Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Remembering King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck

In the heart of Thimphu stands the Memorial Chorten built in the memory of His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. And yet most visitors to the complex have other reasons than remembering the King even on his birthday the 2nd of May.

Every year when in Thimphu I visit the Chorten to offer my nyendha on the birthday. Just a short visit: bowing to the Chorten from the four directions and making the three rounds reciting the mantras of Chenrizi, Jampelyang and Chhana Dorji,  one mantra for each round. Then enter the Chorten frontal the north to offer nyendha at the two chhoesum dedicated to His Majesty one facing the north and the other facing the south and of course to all other holy Phurba deities of the land enshrined within the Chorten. I thank the Majestic Genius of a King for his service to the nation and his personal kindness to me. And request His Majesty to bless his royal members, the people and the nation.

Generations evolve around the memorial chorten. Memories fade away for the old and the young have less reason to recall. I felt a sense of desolation during the last visit.  Only one entrance, the north one was partially open to allow a person to enter. In spite of many around the Chorten it was lonely within. In fact I had to ask the caretaker if he intended to keep the partially open entrance that way for sometime. I did not want to be locked in for the whole day. It disturbed me greatly to find that even on the birthday, there was no especially arranged Chhoeba on the two alters. Possibly the caretaker did not know the nation was observing a holiday to mark this event. I do not blame him. The whole nation was quite silent about it. I suppose close family members would be having their own remembrance moment elsewhere. On the Chhoesum facing the south, someone had left an offering of shell roti. It made me smile to note that at least a lhotsampa family remembered the late King on his Birthday. 

I remember His Majesty with deep reverence and admiration. He was so wise, far sighted and self confident. The King did not ever feel insecure about questions of his Kingship and the policies he was pursuing. One could ask any pertinent question and His Majesty would so considerately take the time and effort to provide comprehensive answers. He did not even mind being asked on what he thought of his dynasty future. Maybe in my simple directness, he found a much needed self mirror of his reign.

And His Majesty did not hesitate responding to honest reaction. I remember that at one time the illustrious grand old Home Minister His Excellency Tamji Jagar was putting people by truck load under police custody for wearing long hair. At Motithang Hotel, I submitted that hair was an inherited gift of birth and I found it difficult to find justification in the rule enforced by the Home Ministry. It was just one of the many views I had submitted to the royal person that evening. I did not expect any instant change nor royal displeasure for my heartfelt views. So it was a surprise relief when later the Home Minister adopted a more lenient pace of tolerance. Decades later the enforcement of compulsory wearing of gho and kira even in the homes of Southern Bhutanese originally from Nepal contributed to the uprising in 1989- 1990.

His Majesty the 3rd King was under no delusions regarding the two giant neighbours of Bhutan. India was valued as a close development friend whilst China was deemed vital to maintaining the sovereignty of Bhutan. The political reality of securing sovereignty for Bhutan was through balancing Indian tendency for dominance against China's security sense for a vital  need of a sovereign buffer state. Today I still believe this royal thought holds true. If Bhutan shuns China, it will become a weaker victim of Indian dominance.

For a moment  I shall deviate from the remembrance subject for a crucial historical introspection. His Excellency Prime Minister Jigme Palden Dorji for all his dedicated service to the Kingdom may have engrained maternal antagonism towards China for taking over Tibet. His royal grandmother was from Tibet and his own wife Ashi Tessla is a daughter of a former Tibetan Governor of Tibet. The 3rd King on the other hand was totally free from such personal prejudices. Therefore His Majesty was in better political position to adopt a Stately Approach to both China and India. He had no personal family based axe to grind with China nor personal gratitude to honour with India.

The King was strictly propelled by the genuine national sovereign interests of his Kingdom and his people when it came to the field of external relationship with the two giant nations. For a time in the 1960s it was geographically convenient to foster growing relation with India. But 1970s begin with a different dimension inaugurated with the entry of Bhutan into the Family of United Nations. Thus in the years ahead, it would be fatal if the external national policy of Bhutan towards China is guided by age old maternalistic instinct of antagonism. I pray for a policy resurrection because a ship cannot stay afloat if it begrudges the builder that shaped its hull. With this I end the deviation for introspection.

Apart from the sovereign status of Bhutan, the King had anxiety over the , "smooth and successful taking over of the reign by the younger generation." In the 3 years  that I knew His Majesty, he secured solutions to both his two major national anxieties. Somehow, the King managed to obligate reluctant India to secure Bhutan's entry  into the membership of United Nations. His Majesty had to finally play the China card through the Royal Advisory Council to convince India how serious the Kingdom viewed the necessity to secure UN membership.  And internally the Crown Prince was oriented to holding the reign of governance as Chairman of Planning Commission and then installed as the Trongsa Penlop just before his own passing away.

I never realised the extent of His Majesty's health problem when on that wintry night at Motithang Hotel, he expressed his anxiety about the generation gap and how the young inexperienced generation could cope with sudden responsibility. I did realise though that the King was referring to the Crown Prince but I thought there would be ample time. Thankfully I did submit that learning the art of managing people was more relevant than academic lessons for the future King.  Soon after that conversation, the Planning Commission Chairmanship came about.

In retrospection I think the King willed himself to live until he was able to take care of the two major State Affairs.

There were two personalities that the King specifically mentioned. One was Dasho Lam Penjor a red scarf officer from Paro who had successfully handled the responsibility of Directorship of the Department of Posts and Telegraph. Dasho was the first Bhutanese Director that His Majesty appointed and his success paved the way for His Majesty to confidently appoint other Bhutanese Directors to gradually take over the reign of national administration from more academically qualified Indian Officers appointed by India. India and her Advisors in Bhutan did not think that the less educated and inexperienced Bhutanese Officers were up to the task of directing the Development Activities that India was funding under the 5year Plans. No wonder His Majesty was very royally pleased with, " Lam Penjor ".  The other more luminous personality was His Majesty's own royal brother, His Royal Highness Paro Penlop who was also the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Bhutan Army during the crucial period of late 1960s. His Majesty said that he had later taken over as Commander- in- Chief only because of external factor.

His Majesty 's trust in his royal brother was only matched by the dedication he received. When the King passed away, it was His Royal Highness who stood solidly with the people's will to nullify the legislated Regent alternative  and submit to Rule by the young Crown Prince as the 4th King of Bhutan. I am sure that was the way His Majesty would have really wanted but the voice of the populace had to be given a chance to be heard thus the legislation of the Regent alternative by the National Assembly under His Majesty's direction.

His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck felt that his dynasty was relevant only if the people so felt. It was the reason behind the the introduction of the No Confidence Vote legislation in the National Assembly by His Majesty.  That was also the gist of His address long before to the assembled subjects from Haa and Paro at Ugyen Pelri Palace ground in Paro soon after the Sino Indo war of 1962. All Bhutanese able men aged 15 and above was conscripted to form the Royal Bhutan Army Fighting Force at the present Royal Bhutan Police Head Quarter area in Thimphu.  His Majesty had called representatives from families of his soldiers to simply thank them and to honestly state that only for the nation and the people, he was taking the responsibility to lead their fathers, husbands and sons to defend the nation. He was least concerned about protecting his own kingship. He simply did not want to be the Wangchuck King who lost the Kingdom of the Bhutanese people.

Upon the sudden shocking demise of the great King, the shocked National Assembly did away with both the Regent and No Confidence Vote legislations. It was just too dangerous to leave even a small opportunistic opening for undesirable inner and external forces to destabilise the Kingdom. The national loss of His Majesty was described as, ' the sun being suddenly eclipsed at midday leaving the nation groping in total darkness'.

The longest one to one  conversation I had with His Majesty was for about two hours  in the Sitting Room of Motithang Hotel. It was supposed to be a fancy dress dance party. The King had come in a soldier's jungle warfare uniform complete with helmet and dark lines across the royal countenance and I was in a Red Indian dress as per directive of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince. When His Majesty saw me, he inquired why I was not dancing. I admitted my clumsiness and His Majesty said that he too was not a good dancer. I suppose His Majesty preferred to let the dance party enjoy free from his dominating presence. I was invited to be in the royal company in the sitting room adjoining the dance cum bar hall.  I remember Her Royal Highness Princess Choki Wangchuck, sister of His Majesty upon the King's request took a photograph of us. I also vividly recall the shocked reaction of Dasho Rimp, maternal uncle of the 4th King when he came aside from the dance hall to light a cigarette only to find His Majesty light it for him. It seemed that Dasho was unaware of the presence of His Majesty in the adjoining hall when he left the presence of other royal members to light a smoke.

The royal conversation ranged from His Majesty's own adolescent escapades to his concerns of the state of national affairs and ended with the necessity and importance of keeping abreast with the world affairs through the 9 pm BBC radio news. Years later my first valuable purchase from the professional study scholarship stipend in Japan was a Sony short wave radio in 1975.

Months before that unexpected audience at Motithang Hotel,  His Majesty had granted the 1st royal audience to us the students at Ugyen Wangchuck Academy. It was quite a long  duration audience. I remember submitting several questions clubbed together on the state of the nation, on China and India and on the institution of Monarchy. His Majesty shared so much more at great length. Looking back I think it was part of royal education for the Crown Prince who was the centre of prominence in the audience. In fact that royal session was followed up with weekly visits of Ministers and Royal Councillors to educate the students about national affairs.  The other occasion of royal audience was during a National Celebration Event at the  Changlingmithang ground. I recall being a participant in several of His Majesty's pranks. One was stealing a lady's hand bag. Years later I read in a book authored by a former Indian Advisor to Bhutanese Government that the late King had his wife's hand bag stolen and later had it returned with a gift. And most memorable was His Majesty suddenly Commanding the well  known  Drimpon Sonam to have his troupe perform for, " my friend " said His Majesty. I was simply astonished.

My last audience was at the celebration ground at Lungtenphug  on the day of Bhutan's admission into the august Organisation of United Nations. His Majesty was in real high royal good mood. All the Ugyen Wangchuck students received a seiko wrist watch as present. I was invited to accompany His Majesty as he made the rounds. Sometimes later His Majesty said he had an important task and that he will see me later.  I watched as His Majesty made his way to the car that just arrived. And Her Majesty the Queen gracefully stepped out to be received by the King. Hand in hand the King escorted his Queen to the VVIP enclosure. That was my last live memory of the great King who was almost like a Father Guru Figure to me.
The next audience was at the Royal Lingka near Tashichhodzong beside the Thimphu River and the willow trees that the King had personally planted, wherein sadly for the nation, His Majesty lay in state. I was too overwhelmed with the loss and weighed in deeply by heavy sadness at that particular moment. But later in my heart, I made a silent commitment, ' To serve the Nation and the Monarchy in the way His Majesty would have wanted me. Honestly and Courageously uphold a mirror to the sovereign status of the Kingdom and the solemn integrity of the Institution of the Monarchy'. I think that was what His Majesty actually found and accepted me as an honest mirror on his policies and the state of the nation as I perceived through my limited perception but frank forthright views.

I still have a huge debt to pay back to a King who so graciously accepted me as I was. One lifetime would never be enough to thank a King and I am already deeply in another's debt that of  His Majesty the 4th King who also graciously  accepted me as I am.

Since the last few years, I have realised that there is perhaps a generation gap between my own perception and that of national Leadership on the state of the Kingdom. I take this opportunity to apologise for any seemingly unacceptable infringement. In heart of heart, I will always be true to this nation and the Wangchuck Kings. It is only my honest forthright ways that is being misconstrued upon as seemingly an alien culture in an ever increasing world of fair weather crowd whose purpose is directed more towards pursuit of self preservation and profiteering.

In conclusion, I request all Bhutanese young and old, male and female to spare a moment to cherish a great human being on 2nd May. Someday, maybe, a Government may come about which would sponsor a Kuchhoe at the Memorial Chorten on His Majesty's Birth Day. Then possibly all the four entrances to the inner sanctum of Memorial Chorten would be opened on 2nd May and young souls could freely march in held by loving hands of parents and be silently blessed by the spirit of a truly great King. I was truly blessed during my Ugyen Wangchuck Academy days by the golden rays of two great Kings. Thank You Your Majesties.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Department of Revenue and Customs a house of corruption or what ?

It is appalling to read that more than 20 million ngultrums could be leaking out  daily at Phuentsholing Revenue & Customs Check Post. This has got to be corrected and it should be possible to plug this continuous haemorrhage of tax money at various international check points.  After all there had to be honest officers still dedicating their service to the nation.  The system of governance must be geared to encourage honest environment. When authorities favour incapable yes men  and forcefully remove or suppress honest able officers, the culture of corruption has to spread.

Long ago some smart employees had realised that the culture of successful survival lay in the practice of joint corruption wherein the spoils are split up and down. That way lush posting is available and promotion is guaranteed with rewards unlimited. Corruption is not a disease as some have termed. It is becoming the core of  systematic style of national management.

Honesty and frankness is frowned upon. Even informers are penalised by administrative agencies. Therefore even
ACC cannot match the might of corrupted individuals and Agencies that enjoy government confidence. And very soon ACC too could get corrupted or blunted by sheer force of the nature of entrenched system of corruption.

The public hears a great deal of anti-corruption talks and orientation workshops but hardly any concrete sample of leading the crusade by example. The ills of corruption is not restricted to any specific individual, agency or government nor to definition of haves and have nots. It is prevalent all the time and at every opportunity more so where transactions are huge and a plentiful like check posts of Revenue and Custom and mining activities and at banks. Recently I even heard of a terrible story of passport renewal fee fraud that victimise students studying in third countries. There is no shame and  no boundary and definitely no fear since it is conducted at team work level.

I just wonder if the Ministry of Finance would be willing to contract out the whole system. Maybe it is possible to enrich the cash strapped Government to some extent through a honest and able supervision and management of such custom and revenue and mining check posts in Bhutan. A system of healthy and continuous check and balanced management needs to be introduced and enforced to encourage diligence and honesty.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Celebrating life through Poetry at Sunshine

Today the 24th of April, 2015 is Sunshine School  Poetry Tribute Day celebrating the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Jewel of men His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo. The event was graced by Her Majesty Queen Mother Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck. Her Majesty is an accomplished author and a lover of poetic literature.

The guests were impressively entertained by the recitations of array of Poems and Proverbs in English and Dzongkhag  sprinkled with songs by the young souls of Sunshine School. You had to see to believe and admire what young minds can be coached to perform. Each class from PP to VI performed turn wise on the stage. And every group displayed its own charm and skill of articulation and expression. As one watched the lines of different class groups ( PP to VI ) silently and sweetly file in to take their place on the stage, one could feel the nervous excitement and pride of each individual student. 

Once on the stage, what was most visible was the tremendous coaching efforts that the teachers had invested into their pupils our children and grandchildren. They then greeted the Queen mother and other  guests  before  reciting their poems or proverbs with sparkling countenance and innocent ease and again gracefully bowing out to exit the stage in single orderly file not in regiment rigidity but in soft orderly shuffle of eager tender feet.

As I watched the whole show, it dawned upon me what really constituted wholesome education. The crux of education is grooming from early stage to bring out the best in the most enjoyable and participatory manner. Every student, each class and all teachers collectively participated to stage a poetic show in celebration of the 60th Birth Anniversary of the King who sacrificed his youth and prime life to nuture to blossom the full potential of his people and kingdom.

The theme was ' SUNSHINE Celebrates LIFE through Poetry '. And a celebration it was as both Ministers of Education and Health and few other guests joined Sunshine School students in the recitation of Poems and even contributing to the wealth of Bhutanese proverbs.

The celebration with Sunshine gracefully  concluded with the recitation of the Poem,  ' The Jewel of Men ' by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck the Queen Mother.

Tomorrow is reserved for all parents to share the celebration of LIFE through poetry at SUNSHINE School.  I encourage you to witness the performance of your children and share their joy and pride tomorrow as this will lay the path to enjoy their accomplishments in later life. Thank you Sunshine for your endeavour in shaping able citizens of the future.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A jackpot of all jackasses.

On 22nd April 2015, the jackpot of all jackasses @drukleaks tweets the following remarks regarding my article about patang and kamni to quote:

" @Wangcha Sangey. Guess it is sparked frm not him being awarded 1 but he shld be grateful that he has to right to wear a  white one ". Unquote.

This jackass hides his identity but his intention is naked chamcha trumpeting till blue in the face to gain personal favour. I do not know this chamcha but possibly  some others would personally know this public jackass. I have a message for him :

Quote, " My allegiance is raw and naked. Not polished to solicit favour as like a chamcha. I believe that white kamni is an age old custom and not anyone's right as such.  However, if it was meant as an implied threat, you display a sad and unhinged existence.

I am not jealous of those who are honoured with patang and kamni. This  is why I support that such personalities keep wearing the colour kamni even without patang after retiring. I always thought it was an act displaying respect to the authority who granted the the honour as well as displaying one's honoured social position.

You jackass now can wear all the colour kamni of the retired Dashos to your early grave since you object to them wearing so. To me the tradition of colour kamni and patang is an honour granted by an authority which possess the prerogative power.  Patang and kamni  is not a natural or automatic right of any person whether civilian or elected or simple ordinary citizen. Even under democracy, it is not an electorate right. At least it is not specifically mentioned in the constitution that an individual elected to represent a constituency is entitled to patang and colour kamni. It is an honour not an individual entitlement.

Therefore to my understanding such an honour is an honour no matter how or where or when or to whom it is bestowed. As such, such honour cannot be erased by simple revocation: denying wearing the kamni to the grave unless the whole system undergoes a total revolution of change wherein  social, cultural and traditional meaning and concept are changed legally or politically. I sincerely thought that the sanctity of an institutional prerogative would be best upheld if it is not subjected to variations and different definition. However, I have no problem with any final decision of an authorised Agency. As the jackpot of a jackass pointed out I have no colour kamni so I cannot be a victim.

The difference between me and the jackpot of all jackasses is that he lives for self  preservation whilst I endeavour to preserve the goodness of sovereign nation and institution. I have been reminded in no uncertain terms that I am nobody to make such an endeavour. And I  humbly accept that I have no official or unofficial position nor any type of influence.  It is just that the allegiance  to this nation and the institution that steered it, is part of my upbringing and so it is difficult to change overnight.

I do not posses a variable political and social character as in jackpot of a jackass. My heart cannot betray Bhutan  though I read the implied threat when the chama jackass writes that I should feel  grateful for the right to wear white kamni. I know that only Bhutanese who are imprisoned are denied wearing kamni.  Sad is the day when this once Camelot of a Kingdom is now also home to such a jackpot." Unquote.

It is believed that it takes at least a year for natural truth to be revealed by super natural forces. I therefore pray that by this time next year for Pelden Lham and Yeshey Goenpo to separate the milk from the water. The detractors who have misconstrued the intent of my article and maliciously reported  should also submit to the judgement of Pel Yeshey Goenpo and Pelden Lhamo.

I had deleted my article on kamni and patang and had also requested Kuensel moderator to please not publish it. Further to those who inquired about it, I had requested that they kindly accept my decision to withdraw the article from the social media. I do not wish it to be misconstrued. But detractors like jackpot of all jackasses who still won't let go but insist on fueling controversies for personal gains need to be answered in their own language.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Divided Congress Party of India ?

The Farmers Rally in Delhi last Sunday showed no sign of revamping Congress Party and no resounding endorsement of Rahul Gandhi as an able accepted Leader of whole of Congress Party. At best a Congress Spokeswriter maintained that there was no rift between mother and son since both shared the stage during the Party organised Rally. Such statement rather than reassuring actually highlights Party disorientation. It would have spelt political suicide of the Party if Sonia Gandhi had been absent during the much touted farmer rally organised to reintroduce Rahul Gandhi.

On her part Mrs. Sonia Gandhi said Rahul spoke well as expected at the Rally and when asked about his Party President role, she said only Rahul can answer that question. Following Sunday Rally, Rahul spoke up the next day in the Parliament. Only 20 of the 44 Congress MPs attended the Session. Did the majority take sabbatical leave? This is serious indicative absence because an oral whip was  supposed to have been issued that all should attend the Session. If a written Party whip had been issued and more than half chose to be absent, then politically Rahul had no business to even hold on to the Party Vice President Post.

Rahul charged Modi of being away from farmers but he himself lacked any contact with farmers since the defeat in the last General Election. So it was like the kettle calling the pot black. He accused Modi Government of being pro rich and anti farmer. And in turn the Government accused Congress of reserving words for the farmers and deeds for the rich.

Few prominent figures of Congress Party have been quite vocal about the need for Sonia Gandhi to continue staying on as Party President and some hinted that they will resign if and when Rahul takes over. Now it looks like the ball is in the Rahul court. Only he can answer as his mother had commented. Will Rahul Gandhi move over and out to save the Party or he will choose to break the Party and become President of what's left over of old Congress Party? Perhaps the answer will become clearer once the fate of the Modi Government proposed Land Acquisition Bill is decided by the Parliament.

Monday, April 20, 2015

PCAL in Deep Water Question is dragged to Court by an under performing embarrassed Management.

Will PCAL Management be able to reverse the trend of receding company performance by going to the Court? I have my doubts. How does the Company explain low sales apart from blaming competitors.? Everyone is required to face competition in every day life from birth to death therefore especially for a seasoned commercial enterprise challenges from competitors cannot be a valid reason for continuous under performance.  Would the lawsuit against Kuensel justify decreasing profit and explain why the CEO had to resign ?

What could be the logic of wasting both financial and human resources in senseless  litigation in the name of saving reputation. Whose reputation ? If those who decided to do something about their supposedly tarnished image then concentrate on improving the 2015 Corporate balance sheet. It is the dignified norm to answer critics. Wasting shareholders money on legal ego trip is way off the corporate way.
I just cannot see how the commercial success of PCAL would be adversely affected by the Kuensel article ? It should rather motivate the management and the Board to do a better job hereafter. As a shareholder I am astonished with the absolute bamboozled response of PCAL to a not so flattering article about it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

People Democratic Party ( PDP ) and Election commitments:

1. Power Tiller in every Chiwog:

This could be achieved. Already every geog has been given one as per Government announcement. Within the 11th Plan the Government may receive the balance from the Government of Japan. The Government and the people of Japan have shown extraordinary interest to improve agriculture life of rural Bhutan where over 65℅of national population struggle to live a rural sustaining life. The many power Tillers donated in the past have eased manpower shortage, relieved back breaking physical exhaustion and have improved crop production by enabling tilling of fields better and deeper than a pair of bullock was able to. The side benefits that are unaccounted are better health, shorter labour days, convenience and more economic in hiring power tillers rather than caring for bulls throughout the year although the need is seasonal. Saves time and expenses and also reduces animal bondage and conserves natural resources and prevents nature degradation from over grazing. Human porterage is also drastically reduced with rural roads and power Tillers. Thus Ultimately power Tillers bring about a better standard of living in rural Bhutan. The Japanese Power Tiller is a true agent of change for better life and livelihood of rural Bhutan.

The Government decision to hire out Power Tiller at all inclusive cost of Nu: 1400 per day is commendable. The proposed rate is similar to prevailing hire rate of private Tiller. However, I have one anxiety. That is  farm work is seasonal and this creates prolonged period of idle days and then sudden huge demand for urgent seasonal work for the power Tillers. The Government may need to workout strategy to meet seasonal demand and also generation of income for Power Tiller Hiring Unit during off season. One way would be to fix per Kms rates for farm product transportation. I do hope that the Power Tiller Scheme can be fully implemented as this will transform rural farm life as well as meet food production goal.

2. 9 months maternity leave:

I really do not care for the implementation  of this election promise. Such a compulsory scheme could deny employment opportunity to fair sex. Not even the Government which is adopting a lean and clean administrative machinery can afford such a paid leave for civil servants. The corporations and other private business enterprises are facing constraints to even afford the present 3 months maternity leave.

My own preference would be to extend the present maternity leave to cover every child birth instead of maximum two at present. Bhutan needs population growth in real human birth terms not statistical manipulation to show artificial growth. And instead of longer maternity leave the target should be to improve mother child health. This can be done for example by providing a nutrition allowance to the mother say one month additional gross salary for every birth. For private enterprise this cost could be shared by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. The Corporations should be able to afford the amount. Also paternity leave needs to be increased to 3 weeks. It will be good family happiness sharing experience and less domestic strain on new mothers.

3. Helicopter Service:

This emergency service is essential but as I had earlier stated it is not worth the national pain of having a larger Indian Air Force Wing in Bhutan. The small Indian Air Force Unit at Paro airfield is proving more than national headache for Bhutan Civil  Aviation Authority.  Some feel that Bhutanese people should not express aloud such grievances against India because the situation can get worse. I on the other hand feel that it will help in developing a respectable long lasting Indo- Bhutan relationship if the Government and the people of India know the true grassroot sentiment of Bhutan.

4. Bolero Jeeps for every Geog:

This of course is in the final stage. I feel that altogether this will be a big maintenance headache and a real tool of misuse. The initial capital is said to be grant from India. However the expenses for drivers, fuel, spare parts, repairs and misuses will drain resources that could be better productively utilised elsewhere in the Geog activities.

5. Central Schools:

Central Schools will have huge impact as in those bygone early decades. The question is can the nation sustain the system. In the past we had to gradually do away with the Central School system because of financial constraints. I have only one question to the otherwise well intended Policy. Why provide the sun, the moon and the stars to the students that are housed as boarders and only a mid- day meal to dayscholars?

It would be only fair to share national resources as equally as possibly among all Bhutanese students. There may be hostel space shortage but the dayscholars should be provided with uniforms and sports wear along with the mid- day meal. Why does the Government come up with such one sided policy?. The dayscholars should not be given foster children treatment. This policy  seems to be reflection of similar agenda that guided the pay revision last year. I feel that Bhutan is too small to absorb the two class segregation system. I hope the Government can revisit the incentive part for the dayscholars. Thank you.

I conclude these thoughts with the prayer and hope that the Government will find the necessary political will and luck in executing the 11th 5year plan successfully especially the roads because road transport is national economic lifeline. I do not doubt the anxiety that the national leadership face but with the help and faith in our Deities may we succeed in our development endeavours.

The reconstruction of Congress Party of India or final political gamble on Rahul?

Foreign news media has noted the resurface of Rahul Gandhi.  Rahul may have absented himself from disastrous political scene for the last 2 months to seek a path to political rebirth for himself. It is said that he attended a meditation centre in Myanmar a known Buddhist Country.

Lord Buddha is not revered for political goal but King Ashoka of ancient India gained historical greatness in following Buddha path.  Ashoka was a very successful King and General even before he met the Disciple of Buddha. On the other hand, Rahul has failed in every battle except that of the womb wherein he was born the son in a society that largely idolises male supremacy.  Even then I see some hope for Rahul if he has meditated on the essence of respecting his party elders whilst endeavouring to lead the younger members.  It simply does not pay to feed the present generation on the griefs of the senior generation and that was what Rahul political mantra was in the past Congress inner party politics.

This Sunday is set to be perhaps a desperate political attempt to create for Rahul Gandhi an acceptable position at the helm of Congress command centre.

Congress Party is holding a Rally against the Land Acquisition Bill of Modi Government at New Delhi tomorrow the 19th of April,2015. The rally is planned to star Rahul as the key speaker and it may have been planned on a Sunday to attract spectators among curious weekend Delhi crowd.  Outwardly, it is possibly a penultimate field show of Rahul before pushing over his mother Sonia Gandhi as Congress President. However, this Congress farmer rally could be within Party battle of senior versus younger Congress leadership and unexpectedly a real fight between rival younger leaders of Congress. The political young wolves have smelled blood in the failing health of popular Party President Sonia Gandhi, the continuous political woes of heir apparent Rahul Gandhi and the disintegration and disinterest  of senior leaders of the Congress Party.

So come this pivotal Sunday in Delhi and the eyes of the political pundits would be on the other Speakers besides Rahul Gandhi and the reaction of the crowd towards them. In the past, Mrs. Gandhi has solidly backed her son but the heir apparent has never been enthusiastic with the political wisdom of his mother especially her confidence in the senior Congress stalwarts. And this rebel attitude of Rahul has largely contributed to the decimation of Congress Party in the last General Election. I had predicted the possibility of Congress debacle whilst UPA was still in power.

Congress Party is so historically tied to Gandhi family that the Party does not have much of a choice other than Rahul unless Priyanka Gandhi is willing to take a chance and steps forward. This will depend on Rahul response. Would Rahul welcome his sister in the interest of providing the best chance for the Party revival ?

A note of explanation to Bhutanese readers please.  On all international politics, I write as a democratic world citizen and not just as a Bhutanese. I pursue it as a way of testing the accuracy of my own political perceptions in a totally free political environment. And on all topics on Bhutan I write as a dedicated faithful experienced Bhutanese citizen. I have no other ulterior motive except the respect and prayer for the goodness of sovereign Bhutan under constitutional Monarchy system. And my perception of Bhutanese society and politics have withstood the test of time and the events that followed both during absolute Monarchy time and during last several years of constitutional democracy. Even then I apologise for any unintended personal offence and public controversies that outright frankness could cause. I sincerely feel that misunderstandings happen mainly because whilst most are deep in the past and present affairs, my thoughts are on coming future and end goal devoid of present nitty gritty. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Breach of Sovereignty- a heart wrenching knockout for true Bhutanese.

The seemingly all purpose official gazette of the Bhutanese Cabinet " The Bhutanese " under its 6th April,2015 " Editorial " and " Two highway projects" article  confirms that the two crucial  South Bhutan  highway projects have been shelved because of Indian Army Operation against Militants. The Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay has finally blurted out the truth to the ' The Bhutanese '. The duration of the  Indian Military Operation is termed indefinite. It can go on forever.

The  Prime Minister of the Bhutanese Nation has near about admitted that South Bhutan Jungles have been taken over by the Indian Military Forces for indefinite period and therefore the two nationally crucial highway projects that run along these very Jungles of South Bhutan had to be shut down. Thank you Prime Minister for at least being honest and  voicing out the state of your helplessness.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan bestows upon the royal shoulder of the constitutional Monarch the security of the Nation and the Kidu welfare of the people including the grant of land and citizenship.
So security of South Bhutan is not in the hand of the ruling Cabinet.

A democratically elected Government's main mandate, therefore, seems to be , to  shoulder the responsibility of implementing to the fullest the 5 year Development Plan. Possibly for this reason a newly elected Government takes over the rein of governance at the onset of a new 5 year Plan. The elected Government takes over the proposed 5year plan and after incorporating any new additions or deletions in line with its Party manifesto and Election Promises, submits the same to the Parliament for passing the planned activities and required budget. Once that is done, the governing Political Party has the moral and executive responsibility to get the job done. And just as you cannot save the baby if the womb is removed, the 11th 5year Plan does not have a soul if the South Bhutan Highways are shelved. All other nitty gritty and sleeping walking affairs of the nation can be done by an interim government. It is not necessary to have a democratically elected pro active vibrant Executive Government.

I humbly pray to the Prime Minister to please submit his Government's predicament to the Throne. If he is unable to implement his Government's 5 year Plan because of precarious security problem in South Bhutan, do not approach Tenzing Lamzang of The Bhutanese. Only His Majesty the King has the constitutional mandate to ensure ( in this particular case ) the physical internal security of the  Kingdom in the South.  Not Tenzing Lamzang and certainly never the Indian Army that should dictate how the Bhutanese Government should govern and fulfill its mandate.

The Prime Minister has made extensive reference to the 2003 military campaign led by His Majesty the 4th King to oust the armed insurgent groups of Indian origin from these very Jungles of South Bhutan. The Triple Gem King led the military campaign personally at the head of his own Defence Forces because he realised the grave national risks involved if Bhutan entrusted the Indian Army
to oust the Indian Insurgents from South Bhutan. And now after 12 years the Indian Military takes over.

What is the difference to the sovereign status of the Kingdom of Bhutan between the occupation of South Bhutan by armed Indian Insurgent Groups till 2003 and now the " indefinite period " of Indian Military supposed Operation against Insurgent Groups that requires the Government of Bhutan to lay off its development jurisdiction over South Bhutan? What really did the National Defence Forces  achieve in the 2003 military campaign if South Bhutan still lies captive to foreign forces ? And of what use is our Defence Forces if according to the Prime Minister they cannot even ensure safe travel to Bhutanese even if his Government constructed the two highways in South Bhutan ? Forget guarding the Kingdom against external aggression, the Defences Forces of Bhutan cannot be relied upon by  the Government to ensure safety of  Bhutanese travellers inside Bhutan along the  if constructed Southern highways. A fearful reason for national lament.

The Paper quotes the Prime Minister stating that the South Bhutan Highways were shelved, " for domestic reasons and not under any advice or pressure of any foreign Country ". What can a Bhutanese citizen honestly say against such a declaration. It was not any Foreign Country just India or since when had Indian Military Operation become a domestic issue of Bhutan.

In a nutshell , one can assume that the citizens of the Kingdom would be aggrieved that the Government has been prevented from implementing its flagship development activity of the 11th  5year Plan. Therefore, the strong reactions in the social media. However, the Leadership must not feel  that the animosity is directed towards  it. The animosity should be rightly directed towards the Southern Neighbour which is the cause of South Bhutan highway projects stoppage under whatever national or regional reasons. But grief will be expressed to the national Leadership for where else could the citizens of the Kingdom look for leadership ? It is for the Leadership of the Kingdom to impress upon the Government of India and her Military that South Bhutan cannot be held hostage for indefinite period. I for one deeply respect the Government and upon my soul hold the highest of reverence and faith in the Throne. But the Policy of India towards Bhutan especially in the recent times poses danger to the Nation and therefore to the Throne also. Bhutan needs to gain jurisdiction over its Kingdom and for this reason I am passing this message to India.

Of all the Countries in the world I have genuine reasons to be grateful and like India and her people but by the oath of Pelden Drukpa I love Bhutan above all else and will forever in my lifetime express and practise this loyalty and love for my Country. It is not my responsibility to call upon fellow Bhutanese to join me. A Bhutanese has a sovereign duty to find where his or her heart lies. It should not be in the gut of the stomach. It should be in the nerve centre of self existence in a sovereign Kingdom. We must support our beloved Monarchs and the Prime Minister in the dark hour when even most imperative core development plans  and  of indispensable national nature are stopped for reasons of Indian Military Adventurism. With Love from Sangey of Haa Wangcha Bhutan.

Pelden Drukpa Lha Gyelo ! ! !

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A memorable walk in the heavenly Valley of Paro.

Today at Ugyen Pelri Palace Paro Bhutan, I and my partner had the privilege of being among the Zangthopelri of congregation of beauties of nature and people that the 60 year old Monarch King Jigme Singye Wangchuck devoted decades to nurture to full blossom.

The Flower Exhibition organised by Her Majesty Queen Mother Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck represents a united love and effort of many agencies and individuals of the Kingdom to pay a fitting tribute to the the Triple Gem King. Today I finally comprehended the aura and depth of love that " a Metho gi Chhoeba " represents and reflects.  Thank you Lungtenchen gi Queen Mother and all who contributed to the creation of this symbolism of national blossom of love and gratitude to the 4th King. His Majesty embodies the earthly, heavenly and kyka ( enduring spirit of faith and fate ) of the nation and people. A Paradise of nature in full blossoms,  cherished and admired by so many visitors makes possible for this one day a true feeling of happiness. And when we came to the Gadhen Kyestel Garden, I had to ask my 2nd mother of our family to pose together for a photo before we entered the mystique valley of Shangrila. Love is ageless !

Altogether the 4th of April, 2015 reflected the colours and essence of a Bhutanese family life. The day began as planned the night before. The 1st mother opted out of Tsechu visit. ( As it turned out she as usual was right. It was so crowded and mostly standing leg room was physically taxing at Diyang kha. This holy ground forever blessed by the Guru Tsengye Thongdrel and stomped upon by thousands of pilgrims every year for 5 days of religious festival brought back memories I cherish ). Today was a busy day for the family. The fete day of grandson school Jigme Namgyel was a must visit and parents meeting at Sunshine was another must attend to task. In addition the usual family home chores and social obligations. The family day began at 4 am and probably will end sometime midnight for younger adult members at the gathering of college days friends.

For the two of us parents the sight of early morning Thongdrel followed with a chance to share with the pilgrims the privilege of sighting the King and Queen at Diyangkha and incredibly again at the gate of Ugyen Pelri after our shangrila experience, kindled in my heart the assurance of better years ahead for the nation and of course for our immediate family. Thank You Kenchhosum. A walk in Paro valley was a journey that threaded the past, present and future of my life. Those days at Paro Ugyen Wangchuck Academy, the football games at Ugyen Pelri Palace ground and later the first Paro Tsechu Thongdrel Blessing with the Love and Light of our family the 1st mother. Those past were carefree, full of enthusiasm utopian days and present  much aged and more seasoned but equally happy and grateful days and then the benevolent signs of future.

Wishing to all the Blessings of the Holy Paro Tsechu Thongdrel and warmer and brighter days ahead.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Catching ups with old thoughts and news

1. At the onset of Ukraine disruption, I wrote that Crimea will remain part of Russia but not other parts. Today it remains so.

2. When Rahul Gandhi blasted ManMohan Singh Cabinet on the Ordinance Bill, I surmised that it was the beginning of the end of Congress Party since he was demeaning the old guards that constituted the Party backbone. Today Congress has been reduced to a minimal existence. The only united Congress rallying I heard was when a CBI Court issued summons to former Prime Minister ManMohan Singh.

3. By the way, I am sure glad that Supreme Court of India had stayed the Summon issued by the CBI Court to the honest man of India former Prime Minister ManMohan Singh.

4. After the astounding Delhi Election I felt there would be trouble within AAP and said so. But not so soon ! Politics in India has bullet train speed.

5. In Bhutan I had hoped that Parliament would uphold basic human right and political right for an MP to resign. Thank you Parliament for preserving this little semblance of democracy. Imagine what democracy could mean to the man on the street in Bhutan if an MP faced absolute strictures.

6. I have been praying hard and hoping madly that democracy also bring about more flexibility in the exercise of our national sovereignty to secure national interests. But either the Prayers are unheard or the Pelden Drukpai ChhongChang have taken a much deserved Earned Leave. Our ChhoChangs guided our Kings through so many national crisis before. Maybe like the Buddhist Rimpocheys who claims God does not exist so possible for the Bhutanese  type democractic ruling, , ChhoChang does not exist.

7. World Democracy has taken a new direction recently when so many voices acclaimed late prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew  as exemplary strong democratic Leader. It is written that he promoted school flogging ( sorry " caning " unruly students writes Manish Gyawali a writer and consultant in his 2nd April,15 article on Lee Kuan Yew ) so that the young students followed disciplined adult citizen path when they grew up. My own humble view is that he seems to have an astute very capable strong arm tactic successful Leader. And he had that internationally dominating character which exploited to the hilt the crucial geopolitical location of Singapore as an axis of world shipping lanes. Every Power in the world wanted the island nation to be stable and neutral under whatever governance. May Singaporeans fare well hereafter.