Remembering Dr Rose


It is sad to learn that Dr Leo E Rose, Professor Emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley, has passed away. He was a true friend of Nepal. Dr Rose wrote The Role of Nepal and Tibet in Sino-Indian Relations as his PhD dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1960 and academically introduced Nepal to the West. Through this academic masterpiece, he helped successive scholars and other interested laymen acquaint themselves with the historic role the kingdom has played as a live and dynamic bridge between the civilisations of India and China. He has adequately highlighted the symbiotic make-up of Nepal’s own cultural heritage and pattern of interaction on the part of subsequent Nepal’s policy makers as the direct impact of that traditional role.

The following statement constitutes his keenly stated observations and most quoted one:

“Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, China was looked upon as too distant to be a real threat but close enough to serve as a source of support.” In 1964, I was handed a manuscript to review — Democratic Innovations in Nepal by Leo Rose with Bhuwan Lal Joshi. I was so impressed with this magnum opus that I decided to seek Dr Leo’s assistance for my own PhD dissertation. My visit to Berkeley planned for a couple of months extended to two years. Leo was affable and affectionate. His personality can best be characterised by his fondness for gourmet cooking. I would find myself often at his house literally licking my fingers after relishing the curries and other delicacies he was so deft at preparing. Leo would be thrilled at finding others write what he liked. Such was his reaction to the dissertation I wrote under his guidance. He was more pleased when I updated and published it 20 years later — Nepal: Struggle for Existence.