Tibet in Exile


Photographs by Raghu Rai, Preface by Dalai Lama, Text by Jane Perkins
152 pp, 280 mm x 215 mm

ISBN: 978-981-4217-72-9

Category: Photography & Film
Theme: Rest of World

Tibet has been a land shrouded in medievalism and mysticism for centuries, ruled from the fabled Potala Palace by the reincarnation of a god-king, the Dalai Lama. Incredible accounts from the earliest explorers recount tales of lamas levitating to change mind and matter, of yogis meditating in mountain caves without sleep or sustenance for years, and of shamans blowing human thighbone horns to stop hail or bring rain have established Tibet in the curious eyes of the outside world as a fantastical Himalayan Shangri La.

Whether myth or reality, this Tibet no longer exists. With the Chinese communist invasion of 1950 came the end of a unique and timeless culture and lifestyle. Within less than 30 years, the majority of the country’s population had been forced from their homes. Dispersing across the world, especially into India, they carried with them the very culture and traditions that today are in danger of being obliterated by the ruling majority of China.

Tibet In Exile is a photographic record of life for the Dalai Lama and his people in exile. The introductory text traces the history of Tibet and is illustrated with valuable historic photographs. The internationally renowned Magnum photographer Raghu Rai has compiled a unique pictorial essay on the Tibetan refugees and their leader in India. A decade has passed since the first edition was published. This new edition of Tibet in Exile features an update on the leader and his proud people, revealing the vibrancy and continuity of the Tibetan community outside of China, and communicating its enormous importance to world culture.


Photographer Raghu Rai has been at the forefront of photography in India for 25 years. A member of the prestigious Magnum group of photographers, Rai’s work has regularly appeared in The New York Timesand National Geographic and Newsweek magazines. His work has been widely exhibited in the United States, Japan and Europe and 25 of his photographs form part of the permanent collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.


Jane Perkins is a highly experienced journalist and editor who has worked on a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and books. Her first encounter with Tibetans in Nepal in 1968 has led to lifetime’s fascination with the future and religion of Tibet and of the ancient Himalayan kingdoms that share her borders. Perkins has been based largely in Dharamsala, India, the headquarters of the Dalai Lama and his exiled government.


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Raghu Rai first picked up a camera in 1965 aged 23. The following year he joined The Statesman newspaper in India and became their chief photographer for over a decade. In 1971, impressed by Rai’s exhibition at Gallery Delpire in Paris, legendary photographer Henri Cartier Bresson personally nominated him to Magnum Photos. For the next 20 years, Rai contributed trailblazing picture-essays on social, political and cultural themes in Asia. 

In 1972, he was awarded the Padmashree – one of India’s important civilian awards – for his coverage of the war in Bangladesh. And in 1992, he was the U.S. ‘Photographer of the Year’ for his story Human Management of Wildlife in India published in National Geographic. Rai’s photo-essays have appeared in magazines worldwide. He has also produced more than 30 books on India including Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Taj Mahal and Tibet. 

His work has been exhibited in major galleries worldwide over the past 40 years and won many national and international awards. Twenty five of his photographs form part of the permanent collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. He was conferred an Officer des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2009.



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