Working through the vast archives of the National Archives of India is a lonely business. Very few people in the world get as excited as you do about the details and stories you find and so when elation strikes having found information on a Tibetan man you knew very little about, it’s not possible to run round the archives telling everyone you meet about your exciting discovery.
The disease only found amongst archival researchers is commonly known as ‘archival fever’ and there is no known cure. I’ve had several of those experiences during the past three weeks of intensive scanning of catalogues and documents from the Foreign and Political records of British India in the early 20th century. It is here that I have gained a much clearer picture of Sir Charles Bell, his networks and his personal commitment to Tibet.
I have finally dragged myself away from the archives and now travel to the Northeast of India to meet some of the families still found in the area whose relatives once worked for the British India Government.