Tintin – the teenage journalist-cum-detective-cum-world-traveler created by Herge. I shared my passion and love for him in a post last year, around the time Steven Spielberg‘s movie ‘Adventures of Tintin – Secrets of the Unicorn’ was released.
Though I love almost all the Tintin comics written by Herge, my most favorite remains Tintin in Tibet. It is also considered as Herge’s greatest work by many people across the world. For me a special reason to love this comic book was the depiction of Delhi - My City, the place where I was born, have lived all my life, and would love to stay till the day I die… Dilli jo aik shahar tha aalam main intekhab
Titin in Tibet was originally serialised in the French language magazine named after Tintin, Le Journal de Tintin in Belgium from September 1958. It was then first published in book form in 1960. Tintin in Tibet was an intensely personal book for Herge, who also considered it as his personal favourite of all the Tintin adventures. It was written and drawn by Herge at a time when he was going through personal turbulence at domestic front – facing the dilemma whether he should divorce his wife of three decades, Germaine Remi, for a younger woman Fanny Valminck with whom he had fallen in love.
Tibet, historically, has been a place out of bound for the rest of the world. Today it is under the strict control of China. Earlier, as an independent nation, Tibet – the land of Buddhist spiritualism, was shrouded in mystery and foreigners/ tourists were generally not allowed to enter the city of Lhasa where the spiritual leader of Tibetan people ‘Dalai Lama‘ lived.
In the 1050′s, around the time when Herge wrote the book, Chinese Communist regime was executing the plan to snatch & occupy the Tibet and merge it into China. The vicious actions of Chinese Govt. are still continuing till date. As latest as March’12, anguished Tibet’s Buddhist Monks are being driven to commit self-immolation under the strict communist Chinese occupation of the region. In the 1950′s Dalai Lama along with a sizable population of Tibet had to take asylum in India to safe their life from the torture & ultimate extinction that the Chinese Communist party had planned for them. The struggle of Tibet for independence is still ongoing. The current Dalai Lama (14th Dalai Lama) is one of the most loved & respected person on the earth right now. Despite old age and lack of resources he is fighting against the David Vs Goliath battle with the mighty Chinese Govt. He is based out of Dharmashala, Himachal Pradesh, a small mountain state in North India.
Tibet historical had very close & friendly relationship with India, it was a very important point in the Silk Route - historic trans Asia trade route and a mid point bridging India and China.
My personal interest in Tibet also comes from the fact that my forefathers lived in the northern mountain areas of India (Kumaon region, now a part of Uttarakhand state in India) and shared close trade/business relationships with the people of Tibet.
To know more about Tibet and its struggle visit http://tibetoralhistory.org/index.html or http://www.friendsoftibet.org/ or http://www.tibet.org/. A summary of Tibet history is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Tibet .
Tintin in Tibet (#20 Tintin by Herge) Click here to read the comics
TinTin, Haddock, Snowy and Professor Calculus are out on a vacation. Tintin and Snowy come down from a mountain. He urges Haddock to go trekking with him, but Haddock replies that he is better off resting in the hotel. He asks Tintin to be careful, reading out news from the newspaper. The news describes a plane crash, which happened to an aircraft journeying from Patna (India) to Kathmandu (Nepal).
Later that evening, Haddock and Tintin are playing chess at their dinner table. As Haddock plans out his moves, Tintin suddenly shouts out the sound “CHANG”. The others scorn him, while Tintin tells Haddock that he was dreaming about his Chinese friend, Chang Cho Chen, whom he saw fighting for life asmidst the wreckage of the crashed aircraft. Haddock asks him to get some sleep.
The next morning, Tintin comes out fresh and sound. A letter arrives and Tintin finds that Chang has written to him, saying that he will be coming by air to Kathmandu. Something strikes Tintin and he sees the newspaper report. He is shocked to find that the plane that crashed was the same that Chang described. More news unravels his name, saying that a change of flight might have been unlucky for him. Tintin breaks down. But suddenly, he gets up, determined to find Chang. When Haddock is surprised, Tintin tells him that Chang is alive because his guts tell him so. Reluctantly, Haddock agrees to accompany him.
Two days later, they arrive at New Delhi airport. Having a break of three hours, they decide to do some sight seeing in Delhi. While in a crowded bazaar (which looks like Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi), Haddock finds the road blocked by a squatting cow (stereotypical observation about India, but its common to see the cow blocking the road even today in many parts of the country). As he gets onto the cow’s back to make it go away, the cow starts running, with Haddock riding it. It throws Haddock into a taxi, and the driver takes them back to the airport in the nick of time.
Few hours later, they are in Kathmandu. Tintin talks to the Airport Manager about the crash, and the manager tells him that no one could possibly survive the crash and the icy cold Himalayas. But still, as Tintin insists, he promises to arranges for a Sherpa (local guides who support the mountaineering expeditions in the region) to meet them. Later, Tintin and Haddock meet Sherpa Tharke. Tharke initially tries to coax Tintin into not venturing into the Himalayas, but when tintin decides to go alone, Haddock manages to have Tharke guide them.
Three days later, preparations are complete. Tharke arranges for some coolies (load-carriers) to accompany them with rations. The whole party sets off. Haddock has a lot of whiskey bottles with him, and makes good use of them from time to time. They spend the night in their tents and start off again the next morning. They encounter a river. Snowy licks some whiskey seeping out of Haddock’s bag, gets light-headed and falls into the river. Tintin saves him, though with a warning. Later, they come across some Tibetian tombs. The next day, the party crosses a big forest and reaches the foothills of the Himalayas. As they set down for dinner, Tharke warns Haddock that the mysterious Yeti is for real. As Haddock gets ready to open a bottle of whiskey, a Yeti screams nearby. Tharke warns him that the scent of whiskey will attract the Yeti. Haddock goes to sleep, grumbling.
The next day, they wake up to find the coolies disagreeing to go any further. Tharke manages to convince them and they come along. Haddock however finds his whiskey bottle missing. As the party journeys through the snow, they come across the Yeti’s footsteps. Haddock thinks that they belong to a bear. Following them, he finds his bottle lying in the snow, empty. He yells and challenges the Yeti to face him. His shouts cause a moderate amount of snow to fall upon him and bury him. Immediately, Tharke and Tintin rescue him. But when they return, they find the coolies gone, leaving behind the rations. Tharke discourages Tintin from going any further, but Tintin insists, saying that it will be pointless to return from here. They take the minimum essential with them and set off again.
Next morning, they reach the crash site. Tharke brings them to the debris of the aircraft. Tintin and Snowy decide to look around. Tharke and Haddock stay inside an intact part of the plane. Tintin goes further and finds a cave. He finds a stone, with Chang’s name sculpted on it. As Tintin and Snowy come out, they face a blizzard. They go for a few steps, but with great difficulty. Tintin sees a shadow and thinking that it might be Haddock, follows it. His inattentiveness causes him to fall inside a hole. Snowy sensing trouble, stays there and howls.
After a few hours, the blizzard subsides. Haddock and Tharke hear Snowy’s howling and go to the place. They retrieve an almost frozen Snowy. Tharke goes inside the hole to find Tintin, while Haddock lets out rope. Haddock is suddenly distracted by Tintin’s arrival and lets go of the rope. But Tintin catches it and saves Tharke from falling. Later, Tintin recounts the incidents. He asks Haddock why he did not answer. But both Haddock and Tharke say that they stayed inside the aircraft during the blizzard. Tharke adds that Tintin might have seen the Yeti.
The next day, Tintin shows them the cave. They see Chang’s name on the rock. But Tharke tells that the Yeti might have devoured him by now. Tharke tells him that it is pointless to search for Tchang, because they do not know which direction to take.
The next day, they prepare to return. Tintin suddenly spots a scarf, hanging from the mountain in front of them. Tharke sees it too. Haddock however sees not the scarf, but the Yeti through his field glasses. Tharke says that he must return, for it involves great risk to go near the Yeti’s dwelling. Tintin pays him in full. As Tharke walks away, Haddock joins him. Tintin manages to convince Haddock to join him. He attaches Snowy to his bag. The two of them start climbing the mountain. Haddock however makes a fatal mistake. He clutches a false rock and slips, hanging from Tintin’s rope in mid-air. Tintin fails to pull him up. But Tharke returns and saves Haddock. He says tht their indomitable courage to save Chang has encouraged him to accompany them.
That night, another blizzard arises. Their big tent gets blown away in the wind. The small tent is too small for the four of them and snaps quickly. Tharke leads them on. However, Haddock drops tired soon. Tharke encourages them when he sees a Buddhist Monastery, but Haddock is simply too tired to get up. A greater danger awaits them. The snow cracks above them, causing an avalanche and taking them with it. Later, Tintin however gets up. He finds his leg sprained and writes a letter of help, asking Snowy to deliver it to the monastery.
Back at the monastery, a blind old Monk visualizes the party’s plight. Snowy arrives soon, and goes out with a group of monks to help Tintin and the others.
Two days later, Haddock finds himself in the monastery. He goes down to find Tintin and Tharke talking to the head monk of the monastery. The monk tells them that no one could possibly survive the crash. Tintin is disheartened, but still insists on going after Chang. Haddock finally gets outraged and leaves him to go alone. The old monk comes and returns him Chang’s scarf. But he visualizes again that Chang is being held by the Yeti on a mountain near a certain village.
Tintin goes to the village. He is surprised to find that Haddock has come after him. They ask a little boy to show them the path to the described mountain, and leave the village. Two days later, they reach the higher altitudes. They spot the Yeti going out of a cave. Tintin goes into the cave, asking Haddock to warn him if the Yeti returns.
Tintin finds Chang inside the cave, weak but alive. Haddock sees the Yeti returning and shouts out to Tintin to flee. But it is too late. The Yeti blocks Tintin’s path. Tintin tries to defend himself, but the Yeti almost has him cornered. However, its hand falls on the trigger of the camera slinging from Tintin’s neck. The flashbulb emits light and the Yeti gets frightened and runs out.
Later, Tintin and Haddock carry Chang down from the mountain towards the village. Chang describes how the Yeti found him and cared for him, feeding him and hiding him from the world. They are met by the monks from the monastery. The head monk gifts them a silk cloth of ritual value, praising all of them for their courage. A few days later, Tintin, Haddock, Chang and Snowy return to Nepal along with a few other monks. Chang feels sorry for the Yeti, saying that it is a gentle creature, despite its frightening appearance.
- Belgium with Kids: Hergé Museum delights TinTin fans (alloverthemap.net)
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- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn – (2011) (storefronttheatre.wordpress.com)
- Tintin Isn’t Racist, Belgian Court Rules (kayceeweezy.wordpress.com)
- Reader reviews roundup (guardian.co.uk)
- http://wp.me/pnx59-s8 #Tintin in #America – The original cover fetched 1.6million $ yesterday…