Past Event

Was Pandatsang Rapga [Not] a KMT Spy? Mobile Individuals and Static States in Inter-Asian Interactions

April 14, 2023
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
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School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027

Speaker: Tansen Sen, Associated Full Professor of History at NYU; Professor of History and Director of the Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

Moderator: Gray Tuttle, Leila Hadley Luce Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, Columbia University

In 1946 Pandatsang Rapga was identified as a Kuomintang (KMT) spy by the British colonial administrators and deported from India. A member of the famous border-crossing trading family of the Pandatsangs based in Kalimpong (West Bengal, India), Rapga’s life in the 1940s was remarkably mobile and deeply intertwined with the political changes taking place in India, Tibet, and China. This presentation explores several issues associated with the identification of Rapga as a KMT spy in the context of cross-border mobility and intelligence gathering in colonial and postcolonial Asia. Examined alongside similarly mobile individuals, such as Raja Mahendra Pratap and Hisao Kimura, it addresses the issues of state suspicions over mobility and political networking and alliances, the surveillance infrastructure in border regions, and the materiality of information. The presentation also attempts to make methodological intervention in the use of archival material for studying mobile individuals.

This event is sponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.


  • To attend this event in-person, please register HERE. *Please note that non-CUID holders need to show proof of their primary series and one booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • To attend this event online, please register HERE.

Contact Information

Julie Kwan