Monday, September 14, 2015

Nurturing Politicians for a brief Summer Blossom in Bhutan.

Format schools through colleges those that have inclination for politics, the grooming starts early in many Countries.

In India the incredible ocean of religions, creeds and castes of  multifarious communities, the schools and colleges  churn out great many materials of future politicians. By college stage of life, groups like youth wing of Congress Party and youth wing of Bharat Janata Party are already influential political organisations. In fact the youth seem to form the core foundation of Political Party pyramids. Youth groups are pampered and courted by Political Parties and Politicians. They have the stamina and enthusiasm to communicate effectively with the base of democracy, the people. 

In United States and other Western Countries, one sure path to political future is getting involved early on as volunteers in political campaigns.  As one gains experience so does one's role grows in political campaigns. That's how a future leader gains the grass root knowledge, masters strategic know how, win friends and establishes contacts. Its a must have political infrastructure for a great many would be political leaders though there are exceptions.

So if youngsters in Bhutan feel that they have political bugs in them, they could I assume, can go ahead in helping in election  campaigns as volunteers but not as party members. Is there a law against being volunteer workers during Elections in Bhutan ? Could any Bhutanese provide a definite answer? I have my doubts.

I am not aware of any legislated law but election rules are altogether a different political scenario.  Past experiences sometimes comprised of fresh election rules  appearing during the process of an election as ad hoc measures proclaimed as inviolable by the Election Commission depending on the deemed need of a particular situation/ particular demand/ particular objective but not necessarily in keeping with the principle or the spirit of genuine and free democracy.

If volunteer service is not permitted then many Bhutanese youths cannot gain necessary experiences to swim in waters of democracy. It is not advisable for Bhutanese youths to register as actual  members of a Political Party. Registering as Party member attracts so much repercussions at a later stage under the narrowly designed, stringent election rules in Bhutan. Its like a curse on youth when seeking Government and Corporative jobs. Tempting youths with the light of democracy and penalising them for literally  appearing in the light. That's the kind of paradox that Election Commission of Bhutan represents to me.

Before blooming into a politician, you need to bud a lot for learning the ropes of elections and campaigns. If volunteer service is not outlawed by Election Commission, get early into the spirit of election process.  Start with Geog  and Thromdey Tshopka elections and graduate to Primary and General Elections. The experiences are worth a Masters Degree in Political Science and practically more applicable. In the election fields, you will come across many political pitfalls and boons.  Politicians come to realise that nothing is assured including the votes of even relatives and otherwise deemed great friends. However, the enemy of your opponent is really your true captive vote. So one must know more of who hates whom in a community or in a constituency rather than who loves who.

And its alright to promise the moon because voters simply want a nod for a possible shot at Paradise.  Delivery or non delivery of campaign promises  do not matter so much.  After 5 years, old voters are either dead, dying or priorities have changed and fresh eligible voters simply want to hear a confirmation to a shot at their dream Paradise. Not many care of the past history as long as the present is attractive and seductively presented. Mass seduction or manipulation is the core force of political campaigns. Promise what voters desire and say aloud what they just want to hear. Truth is respected but votes go to the agreeable candidates. So agree with voters by all means and do what you want once the votes are in. And if you are a good leader at heart then do what you feel is the best for the society and the nation without fear or favour. You will be rewarded somehow in some ways and your deeds will bear fruits for years on.

Beware that under prevailing Bhutanese political system and the trend of voter psychology, budding Bhutanese politicians cannot really bank on a lifetime tenure in politics.  Many voters have the perception that political seats are national prize that should be shared on rotational basis and  not monopolised by any individual. I feel it is an innocent wishful thinking that will fade with time and trouble. Thus in the present social scene, quality of candidate can be secondary in the choice of the voters.  But the main stumbling block for a life long engagement in politics is the upper age limit of 65 years after which the door shuts. This too will change as years go by and democratic philosophy matures with experiences.

After the age of 65, citizens of Bhutan are constitutionally barred from contesting elections. Bhutanese constitution framers seemed to have been of the view that politicians needs physical stamina not necessarily experience in administering the nation. Also they may have been fearful of dictatorship rule by long serving seasoned politicians as if Hitler was a product of seasoned political process. So in Bhutan, political profession is a kind of sojourn to a brief summer dream world. Nevertheless, if you have the inclination plunge on early. It is said early bird catches the worm. And as for short tenure, life itself can be shorter.

If Bhutanese Constitution is adopted by United States, Donald Trump aged 69 and Hillary Clinton aged 67, would be barred from contesting in the  Presidential Election that is presently going on in America at Party level nomination.  So Jeb Bush would have a high chance of being  elected the 3rd Bush American President in 2016, And Jeb Bush like his predecessors father and elder brother Presidents will lead America to another " glorious war " in the Middle East against Muslim Nations.

There will be more Muslim refugees entering America and Western Countries thus ultimately fulfilling the prophecy in Buddhist scriptures that Muslims will take over the world and only then the next Buddha shall appear. Buddhist belief in the dawn of new world of Buddhism. The Christians await the Resurrection whilst the Muslim will have their Warrior Hero to subdue the rest. 

Now getting back to present reality, if Clinton or Trump  does make to the White House in spite of their elderly age, the wisdom of Bhutanese Constitution that old cannot perform or experience is dangerous, falters in reality check. And if 62 aged Jeb Bush becomes the President of America, then the prediction of all 1000 Buddhas comes true and Bhutanese political philosophy triumphs, too.  God may need to save the world but Bhutan should then be able to survive the Muslim roost even as all other Countries pay homage to great Allah.

The political lesson that politicians need to master is that they too are agents not the master of change. If China did not takeover Tibet, Buddhism would not have taken hold of the West. And if America had left Middle East alone, Muslims would not be have been dispersed all over the wold. The truth and fact of life is that we are all pawns especially the political leaders in a greater game. They introduce or induce policies to take effect  but have no control of the larger implications and fallouts from their actions. And anyone that participates but does not control the end destiny are pawns by nature though few like political leaders are more importantly active pawns. And that most important and valuable principle of democracy is ensuring the same rights to the other fellow citizens that we wish to exercise for ourselves. For this reason I take the opportunity to share following thoughts.

For record, from the time of constitution framing stage, I myself never favoured the abdication of the King at the age of 65, the prerequisites of a college graduate degree for political candidates and the exclusion of religious practitioners like monks from voting rights. I appreciate the very substantive reasons put forth but feel conditional democracy is not really in keeping with the spirit of democracy. The true and unhindered choice of the voters is of paramount importance in any election process.  And equal rights of citizens of same nation and subject of the same King must be the very soul of vibrant Bhutanese constitutional monarchy system.

I am for monks and alike in exercising voting right but support the sentiment that religious personalities should not be members of Political Parties or participate as candidates.

I feel that the  prerequisite of a college degree is against the democratic choice of the voters in a democracy. Likewise it makes a lot of sense to incorporate certain number of years of experience also as a prerequisite for a would be political post holder but again it is against the spirit of democracy where the choice must be left to the voters.

The benefit of the wisdom of choice must be made freely available to the voters if democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people.

Likewise regarding compulsory retirement from active politics at 65 years of age,  I felt it was just not simply a waste of good talent and experience but also against the spirit of democracy to deny active participation to senior citizens in the process of democracy. Equal rights in democracy outweighs any other valid and valuable views.

And as for Kings abdicating at the age of 65, I felt and still feel  it could unnecessarily create national disharmony and even crisis in the future.  Not all Kings may share the kind of love and respect for each other as the present two Kings. Even so there is no guarantee that other forces would not attempt to play kingly politics if they see an opportunity to enhance their stakes.  Power and wealth have tremendous change of heart and character impact on individuals. And very few individuals, families or leaders can put common happiness and national cohesion above personal thirst for power and wealth.

Thus the safest bet in a democracy is in respectfully leaving the decision to the voters themselves to choose who they want and for how long. The legislations required are that which prevent curtailment of people choice through bribery or threats. The core requirement of true democracy is the environment of free and fair election so that the voters can make free choice uninfluenced by greed for financial gain or fear of insecurity.

I understand and also accept that process of democracy needs time to evolve. Therefore, it is my hope and prayer that national confidence matures with age and experience. And that  Bhutan and Bhutanese  gradually evolve to a higher level of principle of democracy wherein all Bhutanese above the age of 18 can exercise equal participation in democratic process regardless of age, health or profession.

May Tsawa Sum prevail under the watching guidance of the Deities of Pelden Drukpa in Bhutan and may equal rights be the pillar of democracy all over the world.

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