Friday, May 23, 2014

Narendra Modi the Hindustani with global vision

This seasoned politician has been overwhelming mandated by the people of the world‘s largest democracy to be the Leader of the 21st century India. And by the looks of the way he has decided to conduct both national and regional Affairs, Narendra Modi seems to be the man of progressive India and anchor of SAARC.

The RSS wants to outcast Pakistan for being a Muslim nation. In fact Shiv Sena leader even condemns proposed cricket games between India and Pakistan. The South India Political Parties want to outcast Sri Lanka for Tamil problems. And Congress under Gandhi family have bullied and trampled over sovereign rights and dignity of small and weak SAARC members especially Bhutan. The Gandhi duos sought to rule India and SAARC. Modi is there to serve India and promote peace and dignity among SAARC members.

Prime Minister Modi has shed away in one day the culture of Indian bigotry and political domination of its neighbours. He has invited all Heads of SAARC countries to attend his SWEARING IN as Prime Minister of India at 6pm on 26th May, 2014. The 26th of January is India’s Republic Day and maybe historians will mark 26th May as SAARC Day. It will take more for Modi to strengthen ties with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the level of proper trust and confidence. But with Bhutan it can be achieved at a wink of an eye. Just do away with Gandhian policy of bullying, bribing and strangulating Bhutan.

Bhutan can never do without India. But Bhutan can do a lot if not so subjugated by India. Unfortunately even within Bhutan’s very small society, there are elements that demonstrate euphoric ecstasy when India dictates the terms of Bhutanese sovereignty. However Bhutan was never meant to be under another Nation- not that of British India, not of Hindustani India and not of Mao-Tsedung China. But Bhutan must have proper sovereign relation with China even though India is and always will be Bhutan’s chief partner in development and in many regional and international forums.

India deserves a confident and decisive national leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Only then India will develop the pre-requisites for a well-regarded regional power by its immediate neighbours. No one doubts India’s potentiality to be an effective progressive nation and SAARC countries would not begrudge India’s lead. But Indian Government central thinking has to change. Due regard and respect must be demonstrated by India towards its immediate neighbours. It is hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP Party with NDA partners will fulfill the long awaited and much desired spirit of true friendship and trust and good will for its sovereign neighbours.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Haa – Dra-Gong the rocky Horse Head Hill

I have received the following note from a Vice Principal Mr. Nima Singye inquiring about the Horse Head Hill. It’s not possible for me to expand on his findings but never the less I share what I know of the heritage environment of which Dra-Gong is a very vital pillar. As this is something about Haa I am sharing in the Blog with fellow Haaps and others who may be interested.

Nima Singye:    Kuzuzangpola Dasho, I am working as Vice principal working at GUDHSS, Haa... I am from Jyenkhana Haa... I have taken a picture of the hill near wangcha, and edited as posted in my page... I would like to request your honourable Dasho to highlight on the story of the hill having the Horse head, so that i can further convey the message to the studets and public as well...

I got second hand information that your honourable dasho has the knowledge of this place and also most of my ffriends suggested me to contact dasho for any historical information of Haa. Thank You la
 (Photo courtesy: Nima Singye, facebook page)

Dear Vice Principal Nima Singye,

First I am happy that you are from Haa Jyenkhana and holding the post of Vice Principal at GUDHSS. It is a very important post for a person from Haa because education is the foundation of participation of Haa people in the national affairs of Bhutan. I hope you have been selflessly devoting to educating the Bhutanese youth. Please accept my reverence for a teacher. I myself benefited greatly from the selfless efforts of many Guru like teachers.

I think it will be a surprise to you but thank you for the Horse Head information. I was not aware of it. You seem to have hit the nail on the head but how did you come across this historic belief? By the way your email to me was dated 23rd April, 2014 but it appeared on my screen only on 4th May, 2014, thus the delay in response. Sometimes there does occur strange electronic hiccups.

You know we have the Miri Phuensum 3 hills on one side of Haa River and on the other side we have the alternate distinctive 3 lesser hills with Dra-Gong your Horse Head rocky Hill in the centre, Phrey-Dra in the north and Tho-Khap in the south. Wangtsa village is between Dra-Gong and Tho-Khap and Kar-tsho (Katsho) Village is in between Dra-Gong and Phrey-Dra. For anything to exist in wholesome manner, it is said that both yang and ying must be present. Yang and Ying means male and female element. These two opposite elements when in union form a complimentary wholesome existence which is said to be the source of all beings and substance. That may be the relation between the 2 sets of 3 hills on the opposite side of Haa River. My humble belief is that the wellbeing of Haa people is determined by the state of these hills and so we need to protect these in their original form.

Dra-Gong the Horse Head rocky Hill is in the fore front of Haa prosperity. This hill originate from the main Chilai Gung Karpo Range that divides the valleys of Paro and Haa. The Gung Karpo Range is blessed by Dupthob Pao Dorji. At the bosoms of this Range there is the Chilai Gompa Monastry in the south and in the north the Kar-tsho Gompa Monastry and Juneylo Guru Temple. From this Range flows 3 streams – the Kar-tsho Chu, Wangtsa Chu and Changnana Chu. Then again 3 underground springs flow – the perennial springs at Simkha in Kartsho at the foot of Kartsho Gompa Hill and Simgongma spring at Wangtsa Village at the foot of Khendum Dratsa.  The other seasonal stream but not dependent on monsoon is the Simchu Pang Spring stream that flows from the foothill of Dra-Gong. In order to appreciate what Dra-Gong really is, you have to know Wangtsa Village. At the head of Wangtsa village is the Wangtsa Temple. This temple was damaged during the last earthquake so it was brought down and a totally new one was built on the same spot. However, on the new wall of the temple a mural painting of His Holiness Je Sherab Gyeltshen appeared miraculously. The miracle happened over a period of several days last year 2013. The legendary Dupthob Pao Dorji and later their Holinesses Je Shakya Rinchen, Je Sherab Gyeltshen and Je Younten Pelzang are part of the history of Wangtsa Temple.  After them other lesser known but very learned Lams Yeshey and his descendent Lam Rinchen, grandfather of my father followed. Lam Rinchen passed away when my father was 9 years old. He remembered the funeral in-front of the temple. May be losing his adorable father like figure grandpa Lam at such an early age exhausted his own young mind thus turning him away from further pursuit of Dharma. Never the less I glimpsed that Dharma trait of his family on the night of Tuesday 10th January, 2012 when he left for the next world at the age of 96 years. Lam Rinchen along with another Lam from Wang (Thimphu) were chief disciples of His Holiness Je Sungchokhor.  The 2 disciples went their separate ways only after the Je died and rites completed. Next temple Lam was Gelong Tashi Pema a monk who was not so learned like Lam Rinchen but still a very pious person. Gelong Tashi Pema was from my mother’s family side. His father was from Talo Nobgang. My father who stayed on in the temple as a young attendant recalled annual trips with the elderly lanky Gelong Tashi Pema who visited his relatives at Talo Nobgang and Rimchu. Decades later, my parents got married and after I was born, the astrologer advised that for my wellbeing, I had to be kept for at least 3 weeks in the temple. So for 3 weeks my mother moved with me from our home to the temple.

I write this background to explain my sentiment for Wangtsa Village and the Temple and my opposition (last year) to the proposed mining industry at Dra-Gong the backbone of Wangtsa Village and fore front of 54 years of Haa development. I suspect you also wrote to me about this Hill because of my stand last year. If only one cared to pause for a second and view Haa Valley, one cannot fail to realize that the thrust of 54 years of Haa development since 1960 is centered on and around the lap of Dra-Gong. It is the Shho-Drel the main lead horse of the caravan of Haa development. It is the central prosperity pillar of Haa Dzongkhag. Take time out to climb to the peak of Dra-Gong and view the whole of Haa valley. What I have written, you will discover printed in your heart. More than ¾ of the population of Haa whether Haaps or otherwise have their livelihood centered in and around Dra-Gong from whose foothill flows what a Kuensel reporter called the psycho stream. And from which legend has it that a pair of birds gold and silver flew. The golden bird to form the Kar-tsho and the silver bird to form the Nak-tsho. The lakes are not visible to human mind/eyes but one can visit the villages of Kar-tsho below Kar-tsho Gompa and Nak-tsho below Drana-Gompa. The abundance of water at these 2 villages would definitely make one to presume the existences of the white and black lake. Legend has it that from Nak-tsho village a Phajo of Haa demarcated the northern boundary of Haa at Pangkar Chorten in China Tibet and southern boundary at a point in Samtse. Whilst from the village of Kar-tsho, dominating religious figures came about. Together they represent the 2 Thrao and Shio features of life. Haa is a legend of gold, silver and platinum ( white ) birds. The Lhakhang Karpo site was decided upon appearance of a platinum coloured bird.

There is a spring well below the Wangtsa Temple. It was, until pipe water was introduced, the drinking water for the temple lam and source for water offering. This spring-well dries up during Paro Tsechu time. Legend has it that the Tsomin goes for Paro Guru Thongdrel. In fact both the perennial springs at Kartsho Simkha and Wangtsa Simgongma’s volume reduces during Paro Tsechu for several days. In the early morning hours of the 15th Day of the 2nd Bhutanese month, puffs of holy smoke arise from the 2 tall and ancient cypress trees behind the temple. The 2 cypress trees are attributed to His Holiness Je Shakya Rinchen.

The so called psycho stream at Simchu Pang takes a hiatus in Spring season and returns to Haa between day 4 to 10th of the 6th Bhutanese month. Legend has it going to Paro to attend Paro Tsechu and Changla (Rice plantation). But in winter, it is very much in Haa and those days students of now GUDHSS found the warm water of the psycho stream a great blessing in the freezing winter. The hiatus duration seems to be varying now. The hiatus of Simchu Pang Spring stream is getting longer whilst hiatus of the spring-well below the Wangtsa Temple has shortened. During those early years of my life, the spring-well remained dry for whole of Spring season. But now except for few weeks during the Bhutanese 2nd month, the well remains brimming with clear spring water. It may have more to do with the purity of environment in religious sense rather than that of physical change. Where Tsomins find residence of comfort, there will be spring water or pools. 

I am no authority on the history of Haa. We all can do with contributions from knowledgeable people from Haa and elsewhere in Bhutan. This is the other reason why I am posting this reply to you in my blog to attract comments and information from knowledgeable Lams from Haa and Central Dratsang. Haa and Bhutan however governs my central being. With Haa and Bhutan I am someone, something. Without the two, I cannot claim self being. There is no identity without place of birth and country. As a fellow of Haa, I ask you to love Haa and love Bhutan even more. And I humbly take this opportunity to call upon the people of Haa to endeavor to conserve the 2 sets of 3 Hills of Haa. In their preservation and healthy conservation, Haa will continue to partake in its historic role in the protection and enhancement of sovereign Bhutan.

With warm regards and deep respects for your profession and thanks for your warm affection. Many seem to refer to me as Haap Sangey. It is incorrect and audacious because there are many Sangey in Haa. However, I do have a rightful claim to be Sangey of Haa Wangcha and therefore the introductory name Wangcha Sangey. I am not a Dasho in the sense of a wearer of a Kabney and Patang but I strive to be a ‘Draksho’ meaning above average good human being from which the title ‘Dasho’ may have been derived.
May Miri Phuensum grant my wish to have the Horse Head Rocky Hill called Dra-Gong forever grace my birth village and central Haa. Dra-Gong the natural Chorten stands out as a monumental tribute to the goodness of all that is Haa and the blessings of the Dharma. Thank you. Yours an elder Haap Wangcha Sangey.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bhutan at cross-roads? The 8th personal perspectives

This Kingdom has leaped into the 21st century at a galloping speed. It really began with His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ascending the Dragon Throne as the 3rd hereditary king of Bhutan. From 1952 to 1972 in a period of 20 years, His Majesty transformed cow-herders to national administrators, pony trails to national motor highways, serfs to responsible equal citizens, trail blazed national health services, education and agro developments. The King instituted people governance through establishment of National Assembly, Royal Advisory Council and enabled orderly social and political functioning through framing the 1st national foundation of Law ‘Thrimshhung Chhenpo’ and laid down the Judiciary system. Under his kingship, Bhutan entered the world stage. Bhutan was the 1st nation to recognize Bangladesh as an independent nation and this independent sovereignty exercise was topped with Bhutan becoming a member of United Nations.

It’s now 52 years since the untimely end of the 3rd reign and Bhutan has moved to another era. 2014 is the 7th year of what is called constitutional Democracy under constitutional Monarch. And Bhutan has its 2nd elected government nearing its 1st infancy year. The 34 years of Happiness Reign of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuk has gone by and this is the 8th year of the reign of the 5th King His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. This is supposed to be the promising era of the Bhutanese people with their people king.

However under democracy, events have moved to a speed that may finally have the nation gallop away from the historic dream of the past. Where we are and what plan are we following? Let us look at 2 main features of national policies under democracy: (1) The development of hydro-resources and (2) management of external affairs.

1.       Hydro projects

Chukha was long ago but Kurichu and Tala should still be fresh in mind of projects executed before 2008. The project funding was 60% grant and 40% loan.

Since 2008, all projects are 30% grant and 70% loan. That’s what Democracy brought us: More loans and less negotiation pride. Still it was not a total give away of national interest. Bhutan had some say in the matter of identifying hydro projects. Now we have had to surrender this. The Amochu hydro project is scrapped. Apparently India thinks Amochu hydro project is a security risk. Is it possible for China to use the Amochu water reservoir lake as an amphibious landing air field?  Or do we fear that the Amochu River that flows down from China Tibet to Bhutan will carry Chinese influence to Southern Bhutan.

2.       External Relationship

The most controversial issue was former Prime Minister of democratic Bhutan meeting Chinese Premier in a faraway place in South America in an international setting. A year later it became a huge election campaign issue. In an election many issues are raised and even more promises are made. That is the name of the democratic process. Any dismay if felt is erased away or simmers down once the election fever or furor ends.

However the China domino is now strangling Bhutan. It has resulted in the new Bhutanese Government having to declare a freeze in foreign relation development. Imagine a member of UN freezing itself to isolation in this modern era! The present outgoing Indian Government is against Bhutan having friendlier relation with China. And now Bhutan cannot go through its own officially declared intention to have Japan establish her embassy in Thimphu. It is also not possible to have EU open its office in Thimphu. This diplomacy freeze is the only way to explain to China the Bhutanese inability to further progressive talks in Sino- Bhutan affairs.

Bhutan’s so called corner-stone foreign policy is to maintain and protect closer ties with India. The Kingdom has been provided with comprehensive assistance from India during all its 5 year Plans including the ongoing 11th 5 year Plan. Indian Military and Para-military forces have their bases in Bhutan since 1960 and in some ways both internal and external doings of Bhutan have been directly or indirectly influenced or affected by India.

Now this helicopter promise of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the Election Campaign might provide a dangerous avenue for Indian Air Force to have its bases in Bhutan. If this happens then it is goodbye to Bhutanese Bhutan.

I think PDP meant well when it promised 2 helicopters and 205 Boleros for 205 geogs and power tillers for some 1500 Chiwogs of Bhutan. But economic situation of the nation is such that good intentions may need to be put on hold for the foreseeable future. The people must be more patient and understanding. The nation may not be able to afford the consequences of some election promises of any political party whether PDP, DPT or others that may follow them to power.

During the constitution draft consultation, I recall HRH Trongsa Penlop reminding the nation of those days during 1970s when Bhutan’s position was like a leaf tossing on a swollen monsoon river. Today under democracy, the kingdom has been placed at a pivotal cross road. Bhutan needs courageous visionary leadership. Should Bhutan plunge into a path of safe and secure status quo in the womb of India or steer gradually to a more risky but a dignified sovereign friendly relationship with India and also other international communities including the northern giant neighbor China? The call cannot lie with two hopelessly feuding political parties or the uninformed Bhutanese at large. With deep prayers and folded hands I submit that it has to be the call of the King of Bhutan His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk.

The institution of Bhutanese Monarchy is indispensable and irreplaceable for the foreseeable future of Bhutan. Without the unifying force and guiding light of the monarch, the nation will not find peace and hope. The constitution maybe the butter lamp but its flame is still very much the royal institution. The general populace are not in position to comprehend international and regional political implications and the new political upstart leaders are more into party or personal ego conflicts than that of national wellbeing. So as undemocratic as it may seem yet for the sake of a sovereign national present and future status, it is only the king who can meet the challenges of whether only India and China interest or disinterest should govern Bhutan; whether Amochu hydro project is a national security threat, whether the PDP Government provides bases to Indian Air Force so that PDP can fulfill its campaign promise of helicopter service.

Who can really say for sure what kind of leadership Bhutan has in His Majesty the 5th King. For some, he may seem young, for some he may seem gregarious, for some he is physically attractive and eloquently captivating etc. The fact is his royal father had determined 8 years ago that he was ready to lead the Kingdom. If genes determine leadership qualities then His Majesty has in his royal veins the blood of both Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal the unifier of Bhutan and the blood of the Wangchuck dynasty that has been at the helm of national journey for over 100 years. It is not easy for a tiny nation with very limited both material and human resources to exert its stand and even the best of leaders would need time and caution to pave a safe path. What is relevant is that the King is the most informed Bhutanese in terms of historical facts of the past, the bilateral, regional and international forces and equations and most importantly the aspiration of the diverse Bhutanese populace.

I may be the only Bhutanese penning direct thoughts publicly but there would be many who would be having varying degrees of anxieties or applause for the direction we are travelling and yet refrain from sharing out their thoughts. I write because I have deep faith in the goodness of the nation and the depth and quality of its ultimate leadership. Also at times it is necessary to let outsiders understand that a common Bhutanese maybe helpless but it does not mean a common Bhutanese has stopped caring.

Pelden Drukpa Lhagyel lo!