Asiatica Association

The Explorer of the Duce: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Foreign Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti: With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, by Enrica Garzilli

19 oct 2012, archived in books

In the box on your right you can see the cover of a new book on Asia:

The Explorer of the Duce: The Adventures of Giuseppe Tucci and Italian Foreign Policy in the Orient from Mussolini to Andreotti: With the Correspondence of Giulio Andreotti, by Enrica Garzilli, 2 vols., Rome-Milan: Memori editrice and Asiatica Association, Sept. 2012. Vol. 1, pp. LII + 685; Vol. 2, pp. XIV + 726.

It is a biography of the great scholar and explorer of Tibet, Nepal and Ladakh Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984), and a history book on Foreign Policy in Asia. It is based on original and often unedited documents (archives and fonts), original and often unedited correspondence (Sanskrit, Nepali, English, Romanian, Hindi and Italian letters), original films, original and unedited photos, 9 original maps, and interviews.

It offers 4 unedited Sanskrit letters by Giuseppe Tucci to the Royal Preceptor of Nepal Hem Raj Sharma, 1 unedited English letter to Dr. Dilli R. Regmi, 1 unedited  Sanskrit letter by Carlo Formichi (his teacher, and Visiting Professor at Vishvabharati, the university of Tagore, in 1925-26) to Hem Raj, 1 unedited Nepali letter by Kesar Bahadur K. C. to Hem Raj, 1 unedited English letter by the then Prime Minister of Nepal Mohan Shamsher Rana to Tucci, big part of the correspondence between Tucci and the philospher Giovanni Gentile, and the whole unedited correspondence between Tucci and Giulio Andreotti.

Among the others, it includes interviews to Giulio Andreotti, Filippani-Ronconi, Fosco Maraini, Dilli R. Regmi, Rishikesh Shaha, Mahes Pant, Dinesh Pant and other scholars.

Through Tucci's life, I reconstructed the Italian politics in part of Asia (India, Tibet and Nepal, but also partly Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Tucci opened the 1st Italian archaeological missions), and the cultural history of Italy in Asia. The book includes documents proving Benito Mussolini's idea of making India a "future dominion" of the Italian Empire. Mussolini wanted to "take possession" of India! He wanted to replace the British Raj. In fact he strongly supported India independence and, as everybody knows, hosted and met several times with Subhas Chandra Bose. The history of Fascism in Asia was stuck at the excellent (but outdated) work of Renzo De Felice.

I wrote the history of the R. Accademia d'Italia, the (in)famous "academy of Fascism", and of course the ex-IsMEO, then IsIAO (now perhaps - unfortunately - definitely closed). Of Italian propaganda in India and Indian propaganda in Italy (which was not only Subhas Chandra Bose, or Tagore and Gandhi who visited Italy and met with Mussolini: we had a small Indian Army! and an Afghan radio), and more.

And I included a large selection of original and often unedited images and documents of Tucci, Tucci's explorations in Ladakh, Tibet and Nepal, the history of the XIV Dalai Lama in Italy, various letters to Mussolini and gentile (including that addressing Mussolini "who brings that little light that enlightens my [Tucci's] life" (the Duce, in fact, had given him as gift a large amount of money).

I discovered that Tucci at the beginning of 1937 was sent to Japan to make propaganda and build the diplomatic relationship for the joining of Italy the Anti-Comintern Pact between III Reich and Japan (which ancipated the future Tripartite Pact) of November 1937. He also delivered a speech in the national Japanese radio on the behalf of Galeazzo Ciano, the then Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

It is history written for a large audience though, in a easy way. I had the pretensions to write for everybody (having a high school education). I don't know whether I succeeded though, but for sure I consider history and historiography a wonderful world, which deserves to be "lived in" by everybody. And Asia, of course.

For this reason the critical apparatus footnotes, bibliography, a biographical index of the 1358 people mentioned in the book, whose lives sometimes was almost unknown (excluding authors - who are included in the bibliography - and people whom I thank), complete bibliography of Tucci, chronology, 9 original maps (drown on maps of the British Raj together with a professional cartographer), besides a note for readers - you know diacritics, transliteration, diplomatic transcription, historic money currency exchange etc. - everything is at the bottom of the volumes. So that ordinary people does not get (too?) bored. I hope, at least.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the too many scholars and institutions that helped me in many ways. The list of names is too long, nevertheless they are all mentioned in the book. Thank you again to all.



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