Saturday, September 15, 2012

Desi Jigme Namgyal and Ashley Eden Mission (1862-1864 A. D).

Interactions in the 19th century between British India and the Kingdom of Bhutan

British had come to India as a trader and established their company rule in 1600 A. D. After gaining the political control (Battle of Plassey, 1757) over some prosperous states in India, they established their supremacy over the vast territories in India. The Company rule lasted until 1858 and it was taken directly by the British Raj and ruled up-to 1947. Through the trading and commercial policy of the British East India Company, the British Raj wanted to expand their control over the South Asia, South East Asia and Far East. The Mission under the leadership of Ashley Eden (1831-87), a British administrator, which was sent to Bhutan in 1862, had the following objectives and consequences in the Bhutanese History:

A. Objectives of the Mission:
  • To conclude a treaty of peace and friendship with Bhutan
  • Wish to resolve the outstanding problems of the Duars
  • To learn the military strength of Bhutan
  • Wanted to develop Bi-lateral relation with Bhutan
  • To set up free trade and commerce relation with Bhutan
  • Preferred to propagate the principles of Christianity in Bhutan
  • Intended to institute free trade relation with Tibet via Bhutan
  • To defend British India from future attack of the USSR (by establishing friendly relations with Bhutan and Tibet).
  • They were to study the situation of Bhutan (which would be easy to spy out the feasibility for the future military)
  • Failure of previous missions to Bhutan
B. Reactions and Failure of the Mission:
  • Talks at the tables were arranged and the draft treaty of the mission was rejected by the Desi Jigme Namgyal 
  • Jigme Namgyal refused to sign on the draft treaty and asked the mission to go back
  • The political condition in Bhutan was not steady and fit due to civil wars among the feudal lords in the country
  • For instance, Darlung Tobgye, the then Wangduephodrang Dzongpoen was very infuriated and irritably thrown the Doma which he had chewed in his own mouth on Sir Ashley Eden’s face.
  • The mission which was an uninvited and not gorgeous to the Bhutanese leaders was a failure one
  • Failure of the Mission led to the declaration of a series of Duar wars from 1864 to 1865.
  • Surrender of Assam and Bengal Duars to British government (after the Battle of Deothang, 27 January, 1865)

Further Reading: “The Emergence of Modern Bhutan. Jigme Namgyal’s life and career, 1825-1881” by Ashi Kezang Choden Dorji


Monu GhishYing Tamang said...

Informative post....
Keep blogging la.

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