Saturday, February 28, 2015

RCSC decision to reassign the three Government Secretaries.

In matters of national politics, there is very little room to manoeuvre for a Constitutional Body. If the three Secretaries were reinstated in their respective Posts, the Cabinet would have had to resign. That would end the little Kingdom's foray into elected governance experiment. And if the three Secretaries who were surrendered by the Cabinet were removed from the Civil Service, then the system opens up to ultimate Dictatorship. That would not just end the ongoing  democratic process in the very near future but also would gnaw away the national balm that the Throne is looked up to always provide. A Dictatorial Political Party and Constitutional Monarchy cannot co- exist.

Bhutan is undergoing a very delicate process of political orientation. Six or seven years into even a guided democracy procedure can be taxing on the Constitution, the Throne, the Political Parties and the Bureaucracy. Our democracy has to operate within a preset parameter. Gradually as the nation matures with responsible experience and people's awareness of political gravity of their votes sink in, naturally the present parameters will be have to be recast. We need time and patience. Any drastic change could upset the stability and security of this sovereign Kingdom.

The recently appointed Commissioners of RCSC have acted with matured national wisdom and responsibility. I am also relieved that the Media has failed to solicit any kind of response from the Secretaries as well as the Cabinet on the RCSC Press Release. We need to stride ahead beyond who is right and wrong. At the level of the Committee of Secretaries and the Cabinet, the interest of the nation and respect to the Tsawa Sum must take precedence over any other fiefdom.

I hope that all that ends well will be allowed to proceed well. Palden Drukpa ! Lha Gyelo !

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

His Holiness JeKhen Trulku Jigme Choedra and the 61st Birth Year.

In keeping with the tradition of Bhutanese astrology the Female Wood Horse Year had been bid adieu on 20th December,2014. And the Female Wood Sheep Year dawned on 21st December,2014. This year of Sheep is considered a pivotal year especially for those who celebrate their 61st Birth Year. His Holiness is 61 years old by Bhutanese calculation and 60 years by western method. In due deference to this pivotal period in life, His Holiness had decided to go into Retreat to spent time in meditation.

His Holiness had already appointed the Venerable Dorji Lopen as his Representative to preside over the Zhung Dratsang. In fact the holy role of Dorji Lopen had commenced on the auspicious day of 21st January, 2015 coinciding with the Bhutanese 1st Day of the 12th month. The Bhutanese Public at large may associate the Day with Chhunipai Losar which is celebrated as a national holiday since several years back. However, the Day has a very different significance to the calendar of Zhung Dratsang.

On this day all monks of Central Monastic Body who have the Punakha Dzong as their official residence are required to be present. It is on this Day that the new calendar year of Dratsang activities begin with the appointments to the all important Kudrung ( Prefect ) Posts by the Je Khenpo and Dhars offered by all monks to the new Kudrongs. This year the Khudrungs were appointed by Dorji Lopen. I therefore assume that the Venerable Dorji Lopen will be presiding on behalf of His Holiness Je Khenpo till 30th Day of the eleventh Bhutanese month.

Presently His Holiness himself is at Autso Kurtey and will be conducting the Moenlam Chhenmo Prayers from 26th February to 5th March, 2015 coinciding with the 8th to 15th days of Bhutanese first month of the year. According to unofficial sources this may be the last religious deed in public before entering the Kuentsam (meditation). Many faithfuls would be heading towards Autsho destination to receive Blessings as well as to get a last glimpse of His Holiness and of course to pray for reunion a year hence.

In his almost 2 decades on the Dharma Throne, His Holiness has transformed Zhung Dratsang and the national religious sentiment, awakened almost every Bhutanese to the call of Wang,Lung and Thri and promoted Buddhist Learning and Practising centres all over the Country. Today many of us feel enlightened in our own religious and cultural ways because His Holiness devoted so much of his time to share with us his immense knowledge and methods.

It is not necessary to be a Buddhist to appreciate the superior qualities of this incredible enlightened personality. His sense of duty, discipline and time management with on the dot kind of punctuality is a class of its own. His enthusiasm, stamina and understanding nature with holy patience  superimposed by his energising aura and motionless stillness of a Buddha gracing the Kikhor is a wonder that is felt but impossible to explain. From dawn to dusk, His Holiness lights up the congregations like the rays of the sun as he recites the scriptures and explains in layman term the essence of Dharma. There are even intervals of light moments of laughter as His Holiness touches real life incongruities of social and community happenings as examples to illustrate the inter winding of normal life and Dharma.

On a more personal note, I am convinced that till date His Holiness is the only Spiritual Leader who offered a substantive explanation about the inter connection between the complexities of Buddhist Scriptures and the discoveries made by scientists. That was during the one day Ngondro initiation conducted by His Holiness at the Thimphu Tashichhodzong Tendrel Thang. The discourse was to do with chastity but it was not about oath of celibacy. A happily married man like me do not believe in celibacy unless nature takes over and dictates. It was about seeking refuge, purification and general meaning of life and its relation with the world around.

I really came to know the holy person of His Holiness through Haa Moenlam Chhenmo that His Holiness graced all these past years. And very possibly His Holiness came to know me through my writeup that was adopted by Haa Moenlam Chhenmo General Meeting as the fundamentals for proper management of Moenlam Chhenmo Fund. I was told that His Holiness had even advised few other Moenlam Chhenmo Committees to adopt similar principles.

Although one gets opportunities to hear Dharma teachings and blessings from His Holiness yet one to one audience that may include exchange of opinion is very rare for layman of my position. But a day did come some ten or more years back. His Holiness had granted a date for audience to representatives of Haa Moenlam Chhenmo Committee. We wanted to request His Holiness to grace the Moenlam Chhenmo of the year and to seek convenient time. Dasho( Dr.) Gado Tshering and PJ who are well known to Chapjey and the Lams at the Gokha had initiated the audience process. I happened to be the Chairman of Haa Moenlam Chhenmo. That was how I was among the privileged in the audience at Punakha. In addition to the main topic ' Moenlam Chhenmo' His Holiness graciously indulged my two personal submissions.

One was seeking the thoughts of His Holiness on the famous Jho statue at Lhasa. And the other was that of my pray for His Holiness to continue his ongoing efforts to propagate the Dharma in the many different ways that His Holiness had embarked upon since enthronement on the Dharma Throne.

I submitted that Zhung Dratsang has to be proactive to combat the increasing encroachment of other Faiths. My contention was that  if there is lack of propagation or difficulty in practising due to scarcity of monks or costly in terms of finance , our age old religion that has been the historic bond of the nation would dwindle with passing years. In the past most Je Khenpos though learned were aged and travel conditions difficult and poor economic status and gruelling lifestyle worked against Dharma propagation which required for people to have the time to listen and reflect. Now Times and economic situation had changed and motor roads connected all Dzongkhags. And in His Holiness the Kingdom now had  a very learned Trulku who is in prime health with immense enthusiasm and stature. I hoped and prayed for a kind of religious renaissance.

More than a decade later today I stand in respectful admiration for the super human  deeds of His Holiness in propagating the Dharma through Wang Lung Thri ; through establishment of many Drubdeys, Sheydra and Lobdras, Moenlam Chhenmo in various Dzongkhags, free funeral ritual services by the Monk Body through out the Country and the construction of  Mitruk Lhakhang with the assistance of Veteran businessman Ap Shey Marb Rinchen near Thimphu Crematorium complex to cater for after death 21 days rituals. The Mitruk Lhakhang is now in service with outer residences built by the Government.

There are so many achievements by His Holiness and the Zhung Dratsang during the last 19 years. The one outstanding would be Dechog Khorlo Wang at Punakha in terms of pure religious empowerment and in terms of enhancing political sovereignty of the Kingdom, it has to be the act of evoking the full force of the Palden Drukpai Chhochang to lead the nation under the brave and wise Supreme  General His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck to rid the nation of insurgent forces who had infested the dense jungles of Southern Bhutan.

I am told that the first Je Khenpo His Holiness Pekar Juney was on the Dharma Throne for 21 years and died whilst still reigning. The beautiful imposing Chorten in front of Thimphu Dzongkhag was built as a Memorial to His Holiness I am told. Learned historians would be in actual position to authenticate the historical facts. I know for sure that His Holiness Nizer Trulku was on the Dharma Throne for 17 years and the present Je Khenpo His Holiness Trulku Jigme Choedra would be nearing 20 years.

In deep gratitude, admiration and respect for the Soul of Dharma, I share my feelings on the eve of the Retreat that His Holiness would be soon undertaking. I pray to Lord Buddha, Guru Pema Juney, Goen Tsebarme and Risum Goenpos for successful Retreat and for the opportunity to see His Holiness in good cheerful health after the year long Meditation.

Thank you most Holy Tsawai Lam. I learnt much and owe so much. I have a clear conscience but my heart is heavy for future is never certain. In your Blessings I have found my spiritual refuge.
May Your Holiness return to continue the Dharma task you have begun so profoundly. With deep Respects and Prayers for your sound health. Sangey of Haa Wangcha .

Friday, February 20, 2015

Druk Star Gem

The Contestant from the Southern region Robina Biswa was beginning to capture the imagination of many viewers. Unfortunately she exited in a flicker of time span. Thus the awe and excitement fluttered by the young beauty originating from the womb of Southern Bhutan evaporated on the night the 2015  Valentine Day. Maybe her Valentine awaits at a different time upon another stage of the world. Good Luck inspiring young soul ! Smile Ro- bi- na !

It was first HemRaj who captured my admiration and then  after quite a break in time, this young Singer again of Southern foothills comes along and fills the Druk Star stage with heart throbbing melodious pose and style. There are other Contestants also who are  equally able. But part of the enchantment with Robina was her contrasting root wherein extra effort is demanded for such diverse cultural artistry skills. She  is now out of the contest though like all other contestants, the experience would have substantially enriched her.

This girl had the quality of being among the Druk Star Finalists.  Looked good, sang well. And impressively articulate ! Her demeanour conveyed sincere upbringing and she possessed brimming confidence perhaps from good schooling. A smart promising youth deserving regards and congratulations to all who participated in her development.

An  amusing part of her participation was that for whatever reasons, the judges and the stage managers just could not pronounce her name, ' Robina Biswa ' with confidence. In a way this stumbling block illustrated more than any words, the charming excellence of this Southern Twinkle with an accomplished northern melodious wand.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Predicaments a galore !

The proposal of the police to frisk youths in group of 2 or more after 10 pm have caused concerns in some quarter. The proposal is intended to prevent or at least reduce crimes that most happen during the nights and most perpetrators happen to be youth.

One glaring fact is that Thimphu is no longer a safe city especially during late into the nights. The other fact is that majority of the youth who are out in the nights are simply out to have a good time among themselves. However, there are youths in groups and also adults who take advantage of darkness to commit crimes. Vandalisms, assaults,thefts and break-ins, rapes and gang fights generally occur under the cover of late night darkness and lonesome situations.  The social environment at Thimphu is not completely conducive to movements of single individuals during late nights even if they are just driving home after a dinner or a weekend movie treat.

So how can we secure the safety of citizens with limited police force which is inadequately trained and equipped and comparatively underpaid compared to the high level of diligence and skill required for maintaining a haphazardly over grown metropolitan like Thimphu? Do we restrict the movement of general people during late night hours in some parts of the City where crime rate is high? Do we carry out spot frisking of night owls to discourage or prevent criminal intents or acts?

It is a tough call. Not at all black and white. On one hand we need to have a safe and socially friendly environment where people feel safe both during the day and during the night. And on the other hand infringing upon the freedom of certain age groups is also socially undesirable.

One national trait that we ought to put to the past era is make things overly restrictive and viciously enforced as in the case of gho, kira and tobacco. Do not unnecessarily criminalise the social habits of our own citizens. Caged animals cannot lie still as hoped by the keeper. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Political Snowstorm at Delhi, India.

The white flakes ( white caps ) stormed out the saffron and all else. AAP Party of Kejriwal sent tremors along the BJP political spine.

Initially I wrote, Congress may get few more seats than last tally since all the talk was about fight between BJP and AAP, leaving Congress to make inroads silently. However the exit poles suggested differently. The indication was that the  voters were leaning towards the Maverick Party. It could be a sign of voter saturation with big power houses, I wrote.  The end result struck off Congress from Delhi. It seems Congress was in slumber not working silently. Maybe it would not have mattered whether Congress slept or worked because BJP was up in arms all the way and ended up being routed to miserly 3 out of 70 seats.

The miracle of Kejriwal AAP Party was spurred on by both Presidents of BJP and Congress. Amit Shah gambled on Kiran Bedi to repeat his political wizardry. She was supposed to win the imagination of the rebellious youths of Delhi and Modi's several lakh rupees republic day suit was to impress and awe the middle class. Unfortunately the combination of Kiran Bedi and remodeled image of Modi was seen as a symbol of Elitist Police State Administration. Perhaps a political taboo for the Capital State of world's largest democracy.

Sonia Gandhi had backed her son and his supposed young team. This is the 2nd time the mother blundered. The 1st blunder was silently watching her son tearing the Ordinance Bill . That public grossly act destroyed the fabric structure of Congress which finally led to BJP sweeping the General Election. Congress Party has Gandhi Family at the pinnacle but the Party's fabric is upheld by stalwarts which Rahul Gandhi targeted venomously.

Modi and his team sidelined the BJP Party  Seniors after the General Election Sweep and now in  Delhi, the even more younger generation of voters sidelined BJP Leadership and their candidates. Its not yet goodbye at national level but the descend has begun for team Modi. The citadel has been fatally breached in the capital city of India.

AAP Party proved to be an inferno at close quarter like in Delhi but it's political fire brand was unable to kindle the mass at national level. And the Party just does not have the copyright to governance. So it may still be unable to govern the voters after winning their votes. Subsidies and promise of largesse and image of humility raises hopes but these are, though important factors, form only a small part of governance. The AAP candidates must be already lobbying for berths and gradually cracks will develop. Even so one would hope that the Party succeeds well so that voters will come to trust and develop faith hereafter in similar Maverick Parties that should come up at regional level in other parts of India.

Kejriwal and young generation voters and volunteers of India have arrived and Politics in India has been recast. This can happen anywhere because the main tool of politics:  the mass communication is at the finger tips of every netizen. And another phenomenon is internet banking where small contributions from masses accumulate to finance Party needs. And the beauty of mass small contribution comes with mass votes. In his fight for Democratic Party Presidential nomination, Obama capitalised on small contributions from masses which also translated to votes to defeat his main rival Hillary Clinton.

The electronic world has finally provided the practical means and ways for common masses to collectively join hands and dictate their political will.. Hopefully the Party of the Common Man does endeavour to serve both the commoner and the nation.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Future Opens at the end of High School.

The all Bhutan class xii results are out. Few would rejoice at exceptional performance, many happy for making it through and lesser number sadder for bad result. In due respects to teachers and honest students I choose to leave behind the shame of authorities in handling the question leaks that is finally followed by horrible denial.

Let me say a few words to all students who have just passed through High Schools. No wise words just what I have observed and deduced through a lifetime of experience.

Your future may have been decided at the time of your conception or birth. Apart from this possibility, the Door to your practical life and hence Future really opens on the path you choose, made to choose or simply cornered to choose because another avenue is just not available upon receipt of your class xii result.

Whatever the honest opportunity that comes your way this time, please develop full faith and plunge into it. Even if it means for few, re-schooling the final high school year, Go Ahead! Its just one extra year investment for a lifetime of better life. This one time, do not let yourself down. Life begs for one opportunity to succeed so have the courage and the will to grant this one chance to yourself.

Dear Parents and students, it is easy to jump in joy when successful and it is difficult to stand when failure daunts and taunts. Maybe, you may even feel humiliated and ashamed. This is not the time to curse, blame or quarrel. And of all reactions, do not make excuses of any kind and worse blame friends, teachers or schools or the systems. Accept failure but do not feel defeated. Failure may be a way of realising another way that could in the long run prove to be the correct path for the future.

In my life I learned not to pray for all good things because that is not what real life is. I prayed for strength and means to overcome trials of life and if that is not possible then at least the endurance to accept the unacceptable and move on. That is not to say that I do not try hard to build or shape life to my desire or comfort. However ,  I learnt early in life, that  some things will happen no matter what one does and most happen incredibly for a reason.

In the end it is not what happens but what way you choose to move ahead. Success and Failure is not determined by one incident of topping in the Exam or failing in the Exam. For a determined sincere individual it is just an indication of how much reserve you must develop within yourself to built your life here onwards.

So dear Parents and Students the success in High School is worth celebrating but its not a guarantee of great life ahead. There is more hard work ahead with plenty ups and downs. Still the 1st successful step is the confident initial  step in the right direction. So Congratulations !

And for Parents and Students who fared less than desired or expected or failed in the class xii exam, you have to know that this is not the end of the road. It is definitely an obstacle and somehow must be surmounted.  You need all your faculties in proper condition so try to do away with lamenting or prolonged disappointment. Renew your hope and will, try harder in the way that is open to you. Do not waste energy and good Karma in banging closed doors. Maybe its not your door.

Fate is not in anyone's hand but all else can be affected by our outlook and determination. Please share this thought with other students and other parents if you happen to read this. Thank you. Always for Better Life !