Friday, July 31, 2015

A Coup d'etet against the people. A de facto collusion among MPs, Cabinet and Election Commission ?

During the last Session of the Parliament, there was a lot of discussions about Dzongkhag Thromde and Yenlag Thromde. It never occurred to me that the boundaries of those different categories of Thromde ( proposed townships ) had already been secretly drawn up and quietly demarcated by the Government. And that the Government was  seeking from the Parliament not just approval in principle for establishment of such Townships but also approval for the arbitrarily demarcated boundaries.

Recently on 8th of JULY, 2015, a high level multi agency technical team comprising of representatives  of Parliament, Election Commission & the Government visited Haa Dzongkhag. This super team stunned the farmers of Watsa Village under Katsho Geog with the shocking announcement that the Parliament had already approved the inclusion of their farm land under expanded Haa Thromde. It was like a lightening out of blue. Even Katsho Gup, the Chairman of the Local Government was taken aback by the official dictate. There had been not even a hint of such an ominous decision. Both the Local Government and the affected villagers had been kept in total darkness.

Such decision is an edict of a Dictator. Not a decision of a democratic system channelled through and consulted about with the people and established layers of consultative agencies.

I have no comment on the relevance or irrelevance of expanded or creation of new Thromdeys but the process was not democratic and the Parliament should not have admitted such strong arm proposals even for discussion in what was once an august hall for national deliberation. Has it been turned to a horse trading stable ? The Opposition Party is hollow, the National Council capricious and ruling MPs on Party gala march. Who really is for transparent democratic national governance ?

About an acre and half of my village farm land falls under the expanded Thromde. Personally, I have no qualms about being part of Thromde. It would be a simple issue of distributing the ancestral land falling under Thromde among well brought up and capable 15 younger generation members. And moreover, the community village lands are also being gradually encroached upon by Indian Military in Haa under the facade of land acquirements for Royal Bhutan Army. Such trend of encroachment will be stopped for good once the land is under Thromde authority. Therefore, I see some national merit but condemn the unilateral decision.

My fellow village people are appalled by such turn of event and I am with my soul mates by reasons of birth. Kith and kin plus for democracy.  Actually farming is a tedious task and wild animals, a perennial destructive force for crops. The villagers have homes but they have to spent all nights in the fields guarding the crops. It has been a losing battle not just in my village but all over Bhutan. In some cases the cost of cultivation effort is more than the cash value of produces. But where can villagers go and what else can they do for livelihood? Even educated youths are unable to find sustainable employment. As far as possible the nation must value the village life for the social harmony, the interrelated and interdependent community life, the disciplined unity and the level of livelihood security that farmers etch out on their farm lands.

The affected people would not have felt so deceived and let down if the Government had not been so secretive and cruel. The principle of democracy has been trampled upon. The grievances need to be listed because silence is humiliating.

This PDP formed Government is behaving more like a Political Party on a rampage than a national Government. It is  proving to be bereft of democratic values and sense of respect for sovereign people dignity. It uses any and all means to force its decision upon the people. Not just somethings but almost everything this Government does begs legal clarity or are outright dictatorial in nature.  Are Government decisions intentional, inadvertent, treachery or simply foolishnesses out of inexperience?

The Kingdom has been deluded with avalanches of political blunders that cascaded upon the nation scene since PDP came to power.  The Cabinet began its first day of governance by acknowledging Indian Ambassador leadership in national affairs. As a result India House influence looms large in the Country. This India omnipotence  image was further reinforced with the Government sacking 3 most senior and highly regarded Government Secretaries: Cabinet Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Economic Secretary on the ground that their collective action offended India. The Governments even neutralised  the initially fiery defence of the Secretaries by Civil Service Commission by dangling the carrot of the possibility of second term for the  Commissioners.  This was followed by the Government pulling the plug under the 11th 5 year development Plan by cancelling the flagship Southern Highway Projects on grounds of India Bhutan security.  And sometimes back, it has been exposed that the economic policies promoted by the Government was aligned to the electric car marketing strategies of foreign multi national corporations.

Somebody please tell PDP that election rhetorics, campaign hates and dictatorial ways must stop. The country needs a national Government not a Political Party vengeance rampage. It is not healthy to create doubts about people's allegiance to the Tsawa Soum.  Some voted for PDP and some voted for DPT, mostly based on their family ties and personal likes and dislikes for the candidates. The revered institution of the Monarchy was never on the ballot. And many did not even vote in the General Election. It is harmful to sovereign governance to politically nurture a national mentality of India first no matter what the cost is to Bhutan. It shakes national confidence in the political leadership and the institution of the monarchy which is supposed to stand up to officious outside interferences and domination.

Now the sudden onslaught of 40 numbers of Thromde and Yenlag Thromde all at one go will destroy the local harmony and sustainability derived from centuries old farms and ingrained rural culture and customs. It is no longer a case of choice migration from rural to urban. It is a case  of urban life and its disenchanted modern cultures steamrolling over major part of rural life and livelihood.

The democratic  grievance here is that people are told that the administration of the nation is based on democracy and yet in matters of crucial livelihood existence, the grass root people  are deprived of even a consultation process regarding their land and their life style. The affected villagers and the local Government were completely shunned out of the decision making process by this government.

A democratic government does not preempt the voice of the people. In  democracy a Government does not instill fear and saw seeds of instability and uncertainties among communities.

In the development context, the Government has been unable to even improve the condition of existing rural community roads. So it cannot be expected to develop the gross number of  approved townships. This headlong rush to create so many urban centres and hold immediate elections is to disrupt traditional vote banks and also increase taxation base.

The. nation just does not have the  necessary financial and technical human resources to plan and build infrastructures of so many townships at one go. Even existing urban centres are facing acute shortage of both fund and technical human resources.  The elected officials have specialised in robbing the society at large to enrich themselves. The 5℅ tax on fuel and mobile vouchers to fund their enhanced salaries and perks is just one demonstration of their self benefiting skills.

If democracy is a genuine national aspiration, then this relentless pursuit of narrow Political Party interest must be restrained.  The soul of true democracy is the voice of the people. And the voice of the people are being gradually murdered. The present Government has turned its back to the people and destroyed larger national interests for narrow political party immediate gains.

What kind of political leadership would tell the farmers during the day that their land is vital for their livelihood and then during the dark night  usurp the very farm lands for urban centres?

With the onslaught of such a rush to expand existing Townships and create new ones, most farmers will lose their land holdings to the social and political elites who have the means to develop the lands and pay the high urban taxes. The poor will become poorer and the rich will become richer. On the other hand if development of Thromde is transparent and gradually paced out over 20 years, most farmers would have time to prepare for urban demands and get to keep their land.

The decision of the Parliament is final subject to: (1)  that due democratic process was followed in formulating the draft Bill and then presenting it to the House and (2)  that it receives the consent of the King. I do not know whether the Parliament decision especially the arbitrary boundary demarcations received the consent of the Throne. However, it is very clear that due democratic process was not at all followed. And, therefore , it is now incumbent upon the Parliament to reverse its decision in the next session and take to tasks those that failed in their responsibility to adhere to the principle of democratic governance.

And in case any one is of the opinion that due process and voice of the stakeholders are not binding upon the Parliament then you are likely to be residing in the Indian State of Sikkim. For in that Country without consulting the people, the Government proposed and the elected representatives voted to become part of  India in 1974.  And that was the end of a Kingdom. And this can happen to Bhutan if the voice of the common people are silenced in major national decisions.

This time in Bhutan the Government proposed and the elected representatives approved the secretly drawn Thromde boundaries leaving the people completely in the dark in Haa and Paro and maybe elsewhere in the Country,too.  This is not the spirit of democracy guaranteed by the Constitution and the methodology of democracy functioning laid down by the Druk Gyalpo to protect and preserve the participation of people at  grassroot level in the national decision making process. The gift of democracy must belong to all Bhutanese.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A one time goodwill between Bhutan Judiciary and OAG or more against a common detractor?

Kuensel Issue of 29th July, 2015 quotes the amazing, sharply expressive statements of Attorney General Dasho Shera Lhendup on, ' High Court order of 28th July for OAG instead of ACC to prosecute Haa LhakhangKarpo case of Lyonpo Rinzin Dorji and Project Manager.'

" We are grateful for the final wisdom of the court that settles down institutions and habitual claims of self righteousness."

" We fully respect the order and is obliged to execute it as per every hairline of the wise order."

" After all, none is infallible and ultimately  subject to social censures of democratic culture."

" There is limit to institutional courtesy one can extent towards the hard work one has dedicated during one's term but ultimately we all must come to term with the timeless rule of law."

I find the above statements of opinion from the Attorney General strikingly comprehensive and illustratively revealing and educative. I do not think the presently headless ACC would be forth coming any time soon  with a response of matching depth and width. I am still trying to grasp all the dimensions and shears.  Hard luck ACC and now less lustre for your GyalpoShing  laurel. The arch of politics swings both ways and in quite a short span of time, too !

The rumour is that Dasho Neten Zam who demanded OAG hand over the Lhakhang Karpo case to ACC for Appeal to High Court, has completed her term as Chairperson of Anti Corruption Commission and gone back to her home in Dewathang, Eastern Bhutan.  Just A Rumour. 

Lhakhang Karpo case is now a Lhakhang Narpo case smearing stakeholders of every kind. The Appeal could be now withdrawn or diluted as the case warrants in the eyes of OAG.  If the print media is to be believed, the Office of Attorney General had not wanted to appeal the Haa Court verdict on Lyonpo Rinzin Dorji but for the forceful demand of the ACC Chairperson who has retired very recently.

Nevertheless, I have to admire the legal verses of Dasho Shera Lhendup. In the judiciary world of Bhutan, these  expressive  statements of Attorney General would be as memorable and catchy as the first Rigsar song he had composed and sung in his youthful and perhaps  love forlorn days.

In this particular case, the forlorn figure is Lyonpo Rinzin Dorji. His party pack has kind of left him by the wayside with a morsel of a survival chance gift.  This High Court Order could save Lyonpo's MP status and thereby,the constituency seat of his Party, as conviction is now unlikely.

Monday, July 27, 2015

All in a days work at Thimphu General Referral Hospital.

Early morning today, a nurse hands over a green gown to the boy patient sitting on  bed Nu:9 E and instructs, " Wear it for O.T ". The surprised attendant to the patient tells the nurse that the patient was not scheduled for any operation. Could she recheck the medical record please? The nurse agrees to recheck and later comes back and to the relief of attendant informs that it was the patient on bed no: 8 E who was scheduled for operation. 

About 2 hours later, the doctor making the daily round of the ward patients tells the nurse on duty that the bed no: 9 patient is fit to be discharged.  The boy patient had been hospitalised for ear infection and put under 5 days treatment course of 6 hourly intravenous antibiotic injections. The case was rather grave as infection could spread to both the brain and throat. Luckily he was recovering well thanks to the timely treatment. But the prescribed injection course would not be completed if the patient was to be discharged a day early. So the anxious  attendant requested the duty nurse to bring this to the attention of the kind doctor. The nurse did not think it really mattered. Ultimately the attendant braved a chance to directly approach the doctor who was attending to other patients in the ward. " The patient is O.K but discharge can be done tomorrow morning upon completion of the injections " the doctor reconsidered. . That was a big relief to the attendant because usually doctors always advised patients to complete the treatment course even if one feels fit towards the end of the prescribed treatment duration days.

Now to pray, " Triple Gem please continue to look after all things and incidents for better and more interesting and happy life of my beloved grandson ". He is a good child and a studious student who needs to rejoin his class. But good health is always priority number one . Thank you Hospital, the doctors. technicians, nurses and the Bhutanese nation for good and free facility.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A New Dawn for Bhutan and China Relationship.

It takes a writeup from the Ambassador of China for the Bhutanese public to find out that a historic beginning was made in July, 2015 in Sino- Bhutan political aspirations. It is a good indication that the national Newspaper Kuensel was not barred from carrying the Ambassador's article titled,  ' Discovering Happiness in Bhutan '  in its  Saturday issue of 25th July, 2015 coinciding with the Bhutanese 9th day of the 6th month. It is an auspicious day and may this news augur great tidings henceforth for Bhutan China relations.

The Bhutanese media had covered the  17th July,2015 meeting between the Bhutanese Prime Minister and the Ambassador Le Yucheng from China. It was the first meeting of its kind for the Prime Minister of second democratic Government of Bhutan. He certainly has some catching ups to do.

Behind the past scene of national governance and rhetorics, His Majesty the 4th Druk Gyalpo had always kept up constant contact with the Government of China. I think every Chinese delegation especially the Border Talk teams was warmly received in audience regardless of who led the delegation. Even after abdication, the King did not desert the vital importance of pursuing good relation with China the giant neighbour of Bhutan in the north. Of course for all the Kings, the priority in external affairs was always Bhutan India friendship. But  now more paramount has to be ultimately the long term sovereign interest of Bhutan. And so there is no way of shunning, forever, more positive ties with China. The earlier the positive moves are made, better it would be for national development and aspiration.

For a Bhutanese, it is easy to understand the overwhelming influence of the living national legend on national policies, on His Majesty the People's King and the elected Government.  However, the political outlook of the modern world is such that the symbolism is viewed differently. Therefore, the audience of the King on the Throne to the Chinese Ambassador, since the second Bhutanese General Election, is historic. Finally the Kingdom of Bhutan has taken the historic step to indicate to the world that the nation is prepared to confront the reality of geopolitics in the most positive and politically mature manner. May the Deities grant Bhutanese Leaderships an abundance of national courage and political acumen.

China and India are not the father and mother of Bhutan.  But they cannot be wished away from the geopolitical aspirations of the Kingdom. I have always looked forward to a sensible  and politically mature opening since 2008.  Majority of the Bhutanese  would be relieved with the new national outlook towards China. Now, the more important concern is the understanding and encouragement from other nations especially from Bhutan 's forever generous and historic closest friend India and the world's only Superpower United States of America. It is hoped that they would appreciate the otherwise precarious geopolitical position of Bhutan.

China is not just a regional giant, it is a world power of considerable implication. Even bastion of Western Powers like Germany and Britain have acknowledged that through accelerated  China rapprochement policies much to the dismay of America.   Bhutan must also awaken to the foreign policies of other South Asian neighbours. It cannot copycat the complex political game of Far East nations like Japan and Philippines. Japan with super power pact with America and a vast body of water inbetween, may get away rattling sabre against China. Even then I am not sure whether Abe is leading Japan to economic abscess or military glory. But Bhutan's fate would surely be doomed if the Kingdom engages in India America proxy war against China.

It  has to be heart warming for the Spirit of centuries old Kingdom to witness a fresh political maturity in the collective political leadership of the world's youngest democracy, in international diplomacy. May Bhutanese sovereignty wisdom and fortitude prevail in Bhutan China and India triangle diplomacy.

Pelden Drukpa ! Lha Gyelo !

Thursday, July 23, 2015

People Services that Government can easily put in place.

What Government can do so easily for the benefit of the Bhutanese society at large should be done immediately. It does not cost the Government a penny and it does not pinch existing businesses. And it gives citizens more choices, better services at more affordable price.

So the Ministry of Economic should issue at least 5 new licences for distribution of petroleum products including diesel, petrol and yes especially cooking gas. The gas lines in Thimphu is a national shame of mis-governance.  The Government should demonstrate that it can govern to facilitate public convenience. The present three distributors are inundated with back logs especially with supply of cooking gas. Please act for the harassed customers.

It is good news that another Medical Diagnostic Centre has been opened in Thimphu. There is the need for another 3 such centres covering different population centres in Thimphu. Thimphu General Hospital is over loaded not just during 9 am to 3 pm but even during paid for consulting  hours in the evenings.

Then there is an absolute need for private Dental Clinics in Thimphu. The morning scene at the General Hospital Dental Section is like a fish market. People in pain and forget chairs, even standing room is limited. Quality service within the available facility is there but its simply saturated.

Dental problems are natural extensions of growing up for the young and aging decline for the elderly. And though pain anywhere in parts of body is painful, dental pain somehow renders the victim helpless. It just does not stick to locality this dental pain. It spreads to neck, head, ears and places strictures on both speech and meal. I hope the Health Minister will come up with his own brand of get the damn job done anyhow. It used to be the spirit of Bhutanese Contractors at one time before it was replaced with bribe and profit. The Hon' ble Minister was a very able construction Contractor. Just be the Doer Your Excellency, let your Cabinet Colleagues do the talking.

Yes,  the huge population of Thimphu needs Dental Clinics. Diagnostic Centres and new more enthusiastic Cooking Gas Distribution Agents who should also be allowed to sell other petroleum Products to be commercially competitive with existing Distributors.

What Thimphu does not need is the growing population of teenagers swarming all the nooks and corners all over Thimphu City from Friday nights. So Education Ministry please, please review this newly empowered Government Schools' decision to wind up Schooling on Saturday. Its alright up to Class 2 students to be off on Saturday but older Children must remain in School for half day on Saturday. Otherwise Thimphu Police will have to immediately build more detention centres that will get crowded from Friday afternoon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blessings Come in Sudden Gush !

This morning turned on the TV around 5:15 and there was His Holiness the 70th Jhe Khenpo of Bhutan on the subject of Offering of Mendey, the importance of cleanliness of both the Mind and the Environment. This was followed by former Venerable Yangpi Lopen of Central Monastic Body of Bhutan sharing thoughts on social, moral and piousness with educationists. Then turned the channel from BBS 2  to BBC and surprisingly the programme was on the visit of His Holiness the Vatican Pope of Rome visiting Ecuador in South America. The Pope was on a Mission to Bless the Poor and awaken world conscience to the plight of the Poor in the world.

Truly a kind of experiencing the presence  of the Triple Gem in my own life.  On this very holy day, the day of the 1st Sermon of Lord Buddha, I humbly feel enlightened and truly blessed. Lord Buddha and the Triple Gem has many ways to convey Blessings.  One such channel seems to be through the earthly holy figures for those ready to receive the Blessings. I bow with gratitude to the greatness of the Holy Prince of Dharma and to the invincible all knowing and virtuous Triple Gem. 

Wishing for all the Blessings of the 1st Sermon of Lord Buddha.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The application of the Law of the Land in the Government versus Chang Ugyen legal battle.

The Laws of the Land are :  The Thrimzhung Chhenmo of 1959 ; The Civil and the Criminal Procedure Code of Bhutan of 2001 ; The Penal Code of Bhutan of 2004 and The Constitution of Bhutan of 2008.

This is not a discussion about the politics of the case. I am singularly interested in the High Court interpretation of the basis of the appeal made by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the Government.

Chang Ugyen was convicted of possessing land properties through illegal land registration manipulation by the High Court in 2008 and made to replace the lands so aquired. The lands he had illegally acquired were not forfeited instead he was made to replace the lands ( I suppose from some other similar value areas ). It seems no additional penalty was levied on him for the illegal deeds.

The case was complicated from the beginning with Chang Ugyen denying wrong doing but nevertheless accepting the High Court Verdict. In the recent criminal charge regarding the same issue, he denied committing any criminal deed but accepted the verdict of the Dzongkhag Court in the larger interest of concluding the case according to his lawyer.

In 2014 the PDP Government had sought punishment for Chang Ugyen's illegal deed which the Government deemed to be  criminal in nature and not addressed in the High Court verdict of 2008. So a criminal law suit regarding the same land registration manipulation case was filed against Chang Ugen by the OAG on behalf of the Government in 2014 in the Thimphu Dzongkhag Court.

The illegal deeds were suspected to have been committed in between 1987 and 1989 when the Law of the Land was the Thrimzhung Chhenmo. So the OAG had charged Chang Ugyen under the Thrimzhung Chhenmo. And as generally expected, the Dzongkhag Court, too , seems to have issued its verdict based on the Thrimzhung Chhenmo.

Now the OAG appeal is contesting the appropriateness of the Dzongkhag Court in basing the verdict on the Thrimzhung Chhenmo under which the defendant was charged. The crux of the OAG grievance is seeking a prison term for Chang Ugyen. According to OAG if the Dzongkhag Court had based its verdict on more recent Laws of the Land instead of Thrimzhung Chhenmo, the defendant would get a prison term.

The more recent Laws of the Land were not in vogue then and the criminal charge was also made under Thrimzhung Chhenmo which was in vogue then.

Will the High Court refer the case back to the Dzongkhag Court Bench with a directive to review the case under the more recent Laws of the Land or reject the OAG appeal ?

Till now the biggest land manipulation case that came to the Court maybe the GyalpoShing case filed by ACC. The Case moved from Monger Dzongkgag Court to High Court and finally at Supreme Court. No one was subjected to prison term but the lands in question were forfeited and involved defendants subjected to other penalties as a consequence.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Defining Courage.

The Voice of Conscience echoes Courage. So if you seek courage search no further. Simply look within deeper.  Below the layers of fears and pleasures.

Courage is a little more than being brave, mighty or strong. It is possessing the spirit to stand up for great Beliefs and greater Rights even in the face of Fear and Defeat. Only few are blessed by the gods with this indomitable spirit. So uphold it with dignity.

To many, it may seem foolhardy, reckless and possibly suicidal. But none, be they foes, friends or bystanders will disrespect true courage. The fault line of being courageous is that those that truly care and love you could be adversely affected. So pray deeply for them. And hold dear their love and sacrifice.

History is filled with narratives of the Courageous and yet far more numbers would have remained unknown.   Greater Humanity and Goodness are gifts of such known and unknown souls of courage. I remain awed and grateful to all. So must you and follow their path.

These are my words of gift to my beloved eldest son Sangey Wangchuk in celebration of his promotion to the rank of Major in the Royal Bhutan Army. " May you  always be in possession of the courage to serve the Tsawa Soum and the Triple Gem. And above all , the courage to be honest with yourself. I will not always be there to share the success and pain of my children but pray I always do to the Triple Gem to Bless the Good and the Courageous." With Love Apa. Wednesday the 15th July, 2015 Thimphu, Bhutan.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lhakhang Karpo case is more grave than that of GyalpoShing case says ACC.

The Anti Corruption  Commission letter to the  Office of Attorney General  minces no word or thought. The letter content as revealed to print media is blunt and unambiguous. The Attorney General Shera Lhendup took a sensible decision to accede to ACC request.

I am not sure why a Supreme Court official expressed reservation to a reporter about  ACC prosecuting the case. If the Judiciary had reservation of any kind, the right time to express would have been during the last court case prosecuted by ACC. Now such intervention would be looked upon as judiciary in political armoury suit regardless of the intent of the Supreme Court or any other judiciary committee.

We need to understand that whether the Prosecutor is ACC or OAG, the judicial process takes place in the domain of the Judiciary. It is unlike CBI prosecuting their accused in CBI Courts in India. Even there such Courts though designated to process purely CBI cases, have judicial independence. Such Courts would have more technical and investigative knowledge and comprehension.

In its letter to OAG, the ACC had declared that Lhakhang Karpo case was more grave than the of GyalpoShing land allotment case. This comparison puts the Lhakhang Karpo case to an altogether a different sphere. And the attributed comment of a Supreme Court official carried over in the print media further fuels the complexity. Now there is an added on judicial and political dimension.

It has been said that corruption  is corruption whether big or small . Even then in terms of financial amount, the Lhakhang Karpo case is rather minuscule when compared to many others. I did not think that the actions of the Committee Chairman who is also the Head of the Haa Dzongkhag Administration tantamount to commitment of grave crime but at the same time, I was surprised by the judicial white wash. The  pendulums of right and wrong in a criminal suit hinges on, it seems , on a vital criteria., ' beyond reasonable doubt.'

According to available information in the public domain. the acquittal was based on a document signed by several Tender Committee Members. Did that document alone raise doubt ? I suspect there may be other substantial basis for the acquittal.

Generally any document relating to a Committee that is signed on piece meal basis on individual convenience or prodding and any decision arrived outside an officially convened Meeting is not recognised as valid. A resolution or decision of a Committee or Board must be reached in an officially convened Meeting called as per laid down prescribed procedures. And as long as the mandated quorum is met the resolution or decision reached in so convened Meeting is valid.

However, simply someone putting in writing a desired outcome on a piece of paper and then getting signatures of individuals on such a draft does not constitute a valid resolution or decision of a Committee or Board. The essence is to understand that an individual cannot qualify as a Committee member or Board member until and unless he or she acts in the manner so prescribed and is part of the forum officially convened. Acting irresponsibly is subjecting to liabilities both legal and administrative.

How the case fares here onward would depend on the validity of the basis of acquittal from Haa Court. But you bet many eyes and ears now would be on the outcome especially those involved in GyalpoShing case.

I just wonder aloud what the ACC response would have been if the verdict had included a strong reprimand for lapses in Committee Chairmanship execution and commercial rate payment of the  ten DCM trips minus the fuel input by the Foreign Minister and partial refund of sawing Charges by L.D. Sawmill ? It would not have had bearing on the present political post of Foreign Minister and it may have begrudgingly stopped ACC from appealing the Case to High Court.

Justice is of course expected to be based on law of the Land but better still if Justice is seen to be delivered by more onlookers and stakeholders.

The quality of democracy is determined by the quality of judiciary and governance. May fair justice and fair governance prevail. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Truth and Reality of GNH.

Gross National Happiness has grossly outgrown the fundamental simple but crucial philosophy of national guiding goal that it was.

In my view harnessing happiness dimension is a tall order. And happiness is abstract so it is felt differently by different individuals. I do not believe that everyone genuinely aspires to be happy in like manner. If such a fallacy was a fact the world would be in far better shape. People would be less hungry for power and less driven to subjugate the other. Happiness is definitely not centred on an individual aspiration. That's why I find it rather naive on part of  many self proclaimed happiness authors declaring that every individual aspires to be happy.

It is actually more correct to assume that everyone aspires to be successful or famous than happy. Success and fame bring in a level of satisfaction and pride just as wealth and materialism promote convenience and comfort. However success, fame , wealth and other materialism do not necessarily usher in that ' state being of happiness.'

The King of GNH philosophy was not promoting or propagating a unique philosophy termed ' happiness ' when he said that the happiness of his subjects was more relevant than gross national product. He was not grappling for that unfathomable state of utopian happiness on earth. What he meant was that comfort and convenience level of all his subjects were more important to him than the statistic figure of GDP or GNH.

These alien economic indicators used to measure national progress did not reflect the actual living standard and condition of his people struggling in rural Bhutan for 2 or 3 square meals a day and a shelter that they could reside in as home. GNP and GDP were designed to indicate the grand accumulation of national wealth and productivity which actually are mostly  found in the hands of the upper pyramid of the whole of world society including Bhutan.  The King was more interested to raise the socio- economic  standard of the masses ( all his subjects ). He understood that poor and miserable livelihood of the masses was not accurately reflected in the statistic of GDP. The national picture of urban Bhutan and rural Bhutan did not tally. GNP was growing but livelihood status of rural people remained as it was. GNP was blind to rural misery just as the beggar on the street is invisible in the aura of  developed world economic statistic although beggars and very poor people also exist in the industrialised nations. Per capita income is far away from the reality of the actual income of the real poor people.

To the youngest ruling Monarch who was struggling with many crucial national issue during 1970s, it must have been frustratingly disappointing to be in a position of scarce political advice to enhance national sovereignty and inadequate economic data that failed to gauge the true livelihood status of his subjects.

History was a trial by fire for King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The sceptre of reign was thrust into his hands at the tender age of 16 when the third King suddenly passed away. China the northern neighbour of Bhutan was in the midst of national struggle to find its rightful world position. And India the other neighbour in the south was in the aggressive political mood of consolidating her external security that entailed encroaching into the domain of her tiny neighbours. In 1972 Crown Prince Jigme Singye Wangchuck ascended the Throne of the Kingdom of Bhutan. In 1974 the Kingdom of Sikkim the immediate neighbour of Bhutan to the west was annexed by India. It was a massive political earthquake for the young King. The Ruler of Sikkim was maternal uncle of the Bhutanese King and the two Kingdoms shared so much commonalities.

The Bhutanese national bureaucracy was young and inexperienced and in any case, political and traditional culture prohibited loud honest thinking. Such an introvert culture made subjugation easy but it also causes bankruptcy in resourcing true picture of national conscience in that it is not possible for a King to differentiate between true allegiance and obedience; honest words from pleasing words.

The King was young and inexperienced and unmarried. He did not have a queen to share his deeper thoughts. His own royal family members ( paternal and maternal ) may have been at different wave length and deeply shocked by turn of events upon the unexpected death of the third King.

There was impregnable united family and national will  standing by the King. But how does a young King hold on to his throne and thereby ensure the sovereignty of the Kingdom in the face of Sikkim annexation? The danger was external not internal.

What would be that magic formula that makes possible the sovereign dignity of a tiny nation to survive powerful external designs ? The third King had the answer. And if the great father did not have the time to share the answer with his royal son then the young King must have scooped it from the amber of Sikkim annexation. The annexation was quick and smooth because the people of Sikkim had not protested loudly in adequate numbers. It was said that the Chogyel of Sikkim with his American wife had forgotten the true base of his throne. The people at grassroot level were not taught to hold a stake in the affairs of Sikkim. No stake therefore no onus and thus easy acceptance of new masters.

His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck knew from the start of his reign that the sovereignty of the Kingdom rested with the Dragon Throne and the very stability of the Dragon Throne itself had to rooted in the hearts of the common people. All the kingly deeds since ascending the throne in 1952 demonstrated that care and concern for the common people. The serfdom practice was abolished. Compulsory labour was reduced to the minimum and wages instituted for such labour. Rural taxes were reduced to nominal statistical requirement. Bonded labour to chieftains removed. The land holding ceiling was decreed for the rich whilst the commoners were provided for with land and even shelter. And to those bulk of the average farmers who toiled upon limited  ancestral farms lands handed down the family lines, the King gave his solemn words that he will never wrest from them such ancestral farm lands.

His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck did not stop the kingly duty with social welfare. The King went on to provide political voice to the populace. The National Assembly was constituted and the people were given free rein to elect whoever they wanted to represent them. Next the Royal Advisory Council was constituted and majority of this high political body were elected by the people. This body not only advised the King but was entrusted to act as the highest Appeal Court of Law because the King abided by the advice submitted by it.  Through this Royal Advisory Council, the common people of Bhutan voiced their say in the judiciary conduct of the nation and even in the external affairs of the nation. It was the delegation led by the Royal Advisory Council that went to New Delhi to negotiate with the Government of India the UN membership of Bhutan. And law was legislated by the National Assembly dominated by people elected representatives. The King even granted to the National Assembly the power to remove a King from the Throne.

The third King had devoted whole of his reign to empower the common people. Therefore it was of no surprise when the fourth King proclaimed that Gross National Happiness was more important than Gross National Product. And by all account the King was not referring to an intangible utopian state called happiness. He was referring to the conditions that enabled the masses to enjoy respectable comfort and convenience. He was young to hold the sceptre but he was definitely old enough to understand why his father spent his 20 years reign in raising the living standard of the masses and why the masses were empowered to have say and stake in the health of the Kingdom.

I feel that it was unfortunate that Bhutan tried to quantify and define the King's  guiding goal of his reign ' Gross National Happiness ' in response to curious unimaginative alien minds. The developed world society though rich and powerful found that happiness was an elusive shadow. They had failed to discover paradise. So when an idea of happiness was floated as a kingly desire for his Kingdom, it aroused curiosity. If such a thinking had come from  any other Country but Bhutan which was already referred to as the, ' last Shangri La ' maybe the outside response would have been muted. But Shangri La and Happiness combination was irresistible to both the rich and powerful and the poor and underdeveloped societies. Many powerful world leaders and influential minds embraced this ' new thought '. It was catchy and it was tantalisingly engrossing. Politically it was found to be fashionable. After all happiness is deemed to be an  ageless pursuit of all colours.

Not withstanding what my true views are on Gross National Happiness, I am glad that Bhutan led a team of international thinkers to delve more into the enchanting theory of happiness. The four pillars and nine domains with so many seventy two indicators that conveniently identified GNH with GDP and GNP had motivated both philosophers and politicians buzzing with fresh socio- economic and political slogans.

A discussion on GNH cannot be closed to an end without paying a small tribute to the man who walked this philosophy of his King to the world at large. Towards the end of his Prime Ministership term, he was ointed as the Ambassador of Gross National Happiness by the Bhutanese Parliament. The shadow of Bhutan's first democratic Prime Minister Jigmi Yoeser Thinlay would loom large as a foremost disciple of GNH philosophy whenever and wherever a discussion on happiness takes place. The first democratic Government of Bhutan led by the Prime Minister Jigmi Yoeser Thinlay effectively used the GNH philosophy of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck to galvanise the whole world and succeeded in drawing the international attention to the Kingdom of Bhutan and created immense goodwill all over the world. The endeavour culminated with the United Nations Assembly adopting 20th March as ' Happiness Day '.

There is much to say but more important is to give space to other thoughts of other people. So let pundits of happiness expound whatever. I just hope some of them did experience a momentary happiness which actually is joy rather than long term happiness whilst exploring their decided path to world or self happiness. I have a small request and that is that in the Hall of Mirror of Happiness Philosophy, please give a momentary thought to the comfort and convenience of the poor masses.  For in the adequate comfort and convenience of the poor society, the true essence of Happiness value will be discovered as so desired by the visionary King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The true souls that will wholely and truly celebrate from the bottom of their hearts the 60th Birth Year of the fourth King would be those masses whose comfort and convenience the King had made his sole priority.

Gross National Happiness lies in the good health, good education and sustainable livelihood that the common people must be assisted to acquire. These three necessities if fulfilled within a democratic political environment, will bring about the enabling socio economic and political condition to saw and bring to fruitions the seeds of Gross National Happiness.

Now a little about me, the Free Will Writer.
My life has been an open book and my soul transparent to all. I take immense pride in my birth as a Bhutanese and throughout every year of my life I have kept my faith with the Nation, the Kings and the Masses. I feel blessed by the Deities, their Majesties the Kings and above all by this Country and my families.

I have been exceptionally fortunate to have my thoughts shaped by His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. And I became a more informed and broader conscious citizen thanks to my several years of being in close proximity with His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. I cannot claim to comprehend the Kings but I feel that their Majesties did and do understand my honesty, frankness and my deep faith in the goodness of the Dynasty and the greatness of the Kingdom. Their Majesties the Kings have always kept the royal communication line to the people open. They have openly expressed both pleasures and displeasures thus practising  true ways of guidance and honest relation with the people.

The greatness of the Great Kings lies in seeking out the truth and being so forgiving for lesser being's mistakes. Most humbly I take the opportunity to deeply thank His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck  for the gracious understandings and the words of wisdom and forgiveness in true spirit of democracy under constitutional Monarchy Reign. The admiration is for the exercise of qualities that a true People's King ultimately enshrines in everyday affairs.

I do write about the state of affairs of the Bhutan and that of the world as I honestly perceive. There is no malice and no prejudice and definitely no disrespect. Few tell me that I am fearless and few caution me to be careful and some anonymously have issued threats in social media.  I am not courageous and I am not a foolhardy.

I intend well with honest views.  Yes, it is possible that I could be misunderstood at times. That is because there are hardly anyone else who express honest thoughts in public especially about true state of affairs in my own Country. Actually if people speak out inner thoughts without prejudice or self benefitting angles, the national leaders will gain further insights in national affairs and in their extra wisdom the nation on the whole will benefit. It does not mean the national Leadership will applaud honest views but at least they get exposed to opinions other than that faithfully fed by close associates and self preserving yes men and women that surround them. There is inherent risk in being honest politically. Both one self and innocent family members can be made to suffer. I simply pray that the Triple Gem make the political leaders see value in honest statements. So far the prayers have been heard.

I tread my national path because I have immense faith in the insights and visions of the King on the Throne. The 5th King is in the ninth year of reign and I humbly wish to highlight one far reaching and nation stabilising act of service that has been a defining landmark of nation building. His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck has most graciously and wisely resolved the painful grievance against past cadastral survey of farm lands in rural Bhutan. The King understands and has graciously demonstrated that livelihood based on farm land holding is one root pillar of GNH. This ability to grasp and tackle the issue immediately upon ascending the Throne has strengthened the traditional bond between the people and King. People refer to the Kings as ' Gom Sonam Chenmos ' meaning Blessed Kings. From where do Kings get such ocean of goodness and blessings? The precious sources are the Blessings of Pelden Drukpai Chhoe Chongs and Goodwill and Reverence of the people.

I am not happy with the Constitution of Bhutan on two issues: One is that the Constitution does not enshrine Buddhism as the State Religion of a known Buddhist Kingdom and the other is the unnecessary and politically provocative clause requiring a King to abdicate at the age of 65 birth years. I had publicly made my stand before the Constitution was adopted. However, now I find it my sacred duty to defend the Constitution because the same had been signed into the Mother of all Laws by the Parliament after due consultation with all Bhutanese people. And I call upon all especially the Parliament Members of Bhutan to uphold intact the Constitution at least for the life long period of the Fourth King who instituted its founding and the Fifth King who signed and sealed it as the soul of Bhutanese Democracy. And in upholding it, respect the intent and the spirit of the nobleness of the Constitution. The spirit of Gross National Happiness is interwoven in the structures of the Constitution.

May Gross National Happiness Blossom !

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rigsar and Aums at Drinchen Amai Sounkay.

Love and melody has undergone generation changes. Maybe love at one time had more patience and it blossomed with the passing years. Now it is fast and comes with intensity and then fluctuates like winter electricity power supply.

Trendy song known as Rigsar seems to be a fallout of the present love emotion. It is not a song of just good or great voice. The person of the singer has to be agile and lush as such qualities complement and complete the rigsar songs. I think rigsar is a song of the willow not that of cedar tree. Therefore age and emotional stage puts the Drinchen Aums at a disadvantage when it comes to rigsar. But please Sing On !  For how else are we going to bridge the generation gap if young and old do not share song, melody, thought and love.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bhutanese and foreign journalism. America Bhutan China and India outlook.

Few Bhutanese are now sharing on FB with relish an old article on Bhutan America India relation written by Matthew F.Ferraro in December, 2014. Someone even captioned it , 'must read '. I like the fact that there are readers of lengthy articles but it will do well to think over, too.

Do not just read the article.  Comprehension is vital. The writer Matthew F. Ferraro endorses Indian Military presence in Bhutan and condemns ' supposed Chinese occasional encroachment '. Therefore is he advocating Indo- American interest or Bhutanese national interest ? What is it that impressed those Bhutanese who took a glance over the article ?

The writer says Chinese influence in Bhutan will not solve ethnic issue in Bhutan but American influence will be good for lhotsampas. That is a fact. America has provided home to majority of the refugees of Jaffa in Nepal. Most would rather go to America than China to make a living for the simple reason of the English language. But is Mathew Ferraro suggesting that America can offer Lhotsampas in Bhutan a choice to settle in America ? Many other Bhutanese are also desperately looking for a visa to America.

There is no doubt in my mind about accessibility to America for Bhutanese to study or work if closer ties comes about between Bhutan and America. I am quite sure Prime Minister of Bhutan His Excellency Tshering Tobgay and American Secretary of State His Excellency John Kerry covered such grounds in their Gujarat Meet in India. The carrot is there but is Bhutanese Leadership prepared to spear head an Indo- American proxy war against China in South Asia.  Will the Bhutanese people rally with the same spirit of nationalism as in 1962 in the absence of any real threat from China towards Bhutan ? How does Bhutan benefit from playing the India America containment game against China ?

Yes, Bhutan has ethnic issues but Bhutan should exercise a united national conscience policy to develop harmony in diversity. Does Bhutan still need a big brother push to positively act upon the smouldering ethnic issue ?

I feel Bhutan must remain a faithful non-aligned nation and not choose sides in aggressive manner and oppose China. It is not in the national interest of Bhutan to Play off India versus China or play off China versus America. If America and India are genuine friends of Bhutan and care for Bhutanese interests then they should not obstruct Sino Bhutan relationship. China has not told Bhutan to send Indian Military back. Nor did China object to Kerry and Tobgay Meeting.  When China respects Bhutanese sovereignty, why is it difficult for India and America to reciprocate in like manner?

Indo -Bhutan relationship will remain number one for a long time to come.  But let us be pragmatic not nationally blind. There is the need for Bhutan to have diplomatic relations with both America and China the two universal economic and military giants.

India uses Bhutan to irritate China and America along with India hopes to thwart any diplomatic relationship between Bhutan and China. In other South Asian Nations such Indo- American policy had failed. These powerful nations adopt such policies simply to spite China. It is too late for India and America to contain China in South Asia. What a deception joke for Bhutan. Only Bhutan in South Asia Region is completely under the shade of
Indian tri-colour umbrella which is propped up by the American Eagle.

Recall what happened during the April, 2015 Nepal Earthquake. Nepal had to ask all foreign Aid Agencies to leave Nepal after an Indian military helicopter flew too close to Chinese border and an American military helicopter crashed too near the Nepal China border. Nepal was in dire distress but Nepal did not want to be put in a position of inadvertantly  waging a Indo- American irritant war with China. Therefore , Nepal ordered all foreign forces out even though the nation did need assistance of every kind. But why risk sovereignty for foreign economic help.

What has Bhutan gained by ignoring China ? Why do all other SAARC nations have diplomatic  and booming trade relationships with China? Why does India have over 70 billion dollar annual trade with China? Why is America in Chinese debt to the tune of over several trillion dollars. The Bhutanese democratic leadership may have personal and political strategic reasons to play the pawn for the time being but Bhutanese in general must remove the shade that obscure their sight.