pacific Relations, Section 4[permanent dead link], PDF p. 7)
29. Edward M. Collins, Myth, Manifesto, Meltdown: Communist Strategy, 1848–1991 (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger/Greenwood, 1998), p. 55 ISBN 0-275-95938-4
30. Nixon, Ron (2016). South Africa's Global Propaganda War. London, U.K.: Pluto Press. p. 10. ISBN 9780745399140. OCLC 959031269.
31. Salter, Daren. "Civil Rights Congress (1946–1956)". African American History. Quintard Taylor, Editor. Remembered & Reclaimed. ... -1946-1956
32. "Of Cells & Onionskins," Time, May 1, 1950
33. "In the Dark," Time May 8, 1950
34. Romerstein and Breindel, Op. cit., p. 433
35. Ibid., p. 57
36. Bird, Kai, and Svetlana Chervonnaya. "The Mystery of Ales". The American Scholar (Summer 2007). Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. Retrieved 3 April 2009. ... -bird.html
37. Anthony McCartney (2012-12-28). "FBI removes many redactions in Marilyn Monroe file". Associated Press. Retrieved 2012-12-28.

Further reading

• Frederick Vanderbilt Field, From Right to Left: An Autobiography (Westport, Conn.: L. Hill, 1983). vii, 321p.
• FBI Silvermaster File
• Whittaker Chambers, Witness (New York: Random House, 1952), 382

External links

• Vassiliev, Alexander (2003), Alexander Vassiliev’s Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks, retrieved 2012-04-21
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 7:28 am

Namji Steinemann
by East-West Center
Accessed: 8/26/19




Director, AsiaPacificEd Program for Schools
Phone: 808.944.7596
Fax: 808.944.7070
Area of Expertise: K-12 education on Asia and the Pacific region; Policy and curriculum issues for improved Asia Pacific-related education; Asian American history and related issues

Namji Steinemann is associate director of the EWC Education Program and directs the AsiaPacificEd Program, a national program that helps K-12 schools meet curriculum, assessment and instructional needs concerning the Asia Pacific region. She is the former vice president of the Asia Society’s Education Program and the chief architect of the Society’s Asia in the Schools program. She also served as executive director of the National Commission on Asia in the Schools. Formerly, Steinemann was a Peace Corps teacher in Thailand. She currently serves on the editorial board of Education About Asia, and is active in the National Council for Social Studies Teacher Education and Professional Development committees, and the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection Subcommittee. She is a graduate of East Carolina University and has lived in Korea, Thailand and France.
Site Admin
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:09 am

Heather Clydesdale, PHD: Curriculum Vitae
by Heather Clydesdale




Heather Clydesdale
Academic Year Adjunct Lecturer
Educational Background: PhD Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York, NY,
MA Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
BA Art History and Chinese Literature, University of Washington & Year Abroad, Peking University, Bejing, People's Republic of China
ARTH 11A & 12A C&I China on the Silk Roads
ARTH 26 Art! Making China Modern
ARTH 66 Fabricating Nature in East Asia
ARTH 166 From Emaki to Manga
Phone 1-408-551-3350
Location Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History

-- Heather Clydesdale, by Santa Clara University, Department of Art and Art History


PhD Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York, NY, May 2016
Dissertation: “The Jiuquan Tombs: Reordering Art and Ideas on China’s Frontier” Advisor: Robert E. Harrist, Jr.

M Phil Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, 2002
Oral exams on early Chinese and Japanese art

MA Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University 1994

BA Art History and Chinese Literature, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 1993
Peking University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 1990-1991


Adjunct Lecturer, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 2017-present
Courses include a freshman sequence, China on the Silk Roads, along with Art! Making China Modern and Fabricating Nature in East Asian Art.

Instructor, Columbia University, New York, NY 2017
Summer seminar titled, Outliers: How the Frontier Shaped Early Chinese Art and Culture.

Writer and Curriculum Developer, 2006-2017
Author of essays, curricular materials and digital content related to Asia and art for the East-West Center in Honolulu, Asia Society in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Timeline of Art History, and the Portland Japanese Garden.

Assistant Director for Curriculum Development, Asia Society, New York, NY 2000-2001
Supervised design, budget, and workflow across a range of K-12 multimedia and teaching programs.

Program Associate, Asia Society, 1999-2000
Oversaw all aspects of various educational programs, including Tune in Korea videos.

Project Manager, Asia Society, 1998-1999
Coordinated the N.E.H.-supported Journeys Along the Silk Roads prototype CD-ROM, working with the academic advisory team, technology experts, educators, and museums worldwide.


Instructor, Columbia University, Summer 2017
Organized and will teach a seminar titled, Outliers: How the Frontier Shaped Early Chinese Art and Culture.

Adjunct Instructor, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, 1997
Organized and taught an undergraduate course on the Art of the Western World.

Preceptor, Columbia University, 1996-1997
Organized and taught semester-long undergraduate courses on Western Art Humanities.

Teaching Assistant, Asian Art Humanities, Columbia University, 1996


Weinig Research and Travel Grant (Shaanxi, Ningxia, and Gansu), 1998
Mellon Fellowship for Dissertation Research, Columbia University, 1997-98
Weinig Research and Travel Grant (Xinjiang, Gansu, Henan, and Shanxi), 1995
President’s Fellowship, Columbia University, 1994-96
Phi Beta Kappa, University of Washington, 1993


Modern Standard Chinese (speaking, reading, and writing)
Classical Chinese (reading and translation)
Japanese (some speaking and reading)
French (some reading)


Board of Directors and Chair of Governance Committee, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, OR, 2011-2015

Translation and annotation of Yuwen 《语文》textbooks, pre-K through fourth grade, The International School, Portland, OR 2007-2010

Reviewer, Goldman Sachs Foundation Youth Prizes for Excellence in International Education, New York, NY 2007

Volunteer Editor, Oregon’s Future public policy magazine, Portland, OR 2005

Executive Committee and Board, League of Women Voters of Portland, OR 2003-2005


Association of Asian Studies
College Art Association


Asia Society articles and stories are on my author page on the Asia Society website: <>.


“Buried Towers: The Screen Wall and Artistic Innovation,” Art and Archaeology of the Silk Roads Conference, Portland State University, Portland, OR (October 11-13).

“An Ancient Practice is Uncloaked in an Early Six Dynasties Tomb Painting,” colloquium, Columbia University, New York, NY (March 10).

“Views of the Frontier in a Time of Fragmentation,” invited talk, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR (February 9).


“Paintings Excavated in Western China Reveal a Bold Frontier,” invited talk, Portland State University, Portland, OR.

Youth Voices: Virtual Exchange and resources for Think Tank, Opportunities, and Curriculum Sourcebook, as part of an online project to engage educators and youth in global environmental action. Created and funded by the East West Center in Honolulu and the International Union for the Conservancy of Nature, <>.

Portland Japanese Garden’s 2016 Model Garden Training Seminar: Essays and appendices on Japanese tea ceremony, garden design and architecture, aesthetics, and historical as well as contemporary significance.

Asia Society articles: “A Focus on Fun Spurs Learning,” and forthcoming: “World Language Teachers Find Familiar Ground with the Common Core” and “Will Chinese Language Educators Answer the Community College Challenge?”


“An Ideal Setting: Framing Womanly Paragons in Ming Dynasty Gardens,” invited talk at Land Su Chinese Garden, Portland, OR.

Asia Society articles: “Exploring Islam in China,” “Students Experience the Breadth of China,” “Virtual Exchanges Strengthen Skills and Forge Friendships,” “Robust Support for Teachers Pays Rich Dividends to Schools and Students,” “Weeding Out Errors Helps Language Bloom.”


Asia Society articles: “Simple Machine: Flipping the Classroom Propels Learning,” “Flipped Learning in Motion,” Upriver at Qingming: An Excellent Adventure,” “Flagship Participants Find Their Voice (and Future) in Chinese,” “What’s in Your Toolbox? Ten Implements to Improve Teaching,” and “Calibrating Content and Language in the Immersion Class.”


Asia Society articles: “Destination: Immersion,” “Wave of the Future,” Forward Motion: Advancing Ideas through Film,” “Combing Math and Chinese Immersion Multiplies Benefits,” To Grow Good Writers, Feed Them Great Literature,” “Radicals Reveal the Order of Chinese Characters,” “Language Learning in the Age of the Common Core,” “Mastering the Art of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language.”

Republic of Korea-USA Teacher Exchange, East-West Center. Assisted in developing a program website for participants of the ROK-USA Teacher Exchange for advancing teachers’ global competence.
Funded by the Asia-Pacific Center of Education for International Understanding under the auspices of UNESCO and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea, <>.

Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program, East-West Center. Consolidated program websites, created navigation and drafted text for this program funded by the US Department of State and the Partnership for Youth Program, <>.


China and Globalization, Asia Society. Consulted on and developed content for this online resource that combines language and culture, and was funded by the US Department of Education, <>.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Curriculum Sourcebook: A Teaching Resource for Primary and Secondary Schools to Foster an Outward-Looking, Stable, Peaceful, and Prosperous ASEAN Community, East-West Center. Helped formulate and refine ASEAN Curriculum submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat; contributed to design and formation of thematic matrix, curricular modules, lesson plans, and editing of the Sourcebook, which was published in 2012 with the support of Ministers of Education in ASEAN nations, all of whom pledged to implement in their countries’ schools. Funded by US Agency for International Development.

At the Crossroads: Southeast Asia in World War II, East-West Center. Assisted with thematic architecture, content organization, and wrote copy for this weblog, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, < southeast-asia>.

Leading Green: Shaping Sustainable Schools and Communities, East-West Center. Helped design this weblog, including creating thematic structure and organization, and writing copy for the Southeast Asia Youth Leadership Program, which was funded by the Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau of the US Department of State, <>.

Asia Society articles: “Sprechen Sie Chinesisch? The German Language Convinces Teachers to Immerse Their Classes in Chinese,” “Global Vision: Education Aligns to a New World Order,” “On the Loose: Combining Subjects Invigorates Teaching,” “Revelations from the Brush: A Session with a Master Calligrapher,” an “Upend Convention to Construct Thematic Units.”


“Art as Inquiry: Animating Language and History,” (Presentation), National Chinese Language Conference, April 15, San Francisco.

Asia Society articles: “The Arts as Inquiry: Animating Language and Learning,” “In Step: Pairing Chinese Language with Culture in the Classroom,” and “China All Around: Resources for Introducing China Across the Curriculum.”

AsiaPacificEd Crossings, East-West Center. Helped create thematic structure, organize content, and write copy for this weblog to highlight their AsiaPacificEd’s K-12 programs,

Open Channels on AsiaPacificEd Crossings weblog, East-West Center. This program engaged children across the Asia Pacific to report on the environment in their local communities. Content was organized and copy was written as materials came in during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting for APEC Leaders Week, which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii in November, ... -channels/.

East-West Consortium for Schools Leading Change: A Partnership of China’s Ministry of Education and the East-West Center. Created webquests and workshop materials; translated participant reflections from Chinese to English for this program to bring teachers and administrators from across China to elevate leadership and teaching with the goal of strengthening education in China.

Vantages on Pearl Harbor, East-West Center. Formulated organizational and thematic structure, and wrote introductory material for the weblog for educational materials and resources related to the six years of East-West Center’s National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on Pearl Harbor: History, Memory, Memorial.


“The Language of Literati Painting,” (invited talk), National Chinese Language Conference, Washington D.C. April, 24.

“Connecting Regions to Learn About China,” (invited talk), National Chinese Language Conference, Washington D.C. April, 24.

Asia Society articles: “California Points to a New Frontier: World Language Education,” “Immersion Teachers Work Backwards So Students Can Go with the Flow,” “Go Global! Classroom Adventures in New Media,” “Teamwork is What It Takes,” and “Building a Corps of Chinese Language Teachers for American Schools.”


“The Vibrant Role of Mingqi in Early Chinese Burials.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, <>.

“Internationalism in the Tang Dynasty.” Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, <>.

Asia Society articles: “China Calling: Why Educational Leaders Should Go,” “How to Forge Partnerships with Schools in China,” “A Tour of China's Cities,” (interactive map and game) and “Field Trip of Dreams: Bringing the World to Your Classroom Through Film.”

Asia Society stories: “The Mahabharata,” <> and “Lady Wenji’s Lament,” <>.


“The Gift of a Bottle: How the Fullers Turned a Family Collection into the Seattle Art Museum,” The Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, vol. 39, no. 2 (Autumn, 2008), 4-15. Also translated into Chinese and published online.


Asia Society articles: “Japan: Voices from the A-Bomb Blast;” (Co-written with Kajal Shaw), “Microfinance: Seeds of Change,” “Micro vs. Mandarin,” and “Women: The Micro-Mystique.” Prep Talk Interview series: “Discovering China through Youth,” “Approaching China through the Generation Gap,” “Unmasking China through Theater,” “Uncovering China through Rural Life,” “Exploring China through the Experiences of Migrant Workers.

Asia Society series on holidays: “A Climb to Joy: Thaipusam in Malaysia,” “Kites Galore! Basant in Pakistan,” “Hari Raya in Indonesia,” “Dreaming of a Bright Christmas in Australia,” “Celebrating Small Fry: Kodomo-no-hi in Japan,” “Dragons Ahoy! Duan Wu in China,” “Flip, Zip, Aim! Naadam in Mongolia”, “Giving Thanks Under the Autumn Moon: Chuseok in Korea,” “Sparkle and Glow: Diwali in India,” “Bring on the Spring! Nowruz in Iran.” <>.”


Asia Society articles: “Urban Life: Cities on the Rise,” “Shanghai: Metropolitan Idol,” “Singapore: Tough Love in the Nanny State,” “Pandemics: Globalization Bites,” “Deadly Secrets: China and HIV/AIDS,” “Close Calls: The Story of SARS,” “The Copycat Cure: Affordable Medicines,” “Global Climate Change: Face Off with the Future,” “Bangladesh: In the Eye of the Storm,” and “Japan: Who Ate Kyoto?” (Co-written with Janie Dam): “Nuclear Asia: Has the World Gone M.A.D.?” and “North Korea: This is Not About a Test.””

My City Our World workshop materials including: “Sister Cities: What do New York and Shanghai Have in Common?” “Urban Dreams: Why do People Move to the City?” “My City: What is Life Like in New York and Shanghai?” “Urban Legends: What do People Say About Your City?” and “Cities of the Future: How Can Youth Change the City?”


Catalogue entries for Ancient Art from the Shumei Family Collection (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art).


Researched and wrote exhibition panels on imperial Chinese textiles at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:17 am

Heather Clydesdale: Deep Inside Tombs and Eastern Philosophy
by Voices of Santa Clara




Ep. 58

Heather Clydesdale is an adjunct lecturer in art history, focusing on Chinese art history. She responded to one of my emails saying, “I have had adventures in China—my research (3rd century tombs in the far west of China) takes me to remote places, some epic landscapes, and deep underground to multi-chambered tombs (some with bats and mummies).”

Dr. Clydesdale got a Ph.D. in Archaeology and Art History from Colombia, and teaches several classes with fascinating titles: “China on the Silk Roads,” “Art! Making China Modern (19th-21st century art and politics)” and “Fabricating Nature (philosophy, painting and landscape design in China, Korea, and Japan).”

In this conversation, we dive deep into Dr. Clydesdale’s adventures across China and India; what Americans can learn from Eastern cultures and philosophies; the value of learning another language; and navigating tradition and innovation. ... philosophy
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:15 am

Tibet Society: Our Story
Accessed: 9/1/19



The girl named Karen, she had a book that supposedly was based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It was written by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, or later, Ram Dass -- right? The classic story of the 60s, I suppose. And I was so curious because of the extraordinary experience I had, that I wanted to find the original Tibetan Book of the Dead. So I went to this esoteric bookstore in London and I asked, “Do you have the Tibetan Book of the Dead?” They said, “Oh, no, no, it’s out of print. It’s been out of print for a while. But wait a minute, we have a used copy of another book in that same series that was edited by Evans-Wentz, it’s called ‘Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines.’ Would you be interested in that one?” And I said, “Okay, Let me have a look.” So I ended up buying this used copy of this book, “Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines.”

And it turned out it was all about the six yogas of Naropa, about which previously I knew nothing at all. And it somehow seemed really fascinating to me....

And actually, the book also said that, “You can’t hope to attain enlightenment unless you connect with a realized master in the practice lineage.” So then I was thinking, “Well, how on earth am I going to do that, because Tibet is on the other side of the planet, and I’m here in London, and I have no connection with anything to do with that.” But I began making the aspiration in my mind, “May I connect with a realized master in the practice lineage.”...

So one day in my mind I was making this aspiration, and I had this sudden thought come to my mind, “Go to the phone book and look up ‘Tibet.’” And I thought, “That’s crazy. What’s that going to do?” And I thought, “Yeah, yeah, but what have you got to lose?” So I went to the phone book, and I looked up “Tibet.” Now in London, there’s 12 million people, the phone book is in four volumes, but I looked up in the “T’s,” and there was only one entry that began with the word “Tibet.” And that was “The Tibet Society of the United Kingdom.”

So I saw that, and noted down the address -- I think it was 58 Eccleston Square -- and I didn’t think of phoning. I thought, “Well, I’ll go in person to see what happens.” ...

[S]o I got in the car, and I knew where Eccleston Square was, and I managed to find a parking place ... And it was sort of a Victorian townhome. And I went up the steps and there was a brass plate that said, “Buddhist Society.” And I thought, “Ha, that’s a good sign.” And underneath it it said, “Tibet Society.” So I pressed that bell push, the buzzer sounded, the door opened, and I went in


And there was an arrow pointing down to the basement. So I went down to the basement, full of anticipation that there was going to be something very esoteric -- I was sure about that – “Tibet Society!” And there was this middle-aged English woman with her hair in a bun, typing away on an old manual typewriter, looking at me at the top of her glasses and saying, “How can we help you?” And I said, “Well, tell me about the Tibet Society.” And she said, “Oh, it’s a charitable organization, raising money for Tibetan refugees in India. Would you care to make a donation?” I thought, “This is crazy.” And I think I gave her 10 shillings, and I was about to leave, thinking that this was a total waste of time. And at that moment, a young woman came in the door, and she kind of pulled me aside and she said, “If you don’t mind me asking, ‘what are you doing here’?” I said, “Well, it’s really hard to explain, but I’m really interested in the teachings of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism.” She said, “Oh, you know there are two Tibetan lamas in this country, and they belong to that Kagyu order.” And then she reached into her purse and she pulled out a photo, and she pointed to the one on the left and she said, “That’s Trungpa. That’s the one you want to meet.” I said, “Yes. Okay.” And then she proceeded to give me the address and phone number. They were living in Oxford....

And I rushed home, and I phoned the number in Oxford, and asked to speak to Venerable Trungpa, and someone with a weird foreign accent said, “Oh, he no here right now. Better you write to him.” And then they gave me an address of some place called Biddulph in Staffordshire, Biddulph Old Hall in Staffordshire.

-- Richard Arthure on Meeting Chogyam Trungpa, by The Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

The Tibet Society was founded shortly after his Holiness left Tibet in 1959 by a number of philanthropic souls in the UK, including Francis Beaufort-Palmer and Hugh Richardson. Initially, they had nowhere to house it, but Christmas Humphreys suggested that they come to Eccleston Square, where they set up their office in the basement.

-- The 90th Anniversary of The Buddhist Society 1924–2014, by The Buddhist Society


We've been having a bit of re-organise here in the office and, with kind help from volunteers Carole and Neil, we have unearthed some fascinating documents and photos dating all the way back to Tibet Relief Fund's beginnings in 1959. One such photo was of Francis Napier Beaufort-Palmer, the founder and first chairman of Tibet Relief Fund.

Mr. Beaufort-Palmer was a remarkable man with a strong sense of social justice and was particularly motivated by helping people in small countries who suffered at the hand of foreign powers. Following news of the Dalai Lama's escape from Tibet, in April 1959 he wrote a letter to The Times suggesting that a society be set up to support Tibet. In July, a further letter was sent to The Times informing readers that the newly formed Tibet Society had opened a "Tibet Relief Fund" to bring practical relief to Tibetan refugees; from this Tibet Relief Fund was established. Now, over 50 years later, our work covers a broader brief including projects inside Tibet.

Francis [Napier] Beaufort-Palmer was Chairman of Tibet Relief Fund for 15 years and remained a trustee until he died ten years later in 1984.




Sir. – Recent devastating events in Tibet caused over 15,000 Tibetans to cross the perilous Himalayas into India. It may be a long time before these unfortunate people can safely return to their overrun country. Our own consciences should allow us neither to neglect nor forget them.

The Indian Government has manfully coped with this addition to its own problems at home. In this country we are bound in honour to help relieve needs of the Tibetan refugees, because from 1905 to 1947 there was a special relationship between Tibet and the United Kingdom – a relationship handed on to the new India.

On balance we think it wisest to concentrate chiefly on collecting money which can be used for the benefit of the refugees, not least in the purchase of necessary antibiotics and other medicaments. The Tibet Society has opened a Tibet Relief Fund for which we now appeal in the hope of a generous response. Donations should be sent to the address below or direct to the National Bank Ltd. (Belgravia Branch), 21 Grosvenor Gardens, S.W.I.

Thubten Jigme Norbu; F.M. Bailey; Birdwood; J.D. Boyle; [Indian Foreign Secretary Sir] Olaf Caroe; Clement Davies; A.D. Dodds-Parker; Peter Fleming [Master of Deception: The Wartime Adventures of Peter Fleming, by Alan Ogden]; Thomas Moore; [Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere] Harmsworth; Marco Pallis; Hugh E. Richardson; Francis Napier Beaufort-Palmer, Chairman; Major J.C.W. Napier-Munn [Tac HQ Calcutta (Advanced HQ ALFSEA)], Hon. Secretary; D.C. Nicole, Hon. Treasurer, The Tibet Society.
The Tibet Relief Fund, 58 Eccleston Square, S.W. I., Letter to the Times, July 31, 1959, p.7./quote]

-- The Founding of Tibet Relief Fund, Tibet Matters, Issue 17, Autumn 2013, by Tibet Relief Fund

Tibet Society is the world’s first ever Tibet support group. The Society was founded in 1959, within weeks of the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet following the uprising against China’s occupation. Today, the organisation continues to work actively for the freedom of the Tibetan people and their right to self-determination.

All the founders of Tibet Society had personal knowledge of an independent and free Tibet, having either lived in Lhasa or had direct dealings with the Tibetan government.

Hugh Richardson, the British Representative in Tibet, was among the dignitaries who greeted the young Dalai Lama when, in 1939, aged just four, he first entered Lhasa. Heinrich Harrer, when in Lhasa in the 1940s, coached the Dalai Lama in English and maths. Robert Ford, who remained Vice President until his death in 2013, was captured and imprisoned for five years by the invading Chinese army in 1950 when serving as radio officer to the Tibetan Government. Well known High Court Judge and founder of the Buddhist Society, Christmas Humphreys, first met the Dalai Lama in 1956.

Our Board


Pempa Lobsang is the former Chairman of the Tibetan Community in Britain. Pempa is an active member of the Tibetan community and having served on the council for the community for over 7 years, he has intimate knowledge of the workings of the Tibetan community and is well placed to represent the views of the community and contribute to the work of The Society to benefit all Tibetans. Pempa is an alumnus of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village and a qualified accountant by profession. He currently works for an insurance company in the City as a Senior Accountant. He is also a keen footballer and is part of the London Tibetan Football Club.


Fredrick ‘Riki’ Hyde-Chambers is the former chairman of the Tibet Society of the UK and Hon President of the Tibet Relief Fund. He currently serves as a council member. He has been involved in the campaign for justice for Tibet all his adult life and has authored three books on Tibet: ‘Lama’ a novel published in seven countries; the ‘Mouse King’ with Yeshe published by Puffin’ ‘Tibetan Folktales’ with Audrey Hyde-Chambers published by Shambhala Publications. Professionally, he served for many years as Director of the Industry and Parliamentary Trust, receiving the OBE for services to Industry and Parliament, and is currently the Executive Chairman of Enterprise and Parliamentary Dialogue International which works in countries in transition, with a particular focus on Georgia and Africa. He is also Chairman of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Support Group.


Dalha Tsering is the current Chairman of the Tibetan Community in Britain.

Our Contributors

Newsletter Editor

Jenny has been a valued member of the Tibet Society for the last 30 years and in early 2018 decided to increase her support by producing a monthly Society newsletter. This ties in nicely with her role as Editor of Contact Magazine – a digest of Tibetan news and issues – which is published in India and online and is an excellent way to read the latest news about Tibet. Jenny is a regular visitor to McLeod Ganj, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, which keeps her up to date with what is going on in the Tibetan exile world. She lives in Shropshire.


Parliamentary Exchange Advocacy

Tibet Society is dedicated in its work to support Tibetan democracy and to offer opportunities for Tibetans to advocate directly to UK policy-makers and parliamentarians. To further this aim, the Society formed an innovative Parliamentary Exchange Programme.


Tibet Society has been running the exchange programme since 2007, and in addition to Tibetan MPs visiting Westminster, UK MPs have travelled to Dharamsala to observe the processes of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and forge a stronger understanding between British and Tibetan parliamentarians.

2019 Parliamentary Exchange Programme

Keep your eyes peeled for the Parliamentary Exchange planned for the early half of 2019!

2018 Parliamentary Exchange Programme

A cross-party delegation of MPs from the three largest parties in the UK travelled to the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamshala, northern India from 26-29 September 2018.

Rt Hon Tim Loughton MP (Conservative), Hon Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour) and Hon Chris Law MP (Scottish National Party) met His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay, to discuss the human rights situation in Tibet.


The three delegates also had a session with the Speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, Ven Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, as well as a session with Dhardon Sharling, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations, who was able to bring them up to date on the situation inside and outside Tibet, especially in relation to the international community whose support is so vital to the Tibetan cause.

The group took the opportunity to meet civil society groups who do so much for the Tibetan cause, and also visited cultural institutions which aim to preserve Tibetan culture, including the Norbulingka Institute, the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) and the Tibet Museum. Such institutions are crucial to document, preserve, research, exhibit and educate Tibetans and non-Tibetans on all matters related to Tibet’s history, culture and present situation.

Our 2009 Parliamentary Exchange Programme

In 2009, Tibet Society invited four Tibetan MPs to visit Westminster, giving them the chance to learn about British parliamentary processes first hand. In June 2009 Dolma Gyari, Ngawang Lhamo Kanang, Tsetan Norbu and Gyalrong Dawa Tsering formed a delegation from the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. As part of our Parliamentary exchange programme the MPs were in the UK to undertake a series of engagements and workshops. The busy schedule included workshops on media skills, devolution, the role of a modern MP, committee work and parliamentary scrutiny, plus observing Prime Minister’s Questions and an evidence session of the Scottish Affairs Committee. Importantly, the delegation also had opportunities to advocate for the Tibetan cause, and did so in meetings at the Foreign Office with the China & Hong Kong Desk and Asia Research Group; at Parliament with members of the Foreign Affairs Committee; with MPs at an All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet meeting and with the public at the Centre for Reconciliation and Peace. The delegation also met informally with peers such as Baroness Harris of Richmond, Lord Steel and Lord Alton and Chinese democracy activists in Westminster, and met with Tibet Society members at a reception at the Houses of Parliament. A lively question and answer session gave members of the Tibetan community a chance to put their views across to the MPs.


Tibet Society Attends Parliamentary Reception to Mark ‘The Future of Tibet, Heartland of Asia’ Exhibition at the Scottish Parliament


On 6 March, Tibet Society attended a Parliamentary Reception at the Scottish Parliament to mark the Exhibition ‘The Future of Tibet, Heartland of Asia’. The exhibition will run from 4-8 March 2019 in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament with the aim of raising awareness about the situation in Tibet and the importance of the region to the global environment.

It reception was hosted by Linda Fabiani MSP, Speaker of the Parliament, in conjunction with the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research.

The chair of the CPGT, Hon Linda Fabiani MSP, welcomed a four-member Tibetan Parliamentary delegation to the Scottish Parliament and expressed her support and that of her Parliamentary colleagues in the Cross Party Group to the issue of Tibet.

The Tibetan delegation, lead by the Deputy Speaker, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, are visiting the UK from 4-12 March and will be participating in a range of events to mark the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959.


In his address to the Parliamentary reception, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok called for the continued support of MSPs towards a peaceful resolution of the Tibet issue. The Deputy Speaker highlighted that after 60 years of Chinese occupation, Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet continue to fight tirelessly for their human rights and freedoms. He raised the case of Tibetan language advocate, Tashi Wangchuk, who is currently serving a 5 year prison sentence for simply calling for Tibetan language education in schools.

The exhibition raised awareness about the importance of the Tibetan plateau to the entire planet. The Tibetan Plateau is widely known as the Third Pole because it contains the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions. Ten of Asia’s largest rivers begin in Tibet, including the Yellow river and Yangtze river in China, the Irrawaddy river in Myanmar, the Ganges, which flows through India and Bangladesh, and the Mekong river, which spans through 6 different countries over the course of almost 5,000 km.

When addressing the gathering, The Representative of the Office of Tibet in London, Mr Sonam Frasi said ‘The future of Tibet to the whole world is far more important than is recognised. Tibetans have preserved and looked after the plateau’s ecology for centuries. Tibetans have observed an ethical preservative approach to the mountains, lakes, rivers, its flora and fauna… [but] over the past 60 year, China has continuously exploited the natural resources of Tibet.”

Tibet needs protecting, not just for Tibetans, but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world. Governments must heed the warning or the risk to our planet may be catastrophic.


Hon Patrick Harvie MSP and leader of Scottish Green Party & his Green Party colleague Hon Ross Greer; along with Hon Maureen Watt MSP and Hon Angus MacDonald, both from the Scottish National Party, also attended the Parliamentary reception.

Tibet Society, Free Tibet and other Tibet support groups also attended the event.
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