I read the The Bhutanese article about clarifications from Chairman of Privy Council on Patang and colour Kamni. I think we are still.studying for appropriate approach and acceptance of new arrangements.
Encouraging people to discard " colour Kamni " like blue and orange scarfs is rather like telling former officials to forget their role and contribution in the service of the Tsawa Sum through those respective positions. I hope they do not feel as if ousted from heaven.
There is one complete change in the traditional culture conveyed in the clarifications provided. Traditionally red scarf Officers did not wear patang after leaving their official posts. Same went for Royal Advisory Councillors. But they wore the red and blue Kamni even in retirement. Even Ministers once in retirement did not wear Patang but wore the orange Kamni.
Now it seems some can wear both and others none after retirement from active service. It all depends on which King granted the honour and on whom and under what circumstances. Confusion is quite agalore. And confusion in culture and practices brings about obscurity which in turn cause dilution to the essence and cultural impact of tradition that is no more traditional.
To my knowledge, there are recipients of red scarf honour by civilians unconnected with official positions. They have no retirement age and wore both red Kamni and patang unto death. All others who received red scarf during their official service be they in Royal Secretariat or Government Service, upon retirement wore the same colour Kamni but not the patang. This system was quite clearly established as the nation headed into democracy era.
We are now discarding the much touted tradition. And making up rules as per mood swings or time demands. This trend does not give dignity nor preserve our culture which supposedly were recorded in writing since Zhabdrung time and established widely especially the colour Kamni and Patang practices by successive Wangchuck Kings till now.
I have no historical reference but it looks like the Dratsang had the Kamni culture including the kamni colours and entitled folds. And patang was a weapon that lay officials already wore. So probably when Zhabdrung conferred ranks to lay officials after introducing the dual system, the lay officials continued wearing their patang also as long as he was in active service.
Prior to 2008 election, there was no indication that MPs would be given any colour kamni or patang. This was a afterthought royal decision. At first blue Kamnis were handed out to NA MPs and then later Patang was handed out or permission given to wear it ( I am not clear on this). But definitely the blue scarf and patang were not handed out at the same time to the members of the first National Assembly of democratic governance. .
During absolute Monarchy reigns, the Royal Advisory Councillors elected by the people were granted Dhar with blue scarf and permission to wear patang from the Throne just like the present National Council MPs though for them patang was also provided.
The pre- democracy National Assembly members elected by the people had a white kamni with blue stripe in the middle but no patang. They were not given Dhars from the Throne. Today's National Assembly Members are also not given Dhars from the Throne. But handed out blue scarf and patang by the Secretary of National Assembly Secretariat during 2013. In 2008, blue scarf was simply left hung on the chairs. And patang distributed much later.
However, the National Council Members led by the Chairperson and the Political Party selected Cabinet Ministers led by the Prime Minister were granted Dhar in the traditional manner from the Throne on both occassions in 2008 and 2013.
Now is there a difference in the honour granted with Dhar ceremony and blue Kamni left hung on the chair for the individual NA MPs to adorn. Many may feel that there must be a difference. However, traditionally there is no difference. Many years back, I read the book " Hero of thousand eyes " related by Dasho Shinkar Lam and written by Dasho Karma Ura. In there Dasho Shinkhar Lam relates that His Majesty the Third King simply commanded that an official can wear the colour scarf ( red/ orange ) and from the next day it was so worn with a patang.
So full colour scarfs: blue, green, red or orange till 2008 are associated with the Royal Court whether granted with Dhar ceremony or by way of command to wear. Both ways are of same value as honour is bestowed upon the recipient from the Throne in both cases.
Henceforth, what we need to be sure about is under democracy system, do we adopt one more culture that is a patang and colour kamni ( blue for ordinary MPs and orange for MP Ministers ) as adornment for the position received from the people through the ballot box or an honour bestowed upon those MPs and Ministers from the Throne in keeping with the constitutional position of the King as the Head of the nation and guardian of national security and peace.
If Bhutan goes for adopting a new culture then an Act from.the aparliament would be required. But if we consider it as part of royalty associated traditional culture, then a Kasho would suffice for the new system of patang and Kamni.
Personally, I would prefer the age old traditional system because we still are a Kingdom under the same Wangchuck dynasty though the King is different. But I know that this is taboo to national thinking. So a new system is being unofficially enforced to quote the Privy Council Chairman , " encouraging them to voluntarily give up Kamnis". A royal edit would take care of whatever the Royal wishes.
The former MPs and Ministers under democracy system should sufficiently feel comfortably dignified that they once received the confidence of the people to lead the nation. Maybe, few may feel initially naked without the colour kamni. But given time, the sentimental attachment to such adornments would wear off. Afterall, even the white kamni at one time was a useful cloth wrapper for light loads slung over the shoulders. Not really a traditional decorum uniform wear. Culture evolves with time and with democracy kind of changes cannot be predicted.