In the 1950s, thousands of ordinary Tibetans rose up to defend their country and religion against Chinese troops. Their citizen army fought through 1974 with covert support from the Tibetan exile government and the governments of India, Nepal, and the United States. Decades later, the story of this resistance is only beginning to be told and has not yet entered the annals of Tibetan national history. In Arrested Histories, the anthropologist and historian Carole McGranahan shows how and why histories of this resistance army are "arrested" and explains the ensuing repercussions for the Tibetan refugee community.Drawing on rich ethnographic and historical research, McGranahan tells the story of the Tibetan resistance and the social processes through which this history is made and unmade, and lived and forgotten in the present. Fulfillment of veterans' desire for recognition hinges on the Dalai Lama and "historical arrest," a practice in which the telling of certain pasts is suspended until an undetermined time in the future. In this analysis, struggles over history emerge as a profound pain of belonging. Tibetan cultural politics, regional identities, and religious commitments cannot be disentangled from imperial histories, contemporary geopolitics, and romanticized representations of Tibet. Moving deftly from armed struggle to nonviolent hunger strikes, and from diplomatic offices to refugee camps, Arrested Histories provides powerful insights into the stakes of political engagement and the cultural contradictions of everyday life.
Carole McGranahan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a co-editor of Imperial Formations.
List of Illustrations vii Note on Transliteration, Names, and Photographs ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 1. Empire and the State of Tibet 37 2. The Pains of Belonging 53 3. 1956: Year of the Fire Monkey 67 4. The Golden Throne 89 5. History and Memory as Social Practice 109 6. War in Exile 127 7. In a Clouded Mirror 143 8. Secrets, the CIA, and the Politics of Truth 163 9. A Nonviolent History of War 185 Conclusion: Truth, Fear, and Lies 201 Epilogue 219 Appendix. Who's Who 231 Notes 235 Bibliography 275 Index 303