Sarat Chandra Das was a remarkable man of letters, a pioneer Pundit explorer of the Survey of India. He was the first Indian scholar of the Tibetan language and culture and one of the greatest pioneers in the discovery and exploration of Tibet in the 19th century.
During 1879-82, when Tibet was forbidden to foreigners, Sarat Chandra Das went to Tibet disguised as a Buddhist lama and surveyed unknown regions of the Kanchenjunga Massif and Tibet on behalf of the British Government of India. During this journey, he crossed glacier passes greater than 20,000 feet without the aid of any modern mountaineering equipment. This has been acknowledged as one of the ‘boldest journeys on record’ by famous British mountaineer Frank Smythe.
In 2004, on the initiative of Aspi Moddie, it was decided to institute an annual Memorial Lecture in his name to keep alive and honour his memory. Several illustrious speakers have graced the occasion over the years.
|Year||Speaker||Title of the Talk|
|2004||AD Moddie||Centuries of Travels and Tales - A Bharat - Himalayan View|
|2005||Prof Syed Iqbal Hasnain||Melting Mountain Majesties - Warming in the Himalayas|
|2006||Vijay Crishna||Tibet of our Minds - A Journey’s End|
|2007||George W Rodway||Exploration & Mountaineering in the Garhwal/Kumaon Himalaya from the mid-nineteenth century through 1938|
|2009||Dr Debal Sen||Panch Kedar|
|Subrata Chakraborty||Shikhun East Expedition|
|2010||Col Neerja Rana||HMI Expedition to Mt Makalu (8481M) - 2009|
|2011||Bill Aitken||The Himalaya as Metaphor for Exploration|
|2012||Brig M M Masur||2009 Everest Expedition - NIM|
|2013||Dr Dalia Roy||Sarat Chandra Das’ incredible life and Adventures|
|2014||Viral Mehta||The Hidden Petroglyphs of Ladakh|
|2015||Mirella Tenderini||K2 - The Savage Mountain|
|AVM Apurba Bhattacharyya||Ganga - Through the Prism of my Eyes|
|2016||Robert Pettigrew||Kulanthapitha Watershed, Pandit Sarat C Das & Rudyard Kipling|
|Dr Sumit Mukherjee||Habitat & Culture of Trans-Himalayan Tribes|
|2018||Ms Aparna Kumar - DIG, ITBP||Mountaineering by Indian Women|
|2019||Satyarup Siddhanta||A collage of several Peak Climbs|