Thursday, February 6, 2014

Desecration of Dakphel Chorten- an Atrocious Blasphemy

Hardly a month ago, a Chorten (stupa) in Dhakphel, around 18 KMs from Zhemgang towards Tingtingbi met the brutal fate like its several other mates- VANDALISM!!!
The Chorten in Dakphel, divested of its Zung

The Chorten is located just by the road and there are houses quite nearby. The one who vandalized must have gathered a hell lot of nerves while performing the unwholesome act. Any time, a vehicle could have passed by or people residing nearby could have caught him digging!!! He was such a brave man!!!

But the unfortunate reality is that he misused his moral fiber. Had he used the same amount of courage to pursue a decent vocation rather than wrecking a religious artifact, he could have led a dignified life. Now, his conscience would not allow him to remain at peace, unless he is suffering from kleptomania and has committed similar crimes repeatedly.
Source: kuenselonline
There figure above shows that there were 761 cases of chorten vandalism from 2008-2012 alone, which means, there would have been numerous other cases before 2008 and after 2012. 

Hence, with such crimes on the rise, we need to look for measures to safeguard our sacred artifacts in the vulnerable parts of our country and also, it would be wiser to rethink constructing such artifacts in places far from settlements. Creating awareness about the fate of such callous act, both legal and spiritual and installing less tempting Zungs into the Chorten, as discussed in the National Council in September, last year might work, perhaps. Meanwhile, we may also think of streamlining the construction of such piece whereby certain safety measures are incorporated so that we don’t lose our spiritual wealth to the heartless crooks.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Helping Hands or Mere Spectators? The choice is yours!!!

This Maruti Van veered around 200 ft off the road at Nabi, around 4 KMs from Tingtingbi towards Gelephu at around 09:30am on Saturday, January 25, 2014.

No, this vehicle wasn’t old; it got burnt when the accident happened. Fortunately, the vehicle caught fire only when it landed near a brook; lots of dried leaves would have aided combustion, had it kindled on its midway down and thereby set the forest ablaze.

There were five passengers in the Van of whom one died on the spot, one expired on the way to the Gelephu Regional Referral Hospital, one passed away in the hospital and one is in critical condition while the fifth one, the driver is stable.

A team comprising of Yebilabtsa Hospital Staff, RBP, RSTA and Dzongkhag Officials, among others rushed to the site to retrieve the body. I heard that our bodies tend to become very heavy after we die, but I could learn how heavy it really becomes.

The one who died on the spot succumbed to jaw dislocation, left hand and left leg fracture besides several other cuts and bruises; the one who died on the way had his brain blown out; the other who died in the hospital was suspected to have severe leg fracture and the one who was deemed critical also suffered severe head injuries.

Lessons learnt:
1    There were around fifteen of us who went to the site of whom around three did not even bother to go to the actual accident spot where the body and the scrap lay; among around 13 of us who went, just less than half of us helped to retrieve the body and important belongings to the road side; and from 6 of us who helped, only two people were involved in actually touching the body. From this, it was it was quite evident that most of the people don’t go to the accident site to lend their helping hands; they rather go to provide moral support or as mere spectators!!!

2       It is not necessary to be too reckless to meet an accident, just a mere mistake is enough- the road where this accident occurred is too broad for an accident. Also, stuffs like staying up late when u got to drive the following day, drink driving, using mobile phones while driving doesn’t merit any deliberation- by indulging in these awful activities, we don’t just risk our own lives, we endanger other’s lives as well!!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marvelous Dunmang Tshachhu!!!

Located at an altitude of 500 meters above the sea level, the sacred Dunmang Tshachhu (hot spring) is sandwiched in between steep gorges, just by the Mangdechhu. After driving for an hour from Tingtingbi towards Gomphu, the Tshachhu is just another hour's walk downhill from the highway. 

It is a sacred Ney of Guru Rinpochey and people say that there are 108 different hot springs in here. It is also revered to be a cure for piles, arthritis and skin diseases, among many others.

It was a pleasant coincidence for me to pay a visit to this area on my birthday (on 13th January). 

As I went for a dip late into the night, as if in trance, I was drawn into a conversation by the meandering Mangdechhu. Of the many lessons it taught me, she cautioned me that I was already into the 25th year since I was born and that I do not have any concrete achievements to my credit. She also told me that my life was fleeting, just as her flow downstream.

Upon asking about how I could overcome this crisis, she just told me very bluntly that I would rust if I chose to rest and thereby, she put an end to our conversation quite abruptly. 

I am assuming, she meant that I need to conquer complacency and work rather very hard!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Can We Correct This?

On August 14, 2013, I had the honour of representing His Majesty and Dasho Dzongdag in delivering the Royal Semso to the mothers of the two natives of Nyakhar village in Zhemgang who both succumbed to the injuries that they suffered while a huge boulder hit them when they were drilling at the Buli-Tshaildang road construction site in Nangkor Gewog under Zhemgang Dzongkhag.

I felt really very sad! One of the victims was a disrobed monk and another was a school dropout. Had they continued to learn in their respective institutions, they might not have met this fate at the very tender age of 19 and 21! Of the two, one was not even one day old on the job! But this is the least reason of my sorrow.

While one of them passed away at around 01:30pm, the other one died at around 04:00pm. The villagers were not allowed to take the dead bodies back home because the investigations had to be carried out at the particular place where the accident occurred, which was quite a distance from their village and amidst a dense jungle. When the police investigation team and I, accompanied by the Local Leaders reached at the site, it was already 08:00pm and by the time when everything was done (from snapping the cuts and bruises of the victims to filling up the inquest forms), it was around 10:21pm. It would have taken them another hour and a half or even more than that to reach home; it was already getting late for the rituals of the two unfortunate ones. Yet, this is also not the major reason that I was sad.

I was also not frustrated because I arrived back home in Zhemgang at 3 in the morning.

What saddened me the most was that, when all the formalities were completed and when it was time for the villagers to carry the bodies back home, everybody was rushing to carry one body and literally neglecting the other one. Gosh, I was taken aback by the weird, callous deed! Upon asking the Tshogpa about why it was happening, he told me that while one was somewhat well off, the other one was very poor. The financial status was the reason for embracing one and shunning the other. Do you believe it, it was the wealth?

Well, this is happening in a country which is renowned for practicing Buddhism and the GNH. If any misfortune happens to the wealthy and influential ones, there are hundreds of thousands who are concerned and readily render their support while the problems of the poor and the marginalized ones go unattended.

What I genuinely feel is that, the wealthier and the influential ones have got enough people to help them. Therefore, it will be apt to help the have nots rather than supporting the already stable ones. But then, can we correct this?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

To All the Hardworking Health Workers

Very recently, my spouse had to be admitted to the BHU in Zhemgang. She had to spend a couple of days there. I escorted her. From our few days’ stay in the BHU, I could realize few important points which we otherwise, often overlook.

The health workers in the BHU are sometimes obliged to work during odd hours so as to attend to the ailment of the patients. There is also a worker in the BHU to whom everybody addresses as ‘Ata’. He stays in the BHU premises twenty four seven.

I wonder how they could work so well even if it meant during odd hours or for almost all the time with beautiful smiles on their faces because it was almost impossible for me to stay awake even for few days, that too when my wife was ill!

I know it is not only in Zhemgang, rather health workers everywhere, both within Bhutan and abroad, work very hard. Therefore, I offer my heartfelt appreciation to all the dedicated health workers.

I wonder if the remuneration they get at the end of the month justifies the amount of hard work they put in. But more important than the remuneration, I feel is the kind of intention that you work with. The nature of your job is unquestionably noble. As such, please continue to work selflessly and accumulate merit for your whole lifetime!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Electioneering Helps Promote our National Language

If we use the way that our MPs used to speak in the Parliament as the baseline and compare them with the status quo, I can proudly say that almost all of them have improved, both in terms of confidence and spoken Dzongkha. (We should not however forget that there are quite a handful of them who have hardly stood up to make their points in the parliament and therefore, their Dzongkha would have remained almost the same as how it was five years ago. But that is a different story, altogether).

We have always been complaining about Dzongkha not being used as widely as English. If we analyze, the candidates of the National Council and National Assembly exclusively use Dzongkha to debate and present their manifestoes; in electioneering, in a nutshell. Parliamentarians use our national language to debate, deliberate and enact laws in the parliaments. What greater platform can we expect our national language to be used in?

The effect does not stop there! The debates are aired live on BBS. Many of us have followed them, thereby improving Dzongkha vocabulary among the viewers. Moreover, there are so many aspiring MPs among us. If we are to ever think of contesting an election, Dzongkha is the most essential prerequisite. Students who aim to take up politics after their graduation might also be learning Dzongkha more seriously. It is also very important for the electorate to understand Dzongkha in order to make an informed choice of a party/candidate. 

The whole election process means learning/knowing Dzongkha! Therefore, I genuinely feel that it has immensely contributed in promoting our national language nationwide. This is a brighter side of the status of our national language that merits our appreciation, rather than lamenting about the limitations all the time. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Showing Off My Humble Photographic Skills

These are few photos that I snapped during one of my tours to the UK in 2012 on the sidelines of looking for disadvantaged and less privileged people.

Most of the people mistake UK for United Kingdom. While UK stands for United Kingdom, the UK that I mean is Upper Kheng. Upper Kheng comprises of four gewogs, namely Bardo, Nangkor, Shingkhar and Trong in Zhemgang.

So, don't think that the people, places and the flowers in UK looks similar to that of Bhutan. These are snapped at a place in our very own Bhutan- Digala, Bardo, Zhemgang. 

Also, next time, when your friends or acquaintances tell you that they are heading to the UK, confirm whether or not they are going to Upper Kheng and save yourself from getting fooled.