Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Blessed years of my life and that of Families.

A great year is setting into history. So much happened and much reasons to be happily thankful.
The most gracious Triple Gem has been abundant in Blessings and Love. Of all the Prayers and Wishes in my life, the health of the family members has always been the most precious desire.

The year 2015 has been a year of good family health. I hope and pray that the coming New Year 2016 be Blessed and protected by the Triple Gem.

In gratefully bowing to the Passing Year and welcoming the New Year, I fondly and reverently thank the Family Deities and Ancestors for always guiding the Families and looking after all the members. It is with their Blessings and Guidance that our Families have been able to find Happiness and Comfort and preserve respect and self dignity.

Life is living and as such it cannot be totally free of trials and errors and even loss of life itself. What is important and what must be sought from Triple Gem, the Family Deities and Ancestors is the moral and spiritual strength to overcome difficulties if possible and otherwise to understand why some things happen and then be able to move forward with dignity, hope and love. This has been the secret of my way of living the life.

My love, blessings and good wishes to all younger members. I offer my respects and affection to all Elders of the Families. May the Year 2016 further strengthen the unity of the Families and Bless us with more members and self confidence.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What kind of a Tendrel Initiatives ? Reference BBS News.

To quote, "The first Tendrel Initiatives will be to make the Bhutanese aware of the symbolism and significance of Birth of the Royal Heir". Unquote

That the organisers feel that the People of Bhutan need to be taught to quote "the symbolism and significance of the Birth of Royal Heir" unquote,  is not just stupid arrogance but an insult to the Tsawa Sum. The insinuation that after 108 years of the Reigns of the great Wangchuck Kings, the Bhutanese people would not know what it means to welcome the Birth of Sixth King is unacceptable and unpalatable.

If People of the Kingdom of Bhutan still do not know the " symbolism and significance" of the Birth of the Crown Prince, then no commercial and self glorifying venture by any Agency is going to indoctrinate them hereafter. Please go about making your money or name but do not accuse the People of Bhutan of being ignorant of the , " symbolism and significance " of the Birth of the Crown Prince. On the other hand the tree planting initiative though not a new idea is nevertheless an appropriate deed to celebrate the occasion. A still better deed would be to give the money to a Hospital  for improving prenatal care.

So many Bhutanese have already poured their hearts out to welcome the gracious royal announcement. Bhutanese feel proud and honoured to be taken into such confidence by His Majesty the King. It is a true gesture of love that our King so willingly shared such a joyful historic news of the imminent arrival of the Birth of the Crown Prince. If the People of Bhutan needed to be taught the "symbolism and significance " then such precious loving news would not have been shared on the very auspicious day of the celebration of 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Foreign Currencies and Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan.

Recently it was confirmed that dollar inflow into the Country from Bhutanese working  outside Bhutan has remained at the same level in the last 2 years.

If you look at the statistic of increasing number of Bhutanese going outside in search of work, the dollar inflow should have increased year by year. The stagnancy in the amount of inflow could be related to the disparity in the exchange rate. For example if a person deposits dollar into the Bhutanese Banks the counter value is Nu: 65 per dollar. But on the same day if a person has to buy dollars from the Banks , the Banks demand Nu: 67.15 for every dollar. Therefore the exchange regulation in Bhutan discourages dollar inflow/ transactions through official channel. Such disparity promotes black market.

In case RMA provides same exchange rate for selling or buying foreign currencies like dollars, I feel that there will be a steady increase in the inflow of dollar through the official channel. Why is it necessary to make the currency exchange service so expensively favouring the Banks?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

To Tell or not to Tell article by Kuensel Sonam Pelden evokes a critical social dilemma.

HIV/ AID affected patients should not be Victimised or Glorified. And public safety should come first.

Victimisation leads to social outcast. And Glorification create acceptability to the extent that the general people especially the vulnerable youth adopt more liberal sexual behaviours.

However, when such  patients voluntarily or involuntarily under influence of drugs or alcohol are engaging in public sexual conduct, the concerned authorities who conceal the identities of HIV/AID patients have to bear moral responsibility to protect public victims.

Why did such Agencies demonstrate irresponsibility until Chithuen Phendey made a public appeal? Such social irresponsibility is nothing short of criminal deed.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

International Politics: NATO versus Russia.

Turkey shot down a Russian bomber which was an easy and unsuspecting target for US supplied Fighter planes. Turkey said it gave warnings 10 times in a time span of 5 minutes and also admitted that the Russian plane transgressed Turkey air space just for 17 seconds. It had to be considered a miraculous feat  to be able to give 10 warnings over 5 minutes time span during a 17 second air space intrusion.

The warnings must have been pre- recorded with the 2 airborne Turkish F16s waiting for the Russian bomber plane to approach Turkish border.  The Bomber crashed. The 2 crew of pilot and navigator managed to bail out. However, they were shot at whilst parachuting down by Turkey sponsored Extremist group. The pilot was killed and his body yet to be recovered. The navigator survived and he denied encroaching into Turkey air space or getting any warnings. So it turns out that the Turkey Extremist group was under orders to eliminate the 2 Russian air borne crews for good to prevent facts from surfacing. That's why they were shooting at the two parachuting crews. Normally the crews would be more valuable alive as bargaining chips but here the stake was higher.

Turkey now says that had they known it was a Russian plane the , " warning would have been different ". It looks like a planned attack probably with American knowledge as it had the flight plans of the Russian bomber. Turkey had to have the advance knowledge of the flight plans of the Russian bombers to have instantly fired when the planes were closest to their border. Otherwise the Russian ground monitoring team would have noticed the threat and responded.

Since Russian entry in the Syrian conflict, two major incidents have occurred. A bomb was placed in a Russian Passenger plane from an airport of Egypt which is militarily funded by America and Saudi Arabia. Egypt a Muslim Country would have ISIS sympathisers aplenty who would act once allowed to be out of security radar by Egyptian Authorities.  And then Turkey a NATO member executed a surprise attack to down the Russian plane.

President Erdogan of Turkey defiantly calls on Russia ," Not to play with fire ". Many, however, think that Erdogan has ignited a  flame too large for Turkey to control. Russia was never a threat to Turkey. She has been a very close and vital economic friend of Turkey. And Russia does not betray friends as proved in her solid backing of Syrian Government in the face of over whelming odds. Russian lives are being sacrificed for Syrian friendship. And Russia certainly will not lie " calm " against " back stabbers "

Now what is to happen? Russian vulnerability has been demonstrated possibly to make Russia wary of venturing beyond Ukraine. But most nations including America is exposed to such flank attacks. So such subversive attacks can very well be played by both sides to disastrous effects.

NATO has hastily called for " calm ". But can the victim remain calm? That's too much to ask Russia to calm down in the aftermath of her passenger plane with all Russian passengers blown to pieces and now her bomber shot down by an undeclared enemy from amongst neutral group,  on an questionable pretext of supposed 17 seconds air space violation. Provocation is writ large. The consequence yet to fathom for all the participants and world politics in general.

America was quick to declare that she had nothing to do with Turkish attack on the Russian plane. NATO seems internally divided. France may view Turkey action a sabotage to her effort to build a united front including Russia against ISIS after the Paris massacres. Britain is not even involved in the Syrian conflict. So why did Turkey shoot down the Russian plane? Is it a sign of over confidence of the Turkish President who won a thumping reelection very recently? Is it Turkey armed forces signalling divisive factors with civilian authority ?

The President of Turkey is a seasoned Leader who did not need any such ego boosting drama like shooting down a non threatening plane in a conflict zone for a supposed mere overflight of 17 seconds duration. He had to know the hostile consequences as well as the economic mathematics of friendly ties with Russia. And now why is he trying so hard to get a one to one meeting with Putin ?

The real story may not be shared in public  for quite sometime to come. However, in private, maybe, some honest explanations would be forthcoming during the proposed meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Turkey. One agenda of the Meeting would be of course the recovery of the body of the Russian pilot from the Turkey funded Extremist group in Syria. And next would be what Turkey achieved out of the hostile act and what is Russia obliged to respond as a nation which had been attacked by a NATO member.

Warsaw Pact is no more so Russia stands alone against NATO. Historically the Russian Bear have withstood whatever the challenges thrown up by rest of Europe. Does an American backed Europe think that it will have better fortune than Napoleon and Hitler. I have lot of doubts about American Europe's capability to physically overpower Russia. Its not a media game of more Newspapers,Television channels and well cushioned news anchors displaying macho flairs from studios.   Its bullet and bombs and human lives of real Russian, European and American. Not a proxy war with other nation soldiers and civilian populations' lives on the alter.

So far none have matched the sacrifice and courage of Russians. Remember Russia lost more men than Allied combined during the WWII. And it was Russia that broke the backbone of Nazi war machineries. It was Russian forces that marched into Berlin first. The Allied Forces under British and American leadership were more anxious of Russian Might than defeating Hitler towards the end game.

Since Ukraine, many American war hawks have been calling upon NATO to declare  war against Russia. Turkey could have been prodded to fire the first salvo.  Now is NATO going to come out in the open? Seems unlikely with NATO key European members playing hide and seek game with America. Germany did not even support wholeheartedly the American led sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Britain had voted No to American request to join Syrian war and now France the yes man of America in Europe wants to fight ISIS not Russia. And America alone or combined with Allies like Japan and Australia and reluctant Europe does not have the financial, human or material resources to start a war with Russia and contain China at the same time.

So President Erdogan of the great nation of Turks will find himself alone in the midst of the flame of the Russian plane that he ordered to be fired upon. Sooner or later the people of Turkey will realise that the missile attack on the Russian plane had very little to do with Turkish nationalism. The initial emotional fire of sovereignty will give way to being played a pawn in a larger game of a Super Power. Erdogan may be confronted with an election sooner than he ever planned.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A hope fulfilled.

Yesterday at 2PM, I had posted in fb my status of thoughts on Thromdey Politics. By then I felt frustrated with the ongoing political wrangling preventing the right national thing.

However, Pelden Drukpa has miraculous ways. I expressed my thoughts at 2PM wondering if the Parliament had the capacity to move beyond the murky visions of Party Politics. And then by Evening what I hoped came through. The Joint Committee and its Chairman had come through to recoup national interests. Denchi where so much national investment had already been made was approved as Pema Gatsel Thromdey. And Paro Jabana finally got its much deserved Yenlag Thromdey.

Thank you Parliament especially the Joint Committee. The sensible decision of this Parliament Winter session is as welcome as the first snowfall of a year.  And it is more so beautiful because you have decided to re-view the golden autumn beauty of Paro once again. Maybe,the Queen of Beauty gets an extended life span.

Political differences will go on. However, united hearts will build the nation. Hail Pelden Drukpa?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Different kind of Anxieties on Bilateral or Multilateral Agreements.

The proposed ratification of BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement by Bhutan resulted in a faux incident.  It was passed and then deemed not passed as the constitutionally required votes was not there to legitimise ratification.

There is no doubt that Bhutan will have to ratify the 4 nation Agreement because India wants it to be passed. However, do not think this BBIN Agreement can prevent India from blocking transit facilities if she so wants to as in the present blockade of Nepal. Like Bhutan, Nepal, too, has free trade and transit Agreement with India and what good has it done ?

This proposed ratification of BBIN has caused a lot of cries of foul in the Bhutanese social medias. Those against the Agreement were of the opinion that such an Agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal would drastically increase the number of foreign registered vehicles on the Bhutanese roads and  negatively affect both environment and transport business of Bhutanese. The concerns though valid are quite late and futile because Bhutan already has similar arrangements with India. And with Bangladesh, the transit issue through India is a stumbling block otherwise Bhutanese and Bangladesh Trucks would already be ferrying goods to each other Countries. 

I, on the other hand, have a very different perspective. My own concern for any Bilateral and Multilateral Agreement is more to do with the ability or more specifically the inability of a small nation to hold the larger and more powerful Signatories to the terms of the Agreement.

The two major recent incidents in South Asia demonstrated that the terms and conditions of any Bilateral and Multilateral Agreement is only a noose around the smaller and weaker Signatories and any favourable advantage is ultimately subject to the whims of the more powerful and geographically superior Signatories. Therefore, Agreements and Treaties with powerful Co- Signatories does not provide actual reliefs to small nations as a matter of rights under the terms of such Agreement or Treaties.

Both India and Nepal are members of WTO. And yet in all reality this did not stop India from imposing a trade and transit embargo against land locked Nepal. And worse most of the powerful members of WTO are silent as a ghost to Nepal's right of free trade and transit both as a land locked nation and a member of WTO.

India and Nepal had executed a Bilateral Fuel Supply Agreement. India agreed to supply all of Nepal fuel needs and Nepal was not to procure any type of fuel from any third  source. In keeping with the terms of the Agreement, Nepal had not explored any third supply source. Thus  when India unilaterally stopped fuel supply, Nepal was left frustratingly helpless. No fuel and no ability to hold powerful and geographically superbly advantaged  India accountable for breaching the terms of the Bilateral Agreement on Fuel Supply as well as the Agreement on Free Trade and Transit executed between India and Nepal.

The 1948 Indo- Bhutan Treaty was renegotiated in 2006 specifically to do away with Indian Guidance in the External Affairs of Bhutan. In return Bhutan also agreed to the deletion of the Annuity Clause that in essence records that historically the Duars region of India was Bhutanese territory at one time. But the reality turned out to be a more humiliating renegotiated Indo- Bhutan Treaty of 2006. The political crisis in 2013 demonstrated that Bhutan lost her historical claims on Duars region and India did not recognise Bhutanese right to conduct even a " Handshake " with a foreign power without Indian consent. The incident also proved that India can exploit powerful friends among Bhutanese who are most willing to compromise national sovereignty for short time  political gains of personal nature.

Thus any solace or deemed advantage provided under the terms and conditions of Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements or Treaties are just fringe benefits to small and land locked weak nations and these can be denied at any time for any imaginative reasons by the powerful Co- Signatories. This is not to say that Bhutan should not be a Signatory to Bilatetial or Multilateral Treaties. But optimism should be measured with reality.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bhutan and Happiness survey.

It seems that the national survey found educated people more happy than uneducated. It makes one to wonder the methodology used for several reasons:

1. If the result of the survey is authentic than citizens of industrialised world who are both more educated and wealthy to a large extent should be happy. Is it so?.

2. If the result is correct then the Gross National Product is the valid indicator of social happiness. GNH is not the trusted indicator because the survey confirms that literacy and money which drive productivity are the two  pillars of happiness. Therefore, GDP and GNP which are products of literacy and wealth have been proven to be the true indicators of national social contentment status. 

3. Compared to developed Countries, Bhutanese literacy and wealth figures are rather low. But the survey has shown that almost all Bhutanese are happy. Does it mean that almost all people in the world are happy since Bhutan a Least Developed Country is almost 100% happy ?

4. According to the happiness survey of Bhutan,  literacy and wealth rule the roost of happiness. In such a scenario democracy, culture, stability and peace which have no direct relations to money and education,  have no impact on happiness and unhappiness of an individual or family or community. Can this really be so?

No wonder there is so much corruption in the country because everyone wants to be happy in the GNH nation and money is the secret of Happiness according to the Bhutanese national happiness survey.

5. If 99% of Bhutanese are happy already then it is confirmed that social problems of drug issues, unemployment, increased figures of communicable and non communicable diseases , death and sickness have no impact to an individual's status of happiness or unhappiness. Could Bhutanese  have been turned to robots?

Conclusion :  Looks like the national survey on happiness was structured to achieve an artificial goal :  The utopian status of Bhutanese in the year of the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Is that an insult or adulation or what ?

Now Bhutan must work out the secret recipe of Longevity since we have found the recipe of Happiness. Bhutan's highly educated and wealthy top of the national social and political pyramid have so much reasons to smile. There is a chance of living forever in happiness. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

The new political scene in India.

Bihar is known as the poorest State in Indian Union but these days India politics is centred in Bihar. Today Nitish Kumar swearing in ceremony had almost all Indian Political parties represented. Its kind of new dawn in politicking. BJP was slain in Bihar and India's much acclaimed Prime Minister Narenda Modi lost out to Chief Minister of impoverished state of Bihar. The choice was between lavish development money by Modi and integrity and quite credentials of Nitesh Kumar. The poor voters of Bihar chose honesty and integrity over vociferous handouts of money and caste Politics. The Coalition headed by Nitesh Kumar was given a thumping majority. It was an ugly earth quake for BJP confidence and RSS caste politics.  And it was  an unimaginable  personal humiliation to Narenda Modi who campaigned extensively and brutally in the Bihar Election.

The big question now is,  Can Bihar formula work in other parts of India? The huge gathering of political figures of various political parties at the Swearing- in- Ceremony of Bihar Chief Minister and his Cabinet suggest that Bihar kind of Politics may be the trend that could suit voter moods elsewhere in India.

I follow Bihar Politics only for my interest in the RJD Chief Mr. Lalu Yadav Prasad. A colourful character in simple attire and blunt talks. Ever since he turned around the commercially money losing infamous Indian Railways into a profitable and customer friendly service giant as UPA I Railway Union Minister, I kept tag of him. Since then his Party was almost wiped out and he was imprisoned on corruption charges relating to fodder scam . He is on bail and not permitted to sit for election. And yet Bihar people has not deserted the man of the down trodden. It was he they claim who gave the poor the necessary political voice and human dignity.  During this Election in Bihar, his Party RJD secured the largest share of Assembly Seats and as icing on the cake both his sons got elected. The Dad and Mom team has been replaced by two sons team. Whatever the future of Politics be, I do hope Lalu will remain afloat and bring beneficial changes for the poor.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tributes and nostalgia of 60 years of a royal life.

The BBS produced memorial documentary  of 60 years of the life of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo is very heart touching. Hearing the words of two Lyonpos their Excellences Kinzang Dorji and Leki Dorji and others describing parts of the golden years that they too had the honour and privilege of serving and witnessing the great King in action, is like watching the sun rising in tribute and again the sun setting in nostalgia.

His Majesty touched the lives of so many in so much ways. The affection was far and wide , near and close by, personal and public. Bhutan and Bhutanese were the inspirations of His Majesty during days and dreams of his nights. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has been always a Guru, Father,Friend and Guide to his nation and people.

Many have said that the King did what ever deeds for the nation. This understanding is vital for the Kingdom of Bhutan and the people to, hereafter, develop unity in diversity. The national goal in preserving the culture and tradition, the heart wrenching issue of genuine citizens and illegal residents in Southern Bhutan, the perils of ULFA BODO expulsion campaign, the Bhutan China Border Treaty, the Indo Bhutan renegotiation of 1949 Treaty,the vision of National Happiness, the installation of the constitutional Monarch along with the institution of guided Democracy are all for the goodness and the strengthening of the Bhutanese nation so that true citizens have the means and opportunity to develop a national livelihood with human dignity and sovereign prestige.

This King went through the most arduous journeys of national reign only for his Country and his people. Even Triple Gem would have been hard pressed to be more selfless. The sacrifices he made, the visions he believed should enable the people of Bhutan to love in unity, appreciate the diversity of thought and culture and respect and protect individual and national dignity. May Bhutan prosper in national unity, national tolerance and national dignity.

It is not for me to compare the Kings in my life and judge their individual greatness. I deeply revere the Third King, worship the Fourth King and admire the Fifth King. My respects and belief in their Majesties'  devotion to the nation and the Bhutanese is explicit and unshakable.  But it is my hope and also an appeal to Bhutanese of all blood and culture to comprehend the reign of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the broader light and perspective of the Kingdom and the interest and welfare of whole of Bhutanese people and the Bhutanese nation. Individuals and communities are crucial but the greatness of the wisdom and leadership of the Fourth King lies in his consolidated vision for overall Bhutan and Bhutanese.

I am really happy that His Majesty will soon be able to hold the future sixth King in his arms. May the King live long and able to groom and guide the Crown Prince. May Peace and selfless Confidence prevail in our Kingdom in true royal memorial.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ISIS: What is it ? Who is it? And how much is it?

I remember America tried to bury the term ISIS but that proved impossible. ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but most readers would simply understand the term as a name of a fearful terror group that has tentacles in many regions.

France has declared war on ISIS after the recent Paris attacks. Russia also declared that ISIS will be hunted down every where after it was confirmed that the Russian passenger plane was brought down by an ISIS planted bomb on the plane. America wants to side along her NATO friend France in avenging the Paris massacres.

What is ISIS ?
It is a nation proclaimed by extremist Islamists who believe that there can be a great Muslim nation to be headed by a Caliph. A Caliphate centred in Syria and Iraq. Possibly there is something about such a Islamic nation in the Koran. Many young Muslims seem to believe in this Koranic dream and therefore, there is no dearth in new recruits for this cause and dream.

Who is ISIS ?
That is the difficult answer. There is no such nation, therefore, there cannot be such citizens. And yet today New Yorkers, Parisians and Londoners sleep less easy because of this kind of phantom nation and people called ISIS.

How much is ISIS ?
For the Western Front lead by America, ISIS is the consequences of all the chaos and war of terror inflicted callously upon Iraq , Libya and Syria. The life of the nation and the populace in these nations have been turned inside out if not outrightly killed and destroyed. The Palestinians are corralled and killed by American armed State of Israel and so many Muslims lie oppressed under pro American Rulers in the Middle East. It is not difficult to visualise the size of disgruntled population of Muslims who feel they are victims of other races and powers. But just how much among them truly believe that their salvation and dignity  lies in carving out a Caliphate under a Caliph from the shores of Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, is yet to define.

ISIS is described as extremist Islamists.  One could say the very Terror among Terrorist. A clan of people prepared to do extreme deeds in the attempt to  achieve their objectives. In courage they are comparable to Japanese suicide pilots who dived upon the American warships with their planes during the Second World War. Like the Tamil lady who garlanded Rajiv Gandhi with explosive decked flowers and hugged him to set off the ignition. Like the Polish cavalry that charged the German tanks, on horse backs. But unlike all the foolhardy incredible brave hearts, the ISIS posses a sophisticated mind of modern war strategies including use of social media and mass human psychology.

Till now the Powers that be restricted themselves to containing ISIS advances in Syria and Iraq. France joined America to contain ISIS forces in Syria. And Russia came to the rescue of her ally President Assad of Syria and therefore attacked forces including that of ISIS which were gaining grounds against Assad in Syria. However, the recent retaliations conducted by ISIS in downing the Russian passenger plane and the Paris attacks have called for elimination of ISIS.

Could ISIS be eliminated by a combined forces of NATO, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia and her Arab Allies? For the time being, ISIS potency would be reduced but elimination is not possible. The consequences of intolerance and destruction and humiliation of human and national dignity cannot be erased or eliminated until such acts cease. As long as aggression upon society and nations take place, grievances will deepen and resentments will give rise to counter forces conveniently named terrorist groups.

After the initial furore and avenging acts of aerial bombardments of supposed ISIS strongholds, the Powers that be, must sit down with the United Nations and work towards finding a solution to ending the wars of aggression and régime changing policies and start respecting human and national dignity of the aggrieved Countries and persecuted minorities. Remove the salt from the water and sea water can be drunk. Likewise address the grievances of aggrieved societies and grounds for terrorism will abate.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Why is there now a trend of addressing the Bhutanese King as Chhoegyel ?

Is Chhoegyel supposed to be more substantial title than King?. A point to ponder I thought.

Chhoegyel was the title of the Sikkimese Leader who was not referred to as King. In Bhutan Shabdrung was referred to by foreigners as Dharma Raja since he was a Lama with political power. 

The first hereditary Bhutanese Monarch  was installed in 1907 by the People , Public  Officials and the Monastic Body of Bhutan as their King so naturally it is understood that the King of Bhutan holds power and responsibilities over both religious and political affairs of the nation. The Sceptre originated from all spheres of the Bhutanese society not just religious society. The title Deb originated from the Dratsang but not the King.

When the Fifth King was installed as Trongsa Penlop somehow the Title Chhoetse Penlop was promoted. I thought it was a case of astrological appropriateness ( maybe someone advised that the Title Trongsa Penlop needed to be temporarily replaced by Chhoetse Penlop to avoid the sad event that followed in 1972 ). But on this 11 November, the BBS Commentator referred to the Fourth King as Chhoegyel. Of course in nature as also confirmed by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck , the Fourth King is also a Dharma Raja in spirit and compassion but still Bhutanese Monarchs are Kings not merely Chhogyels.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Father and the Son of Bhutan.

Father and son relationship is more complex than that of mother and daughter. It is even more delicate because men by temperament are less flexible. A mother and daughter relationship can survive most quarrels and fights. Whilst most dads and sons cannot even hold a decent duration  conversation of small talks.

But in rare occasions of time capsule, there occurs a bond like King Jigme Singye Wangchuck the father and his son King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. A Father who declared that his son would be a better Ruler and a son who feels that there can never be a greater King than his father. 

Not every doting father can gift a Kingdom to a son and not every son can so grandly and meaningfully celebrate with the nation the 60th Birth Anniversary of his father in the presence of the same towering figure of his childhood memory. Congratulations your Majesties !

The day of 11th November, 2015 is more than historic. Its an emotional day of memories past and hopes of the coming future. Looking back at the last 60 years for Bhutan and Bhutanese , it will be filled with highs and lows of national emotions that come fleetingly past by. Not a dream but so much happened to make it appear like a dream. 

Bhutan was in the best of sovereign health when Crown Prince Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born and Bhutan was handed over to the Fifth King in the same sovereign best of health in December, 2006.

The fundamentals of a Kingdom remains the very same. And so in a way, it is like waking up from a long hectic dream in the morning to find oneself in the best of health. And likewise the morning of November 11th, 2015, all Bhutanese will wake up to this sovereign  nation in the best of heath, to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the eve of the 10th year of the reign of his son His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

On such an auspicious national celebration, I humbly wish the father King the best of good health and the joy of peaceful living with the graceful Queens.  And to the son His Majesty the King of the Kingdom, I humbly offer my prayers for great Kingship and a son with whom he can share such privileged father son relationship.

And to all walks of Bhutanese, I wish the privilege and honour of both self dignity and national dignity. The weakest of human being and the smallest of nations must have the right to enjoy the most precious heavenly gift of dignity. And may the Wangchuck dynasty with the Blessings of the Triple Gem,  guard and guarantee the dignity of every Bhutanese and the dignity of sovereign Bhutan, for all times to come.

Pelden Drukpa !  GyaLo !

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Bhutan for Bhutan.

Bhutanese who have come down the generations of Bhutanese blood and hereditary lines may not share the fear and  hate for China that Indians or even Tibetans especially those living outside would feel. And likewise,  hereditary Bhutanese may also,  sensitively and sentimentally, be more protective of Bhutanese sovereignty viz a viz Indian strong arm influence than the later date Bhutanese citizens. I feel inherent sentiment is kind of different from adopted or inspired dedication.

The new leadership in Nepal is denying India from carving a little Indian State for Nepalese citizens of Indian origins in  southern belt of Nepal. If Nepal leaders fail then South Nepal will gradually become part of Indian Union. I expect Bhutanese democratic  leaders will also resist any attempt by India to carve out southern Bhutan. Therefore, I watch the event being played out in Nepal with thumping heart because it can give an indication of the future of sovereignty of small nations.

Some might say why would a non- entity be so concerned and moreover what can a non- entity like me do. Nothing really !  I know that. But a Bhutanese can exercise at least the freedom of wishful thinking. And that is what I am doing except I say it a bit aloud.

If one thinks beyond sentiment and just blind love of being sovereign, maybe majority of common people may not need to be preoccupied with sovereignty. I wonder what the true blood line of Sikkimese living in Sikkim  or Tibetans in Tibet really feel about living under a different line of rulers or political leaders. Are they economically better off or do they feel less fear or more fear of the authorities ? Do they miss the old  sovereignty and the old system or are the majority of the common people in the two countries content with the changes that had evolved ?

The construction progress of Samtse to Phuentsholing road is so silent now. The Amochu hydro project has been shelved.  In 1960 Bhutan could not have constructed the Thimphu Phuentsholing highway with out generous assistance from India. And today in 2015, Bhutan had to shelve the construction of the much needed Southern Highway that was funded by Asian Development Bank for " security reasons ". Whose security is  Bhutan concerned about. Many believe that the proposed Highway could have further strengthened  the security of Bhutan. At least we could  monitor who is entering the forests of South Bhutan: ULFA BODO Militants or Indian Soldiers through a " South Bhutan Highway Patrol ".

Bhutan has come a long way in terms of economic and social  prosperity since 1907. In terms of Bhutanese national sovereignty,  what has been the tangible political progress since joining United Nations in 1971 ? In my humble mind, one giant step is the China Bhutan Border Treaty. And the other possibly even more important is the successful renegotiation of Indo Bhutan Treaty of 1949 by the Fourth King. A Treaty has value and validity when put in practice. Otherwise,  it is only as valuable as the paper that records it.

True respect and reverence for a leader lies in exercising national confidence and faith in the deed accomplished by a great leader.  This renegotiated Treaty was signed by the Bhutanese Fifth King and the President of India who was then the Minister of External Affairs of India. I did not know that Shri Pranab Mukherjee would become the President of India. Now that he is, this Treaty is even more significant because in a way, two Heads of Nations' signatures stand testimony to the commitments of India and Bhutan. There should not be ifs and buts in honouring the terms of the Treaty.  It was the Fourth King who renegotiated the 1949 Treaty with the Government of India. The King must have had an immediate reason and an end vision in so doing what he successfully undertook. The endeavour could not be for namesake. So why are we treating it like a namesake deed ?

I am no fan of Nepal. I hardly know the nation and her leaders. But unlike some sore throats in the Bhutanese and Indian  media, I do not see the differences between  Nepal and Bhutan  rather the political situation affinity which terrifies me. Nepal is suffering because the leaders are resisting the partition of Nepalese nation. And when a Bhutanese News Print known for voicing in advance Bhutanese Government views, takes delight in tormenting Nepal, it is disturbing. I pray that this time it is not the actual view of the Bhutanese Government.

I took great heart in the Bhutanese Prime Minister meeting the Nepalese Delegation in New York. It would not have anything to do with the Nepal economic situation but so what. It was a good gesture similar to His Majesty's instant heart felt deed at the time of Nepal earthquake. There is not much that Bhutan as a small nation can say or do in the Nepal India situation. The least any true Bhutanese could do is refrain from insulting the Deities of the Himalayas because just like Nepal, Bhutan, too,  is dependent on the good grace of the Deities.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

India bans only fuel export to Nepal. Why?

The Indian action cannot be a mystery unless you are blinded by absolute obedience to India or you have personal reasons of blood and birth to detest the very thought of Nepal seeking Chinese help and succeeding.

The Indian Oil Corporation is a Government of India Undertaking. There is no repercussion for the Government in dictating political decisions upon IOC.  Also India imports a lot of its own fuel requirement so it is under no economic compulsion to export fuel to Nepal or Bhutan. And of course shortage of fuel can bring a modern nation to grinding halt over a period of time. That's why oil producing countries of Middle East are pampered by all giant nations except by Russia. What would India gain if Nepal does not give in to crippling economic embargo?

India is more liberal in the export of other material including foodstuffs to Nepal. One reason: To protect the business interests of Indian Exporters. Nepal is a captive market for Indian products and its consumption capacity is almost 100 times that of  Bhutan.  Reason Two:  The Indian origin population of Nepal whom India banks for political  support will also suffer. Even fuel is being allowed to be smuggled into South Nepal from India to buy cooperation of this section of Nepalese population during the present embargo. Reason Three: India want to demonstrate her economic leverage but in no way had intended to alienate forever Nepal forces.

India is very important to Nepal for economic and transit reasons. Geographical position makes India vital to Bhutan and Nepal. China can never be an equally convenient geographical access substitute for Bhutan and Nepal. .  But equally important to India is the strategic geographical positions of Nepal and Bhutan.
The Himalayan Mountains that keep away the hostile forces from the northern plains of India are the same barriers that stand hostile to trade and transit for Nepal and Bhutan in the north. Thus in reality good relationship between India and the two tiny Himalayan nations serve equal interests of all three countries. Today, the defence forces of India sleeps easier during nights because Nepal and Bhutan are their dominoes to manoeuvre.

It is a trade off relationship with India that till date has never been demanded in equal proportion by the tiny Himalayan nations. There will come a time when demonic demands of a giant neighbour finally clashes with true awakenings among smaller nations that will compel about equal relationship and respect between India and her neighbours.  What is evolving presently in Nepal may just be the faint beginning towards the necessity and wisdom of friendship with equal dignity among all neighbours regardless of size.

Die hard Indians or writers in the media who enjoy bashing Nepal and China would only high light the greatness of Indian policies. They belittle Nepal and her position. Even in Bhutan some Bhutanese belittle the strategic strength that the Kingdom possess and omnipotence of India is religiously worshipped.  However, other leaders including seasoned leaders in  India will observe with concern the Indian embargo of Nepal and the consequent ripple impacts on South Asia balance of power and influence.

The inpregnible Himalayan mountains will be handsomely breached as Nepal is gradually forced to open its northern borders to rail and highway traffics with China. India will then have to deal with two pro China nations ( Pakistan and Nepal ). And as I had earlier warned the status of India among SAARC nations will diminish unless India make adjustments.

As a through bred Bhutanese, I opt for good relations with both India and China. I know India has to be and will remain our closest neighbour but I do not endorse the antagonism that certain section of Bhutanese polity hold towards China.

I have full sympathy for Nepal and I pray that both Nepal and China succeed at the earliest in surmounting the formidable natural barriers so that the people of Nepal are not starved and immobilised by the Indian blockade in the years ahead. This ongoing blockade will fade away but there will be another the next time so might as  well  start from now towards defeating the very objective of an Indian  economic blockade in the future. Good Luck to Nepalese leadership and the people.

Monday, October 26, 2015

On India blockade of Nepal fuel supply.

The Nepalese Foreign Minister Mr. Kamal Thapa is quoted as saying, " The Government ( Nepal Government ) is sincerely working ( with India ) to ease fuel supply without compromising on the country dignity ". What this means is Nepal has asked India to lift the trade embargo and refrain from internal matter interference.

India would have lifted the blockade if Nepalese Prime Minister Oli had rushed to pay homage to New Delhi. But His Excellency Prime Minister of Nepal seems to be made of sterner nationalism material. After all he spent 14 years in jail for Nepal of his vision.  Perhaps India has found out that not every regional leader is ready to meekly bow before New Delhi for personal political salvation.

Fuel import to Nepal from China would be more costly than from India for transportation reasons. But with China granting 1000 tonnes of fuel in subsidy, the cost difference does not exist in importing  the 10000 tonnes immediate need.  I hope New Delhi realises that bullying small neighbours can back fire when a neighbour like Nepal has leaders with national backbone.

India is in position to grant any personal wishes of political leaders in Nepal and elsewhere in the South Asia Region.  But it seems Prime Minister Oli has no personal wish, only national dignity of Nepal to protect. The people of Nepal has taken a courageous path. It will not be easy but if Oli is not murdered he will succeed.

Whatever political card is dealt out, hereafter, the sacrifice that Prime Minister Oli and his supporters the majority of Nepalese citizens and institutions have made, has sown the imperishable seed of Nepal Sovereignty and Dignity. I admire such true grit in political leadership.

The biggest commercial losers in the end would be the business people of the States of India bordering Nepal. The population in Southern Nepal will also lose the economic advantage for a short duration. But on the whole even South Nepal is not that far away from Chinese border trading posts. Moreover it is possible that much of the business enterprises in South Nepal, too, are operated directly or indirectly by Indian businessmen similar to Phuentsholing in Bhutan.

And on the political front, South Asia Association till now dominated by mother India would have opened an active back door to China. New Delhi would have realised by now that economic strangulation of Nepal was not a foolproof strategy for India. I do hope India will change. South Asian Countries like land locked Nepal and Bhutan need India but prefer a less vicious India.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Wedding that fascinated and evoked multitudes of hopes and bright dreams of millions of youths.

Today the 13th of October, 2015, the Kingdom of Bhutan celebrates the 4th anniversary of the Royal Wedding of their Majesties the King and Queen. It is an appropriate occasions for all Bhutanese to express our happiness and good wishes for the famous couple of South Asia the King and the Queen of Bhutan.

May His Majesty and Her Majesty receive the Blessings of the Triple Gem for all their wishes and graceful reign. And may Bhutanese of all walks of life enjoy in peace and equality  the fruits of national resources and endeavours under their glorious reign.

I humbly offer my sincere prayers and respects on this joyous anniversary.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Welcome to the first Prime Minister of Republic of Nepal.

Glad to read that yesterday, Nepal has chosen Mr. Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli as the first Prime Minister of Republic of Nepal. Going through his life story, one realises he was educated in Politics on the Street, in the Jail and through the Bureaucractic roles. Academically he is a drop out of Secondary School. So having come this far, he has to be an achiever not a fancy facade of builders of castles in the air.

It is a challenging job but a practical leader like him ought to meet the challenges. He stands for the dignity of Nepal and her sovereign Republic status. The former Prime Minister Koirala who had actually made a Gentleman agreement to back the nomination of Mr. Oli for the Prime Minister Post had switched his face and challenged Mr. Oli for the post and lost.

Maybe Koirala of Nepal Congress Party a kind of Indian protege thought he had a chance with Indian arm twisting influence. He must have banked on the stinging economic blockade by India to have cowered the Nepalese Parliamentarians to vote for a pro India Party. Thankfully the Nepalese politicians are made of sterner national fabric. They voted to stand by national sovereignty of Nepal.

Koirala will always be a thorn to the national interests of Nepal. The consolation is that he is old and his turn coat style politics that drives his personal ambitions could be shattered by ill health.

Nepal has been economically strangled thrice by India.  The first was when King Mahendra of Nepal chucked out the Indian Military from Nepal. India had her soldiers even manning Out Posts at the borders of China and Nepal. That was terminated by Nepal King and so the first Indian economic blockade took place that year of 1969.

The second blockade was in 1989 when Nepal King Birendra armed his Army with Chinese weapons. The third economic blockade this time happened because India does not agree with the new Secular Republic Constitution of Nepal.

I suppose India will have to realise that driving Nepal up against the Himalayan  Mountains is not really in the ultimate interests of India. Nepal is already suffering but as in the past Nepal knows that India will have to relent. This is the historical reason why Nepal has officially not yet made public appeal for Chinese help in easing the economic blockade.

Instead Nepal has called global tender for supply of crucially needed fuel supplies. As I had earlier said if fuel has to be air freighted then Bangladesh is the shortest route for Nepal. But if India denies over flight right of fuel air transport from Bangladesh then only China can make the supplies.

I suspect India will refrain from brinkmanship politics with Nepal now that their favoured Prime Ministerial candidate Koirala is out and it is the new Prime Minister Oli that India has to deal with. India will have to end the economic blockade because the alternate would be disastrous for India and even America who have partnered with India to contain China.

America has been hoping that Nepal hardliners would given in to the Indian  economic blockade. In fact America has been advising her citizens from visiting Nepal knowing very well that Nepal needs tourists. It is another kind of economic blockade but the tactic failed to prevent Mr. Oli coming to power. So now both Modi and Obama has to rethink strong arm tactics. They need Nepal and Bhutan for their geo political strategic roles.

India Nepal border blockade cannot last too long without dramatic political fallouts in Nepal or dramatic upsets in the Sino- India- America political equation. This is a dangerous period for all small neighbours of India.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A curative 20th October Kuensel editorial on Bhutan Football Federation incident ! Would this soothe over the injurious tamasha ?

The football match between Bhutan and Maldives began in similar manner to the earlier matches wherein the opposing team scored goals and the Bhutanese fans kept praying. Then at the later stage of the 2nd half, the tide turned. The tempo that the Bhutanese team was able to play with during the 2nd half finally tired the sea level Maldive players in thin mountain air of Thimphu. Initially with 4 goals ahead , the team from Maldives seemed a little complacent. I wondered what advise the team coach had given the visiting team during the interval. And was intrigued by too many ball shuffling in and around their D area instead of clearing away.

One could not have guessed the Bhutanese side of the drama during the half time interval. But the ball was mostly contained on the side of the winning team during the 2nd half.  And as Bhutanese forwards scored successive impressive shots into the opponent's net, it seemed a long cast curse had been shattered. The change in Bhutanese team  dynamo may not be entirely due to abrupt departure of the bad luck Japanese coach but the change in strategy and new found self respect and high spirit definitely brought about the memorable feat at Changlingmithang. Scoring 3 fantastic goals in such a short span of time is no fluke. The curse has been destroyed and Bhutan Football team has regained its spirit and dignity.

I for one do not care about the niceties  or ugliness  of the Japanese coach, the manager and the players that had occurred during that crucial half time break. That it happened and made possible the wind of change is all Bhutan needed.

What could Kuensel Editor have in mind when the editorial writes of ( phantom ?) long term goal of the Japanese coach ?  100 goals more defeat for Bhutan ? And washing dirty linen in public ? Well, please check what the Japanese coach said to Kuensel before departure for Hong Kong game. It was he who began washing dirty linen in public.

A blame game kind of incident has been portrayed by the Bhutan Football Federation. The Japanese coach is not innocent but BFF management is largely the culprit. A winning Bhutanese coach Nima was dumped and a Japanese with confusing mental attitude and dubious professionalism was imported. His main contribution seems to be changing the numbers on the Jersey of players and a hara- kiri match strategy.

The President of BFF Dasho Ugen Tsechup had acquired the coach from the Japanese Football Association. And both Team Manager Hishey Tshering and Team Captain Passing Tshering had backed the Japanese coach to the hilt. As I had commented before, I do not underestimate the valuable contributions made by BFF management. The artificial green turfs, the practise sessions in Bangkok , the funds acquired and raised had to have made tremendous impact in upgrading Bhutanese football standard. What was negative was that the BFF  Management lacked confidence in itself and the collective efforts of team Bhutanese. So they sacked the match winning Bhutanese coach and totally endorsed the street dog treatment of the players by the Japanese coach. And the Bhutanese fans went crazy wild with praises for every losses. The more the number of goals the Bhutanese team lost by,  the louder the praises for the team or was it a fabricated publicity camouflage for bad management decision.

The path to way forward is coming out clean. So washing ugly and dirty linen in public and adopting a more nationally sensible transparent working system is a positive first step. The BFF Management need to apologise to itself for lack of self confidence in team Bhutanese and apologise to the Bhutanese coach Nima who they sacked for winning. It seemed to be a case of professional jealousy. May be the Japanese coach did not want to win matches for fear of being kicked out. 

One hopes for BFF to weather this episode and be more coherent hereafter. And as for the players I hope they keep to the necessity of being humbly professional and work harder to be better.

Good Luck to the BFF Management and the players. And better luck and wisdom with the next  coach.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

India and Nepal on the brinkmanship politics of " Little India " creation in Nepal.

The root cause of economic blockade of Nepal from Indian side is the formation of seven Provinces ( Dzongkhags ) in Nepal under the newly adopted Constitution of Nepal.

India and some sections of the mainly Indian origin population occupying the southern plains of Nepal want to stay as one whole Province. Therefore, they are against dividing Nepal into seven Provinces because that divides the southern plains into part of different Provinces. More than 50% of Nepal population are of Indian origin occupying the southern plains bordering India and having the plains united under one large Province is equivalent to " Little India " in Nepal.

Some sections of Bhutanese political thought pretend not to understand the predicament that Nepal faces. And some part of general public in Bhutan may not be fully aware of the gravity of the issue that is playing out in the neighbourhood. Maybe a similar hypothetical scene in Bhutanese context could illustrate the Nepal dilemma. Its like Lhotsampas in Bhutan demanding whole of Southern Bhutan as one Dzongkhag and India blocking supplies to Bhutan until the Bhutanese Government accede to the demand of the Lhotsampas.

For Nepal the situation is most difficult. If Nepal gives in to " Little India " demand, sooner or later Nepal as a sovereign Republic would cease to exist. At the same time, the economic blockade will choke northern part of Nepal including Kathmandu. China is there but it is not easy to overcome geographical difficulties at such short notice.

Some political leaders in India and elsewhere may feel that China would not dare to help out Nepal against India's fierce opposition. Well that is exactly what America and her western allies particularly France and NATO Command thought about Russian position about Assad in Syria until Russia came in to rescue Assad with guns blazing.

I feel China will do everything directly and indirectly to come to the economic rescue of Nepal if the Indian push comes to shove. There will be no blazing guns but regional politics to the highest velocity would be played out between the two giant nations and smaller neighbours would not end up winners under any scenario.

The business people in Nepal are playing fork tongue politics. They do not want to appear to be opposing the Nepalese nation but at the same time the Hindu dominated business sector of Nepal have its sentiments of originality and most importantly their commercial profits to protect. Thus their appeal to the Nepalese Prime Minister to end the stalemate. Trade embargo hurts commercial interests on both side of the border. So business people mood and heart could swing with monetary source. Thus ultimately it will be the Nepalese Army and the general rural citizens that would make the difference in the fight between Nepal sovereignty and Nepal short term economic gains.

If Nepal gives in to India backed Nepalese political faction demanding larger size Province in South Nepal, the next political call will be cessation along ethnic lines and that would be the end of Nepal of today. So the gravity of present scenario does not hinge on securing or not securing fuel supplies from India. Economic masala may be top priority for many because the dignity of a nation does not fill up stomachs and the greed of some political and commercial leaders. But sovereignty may be a matter of life and death for some other kind of leaders and nationalities.

The Political Parties in Nepal are united against India but some of their reasons maybe more to do with self survival rather than totally defending national sovereignty of Nepal. Whatever the reasons maybe, till date, a united front has been put up by Nepal against India's aggressive dominance in Nepal affairs. I do not think India can count on the full blind support of the majority of the Indian origin population of Nepal. If it was so, there would not be the need of this politics of economic aggression. India is unsure so she is displaying her clouts.

If India lose Nepal to strategic interest of China then only Bhutan among SAARC remain under Indian dominance. This can be dangerous for Bhutan. An insecure jealous lover/ master could lead to suicidal acts. One could be pampered one moment and next bull dozed over. So rejoicing at Nepal situation may not exactly give Bhutan the last laugh. 

The best thing for Bhutan would be for Nepal to exercise her right to her adopted Constitution. Apart from its Republic nature, the Constitution of Nepal seems to be very similar to the Bhutanese Constitution. The major difference lies in Nepal a Hindu Kingdom now becoming a Secular Republic and that hurts India particularly the present BJP Government which is most pro Hindu. India would of course be most pleased with Bhutan the known Buddhist Kingdom becoming a Secular Kingdom under Bhutanese Constitution. It strengthens the position of other religious ethnics especially the Hindu population in Bhutan. Just because Bhutan gave in to India the Bhutanese people do not have to call upon Nepal to do the same.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

RSTA and Taxi registration new rules:

The new regulation is aimed at those in the honest trade of 2nd job to overcome the rising cost of living. Employed people at the lower rug of the society are forced to make ends meet by taking up secondary jobs to supplement their monthly income.

And some such people drive taxi during off office hours and on week ends if they are free from the demands of regular jobs. This is honest hard work and those that engage in such secondary occupation are good humble citizens who work their butts off so that their family survives to lead a kind of acceptable decent life.

RSTA administration as such cannot be against humble people doing honest jobs to earn a manageable livelihood. It must be the Government decision to earn the good will of regular taxi drivers. Taxi drivers association seem to have quite a political clout. But not all regular taxi drivers are against the part timers. Some felt it was alright and did not think it was too much of a pinch to their own income ( reference BBS interview).

As a society,  we should encourage Bhutanese citizens to do honest works and improve their livelihood. Closing of all avenues of honest work opportunity only forces people to support corrupt practises. And those placed in dire economic situation will resort to any other means including changing religion if it brings economic salvation.

I fully respect the regular taxi drivers and have never supported the obligation to buy electric cars to register as taxis. I am glad that this rule has been relaxed to some extent. At the same time the taxes on taxis of both regular and part timers are same. The difference is part timer are not much of a market competition to regular ones but they comply with all the obligations enforced by law. And if these part timers could do without this secondary job, they would be the first to opt out and take life a little easier.

I hope the nation and the Government of the day kindly take a re-look at the lives of part time taxi drivers. Most of them may be living a life below the standard of some regular taxi drivers. And few I hope have better lives. Bhutanese can do with less kidu dependent families. If given a comfortable choice both regular and part time taxi drivers would prefer other occupations. Life on the road is a hard life and dangerous also. Unless compelled to for economic reasons who would want to be a taxi driver. It is not to seek compassion. But one hopefully hope reasonable rules especially when determining the source of low income families will prevail.

It is O.K if I am rich and buys taxis to be hired out to other drivers and thereby  create more wealth for my family. But if I can only afford to buy just one car, I cannot use it as a taxi during off office hours to supplement monthly income to improve my family livelihood. Such vicious rules against the have nots will one day breakdown the harmony that has been nurtured for over hundred years.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Why not just shelve the miserable Druk air incident. A nightmare that that is not allowed to go away. Why further torture the public sentiment ?

Why not just shelve the miserable Druk air incident. A nightmare that that is not allowed to go away. Why further torture the public sentiment ?

So now Ministry of Communication wants to know about the Druk Air dumping a helpless very sick passenger who was on his way to Bangkok to seek medical treatment. And the Ministry of Health is investigating why a registered Doctor with the Medical Council of Bhutan issued the air travel fitness certificate. Why the charade ?

According the the media, Druk Air says it will provide the same clarification made in the Press Release   And the Doctor confirmed that he issued the certificate and had not revoked it ( contradicting Druk air claim) and in fact he again issued a similar one when Bhutan Airline wanted to fly the patient to Bangkok ( reference Kuensel ). And the patient was successfully flown to Bangkok without suffering health mishaps in the air, as certified by the doctor who issued the air travel fitness certificate.

Though the patient was initially deplaned by the Druk Air pilot, the final decision to refuse flight passage to him was taken on the ground not on the plane. I somehow cannot believe the decision was taken alone by the Pilot. Druk Air HQ is at Paro and these days mobile phones enable instant consultation with any concerned authority if necessary.

Raising hands or not raising hands when a question of yes or no is asked is voting though Druk Air denies voting took place. Maybe to Druk Air voting was not done properly  as per Election Commission procedure because CID was not verified and fingers were not inked and EVM was not used. And most crucially it was not sanctioned by the Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan.

A tourist couple maintained that they had initiated collection of contributions from the passengers. . In fact later,  out of pity they even offered to fund 50% of a chartered flight cost according to the tourist husband. Druk Air said they initiated the collection. An Initiator usually is the first and primary contributor. Just how much of the sum equivalent of the 1700 dollars collected as contribution was put in by Druk Air ? The inability to take on board the patient because of odour problems may not be a subject of investigation. But the other facts or lies need to be investigated if Ministry of Communication is really genuinely interested in correcting denial disease to the extent of falsifying records by any participant or stakeholder. Otherwise let bygones be bygones instead of rubbing salt to a wound that can hardly ever be made good.

I hear that the odour from the sinus patient was really bad and so it is understandable that other passengers especially in the Business Sector would express their difficulties since the patient was in the Business Class. It makes no difference now but I wonder if the patient could have taken the flight if all other passengers were shifted towards the front and the patient with family members arranged to be seated at the tail end of the plane. Maybe a compromise could have been reached that way.  Of course it is possible that the flight was absolutely packed or the patient family refused the seating arrangement at the tail end which is doubtful. According to a foreign tourist ( Kuensel ) the family was crying uncontrollably as other passengers proceeded to embark again. So the family seemed desperate and I feel any seating arrangement may have suited them except grounding their patient.

I had read the letter of the daughter to Druk air. Later a fb friend requested me to respond on line but I told him to wait for positive official response because the case would have already reached concerned authorities. I never imagined that drulair would cold shoulder the public dismay and the state of the patient.

I was, therefore,  shocked and saddened when I read the BBS news online stating that when contacted Druk Air responded they will only comment on Monday. It seemed the patient was too insignificant for such a proud and indispensable Airline as Druk Air status to bother about. Even the only National Broadcasting Television Service was unable to solicit a response from the Management of Druk Air.

The decision to dump the patient may have been made under stressful circumstances but why did Druk Air Management chose to ignore the public outcry when contacted by BBS on Saturday ? There was no CEO so maybe everything was confusing for a headless organisation. A system failure I suppose ! It is perplexing. Due to intense public pressure Druk air responded on Sunday but by then drukair had to know that the patient had reached Bangkok hospital on another chartered flight.

Regarding the much touted Powers of a pilot. I would not dispute the absolute powers of a pilot though I do not know the rules of engagement in civil aviation.  World events have demonstrated the powers of pilots. A hero pilot landed his plane with damaged engines on a river in New York to save all passengers and possibly the plane. A murder pilot deliberately flew his plane into the Alps in Europe killing all his passengers. So pilots have life and death powers over the passengers. Then there are cases of unruly and even smelly but otherwise healthy passengers being sent out of the planes by pilots. However,  I do not know if sick and helpless patient certified fit to fly and needing crucial professional  medical attention that is only available 4 hours flight distance away has yet been dumped by any pilot or by Airline Management.
The patient has died in a hospital in Bangkok and nothing can change that. Now if Communication Ministry wishes to make things easier for such future patients they could consult how it is done elsewhere and propose fitting regulations. Its no use beating a dead horse for solutions. Let Druk Air be taken over by the new CEO and hope for better social attitude thereafter.

And if registered medical doctors are not allowed to practise their profession then deregister them. Why register them as medical professionals and then impose rules barring them from practising. The whole thing is very confusing and in a way nationally demoralising . A national airline of the Kingdom cannot fly a helpless sick patient who is in dire need of  professional medical service and a registered doctor of the Medical Council of the Kingdom cannot issue air travel  fitness certificate though it has been demonstrated practically that the patient was fit to fly as certified. There are exceptional rules for exceptional people and no win rules for general people. How are people to comprehend the system?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The politics of Hydro projects of Bhutan.

It is  interesting and quite an intrigue. It is often thought that if Nepal had cooperated with India to construct hydro projects, India would not have made so much investment in Bhutan in developing  the same. And mind you it is not just a recent retrospection. This thought has been expressed by very senior Bhutanese officials before.

Lyonpo Om Pradhan shares similar thought in his book , " Roar of the Thunder Dragon ". And Lyonpo was very senior active player in the pre democracy Bhutanese Government.

The 1st Prime Minister of Democratic Government of Bhutan, His Excellency Lyonchen Jigmi Thinley and his Cabinet Ministers also felt that Bhutan grabbed the opportunity whilst Nepal dilly dallied.

I shall not dispute such thoughts but I shall simply write what my personal thoughts are. Mind you, I was never a senior officer in the Bhutanese Government and I have no close contacts with the past or present democratic Governments of Bhutan. And I do not have concrete idea of Nepal politics of past or present. I have one good quality that is managerial quality and keen perspectives of events. I observe with due diligence.  I read a lot and do not base my thoughts on personal prejudice. And often my observations have proved to be right lucky.

After Chukha Hydro project, Tala hydro project was taken up. India badly wanted to do this project. In fact at one time it was referred to as Chukha Hydro Project II.  His Majesty the 4th King tied the Tala Project with the Dungsum Cement Project. The two projects were signed at New Delhi the same time and I recall late Lyonpo Dawa Tsering the Foreign Minister of Bhutan calling the two Agreements " historic ". India was not at all in favour of taking up the Dungsum Cement Project. And the delaying tactics that followed is also historic.

As years followed possibly the performance of Chukha Hydro Project convinced His Majesty the potentialities of the Bhutanese fast flowing rivers. The King called  the river sources white gold a kind of comparative term to black gold of   OPEC  that brought about economic magic for petroleum nations.

Did Bhutan outsmart Nepal in drawing Indian hydro investments to Bhutan from its intended destination in Nepal ? In my opinion the answer is no, not at all. And here are my reasons. If I had tonnes of money and I had the opportunity to invest in two similar locations which one should I choose ?  Would it be at the location where I had 100% control or 75% control ? Hydro Project is a long term investment. The gestation period is comparatively long but production is quite constant and raw material which is water is near infinite under a well protected natural environment. The key crucial factor is the security of the hydro plants and delivery system of transmission lines and my capacity to have de facto control of all these equations. Therefore,  if I were India and the choice of location Nepal and Bhutan  for investment, where would India invest ?
Why do you think India is against the Amochu Hydro Project under Samtse Dzongkhag? Is it too near to China ?

Bhutan is a natural strategic choice of India not Nepal for hydro project investment by India. This is not to say that India does not have investment interests including that of hrdro projects in Nepal. However,  I do not believe Bhutanese leaders had to try to take away hydro investments of India from Nepal. India has a heavier presence in Bhutan than in Nepal though Nepal is a far larger Country. Bhutan is simply ideal for India to construct its power supply plants.

Politically there will be Bhutanese and Nepalese who do not like each other and do not support each other. Some may even try to sabotage. However, geo-politically it would be self defeating for both Nepal and Bhutan to wish that the other either fell under India or China. Independent  Sovereignty of two Countries actually strengthens each other. In fact if Tibet and Sikkim were still independent States, Nepal and Bhutan would be in more comfortable position.

So there is not much national reasons for Bhutan to rejoice at present predicament of Nepal. Its not choosing Nepal over India or testing what China would do. By the way, China is no more what it was 25 years ago. It has surged far ahead and if any Bhutanese political faction thinks China will desert Nepal, such thoughts would be sand blinding. I hope it is not a reflection of Indian view. That would be a repeat of 1962 miscalculation of otherwise astute statesman Nehru. I personally pray for amicable solution to the ongoing India Nepal tussle. It will be good for Nepal, India and even Bhutan for India Nepal to co-exist in peace and harmony.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mix not Bhutanese internal political party politics with Nepal India situation.

Whatever is happening between India Nepal presently need not be judged or looked upon by Bhutanese as for or against the policies of Bhutanese two democratic governments with both India and China.

Would China help Nepal to meet fuel and other shortages? The proof of pudding is in the eating and actual truth has to come out soon. It cannot be a long wait if the blockade from India is not lifted soon say within the 1st week of October because interim arrangements by Nepal could be hard pressed to solve shortages by then.

Powers that be at the United Nations at New York the last several final days of September,2015.

At other times you have the media especially western media saying and writing all sort of things. They accuse Russia of aggression in Ukraine and standing against west in Syria and demand united action against Russia. And American media made so much accusations against China about unfair currency devaluation and cyber attacks.

Well this time President Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping  of China came to America, looked into the eyes of the western leaders, faced the western media and declared their intentions at the United Nations General Assembly. And all became tame at the western front. What happened?

President Xi Jinping came to America before the Russian President and he began  the Chinese campaign from the city of Seattle. A politician with an intellectual capacity or the other way round , an intellectual with a political ambition,  must go through the address Xi Jinping made to the Seattle Gathering. Every phrase and sentence of facts, jest, economy and history cut like diamond sharp across the western glass dome. There was no pretence, no threat, no hesitant lingering and it was not a test drive speech. It was of China and her leaders in full awareness of world politics, world economy and world psychology. It was China ready to be friend at the highest and broadest level and if driven to, defiantly ready to meet any challenges put forth by adversaries. In a nut shell it was ' Firmness ' devoid of any nonsense and political frills.  He told his audience that he spent 7 years in the remoteness of China dwelling in caves and sleeping on mud beds where along with poor villagers they yearned for a meat diet that could never be secured. He quoted the best and most famous writers of the west and American great Presidents and spiced them with references to popular American films. Then he described the China of his Presidency time, the real China now which is a dream so far to dream during his young days as a communist worker in the villages. I wish I could have been there to see the stunned/ mesmerised looks on the faces of supposed to be know all and experienced all intellectuals powers of America.

I think the message got through to all of America including the President of America. A day later the official welcome ceremony at the White House was grand. Even the Pope of Rome had to await in the UN Building at New York for the televised ceremony at Washington to conclude before he could deliver his speech at the General Assembly.

And later the joint Presidential Press Meet was respectful and final statement was that America and China needed each other.  There was Presidential truce in cyber war and not a word on currency devaluation. .

President Putin addressed the United Nations General Assembly after Obama. It seems what President of United States said made no difference to Putin. He told the Assembly that Russia backs Assad in Syria and Russia will strike ISIS from air if the United Nations sanctions. In other words Russia will not hesitate to counter America in Syria and she will abide by UN decision not United States in dealing with ISIS threat. The western European Allies of America was divided. France blindly following America and Britain softly selling the Russia Iran plan on Syria.

America may be the only super power but the recent demonstration of political strength was that China and Russia too are ace players whose policies and declarations are or will be backed by deeds.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama was in America for medical treatment and the vusit strategically timed with the gathering of world Leaders in New York. But It seemed that  the normally defiant United States decided not to make bone fire in the presence of the real fire Dragon. So His Holiness cancelled all official engagements on the doctor's advice. At least that's what my take is from the announcement. I pray that he is not really that sick.

Prime Minister Modi visit to America was fully covered by Indian media. I suppose his demand for a UN Security Council permanent seat will remain simply a call. Bhutan supported the call but who else ? Certainly not the five permanent members though one or two among them may pay lip service.

And at the Peace Conference the true symbol of Peace was the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan waving at each other. Pity they did not have the courage to shake hands and exchange pleasantries such as " How is your mother " if they could not talk politics. Really what's wrong with these supposed to be products of ancient cultures of grace ? The irony is that the Government of India denied even the small gesture of acknowledging  each others presence by the two leaders. So it was personal right hands wave not official left hands wave.

And finally let me come to the Prime Minister of Bhutan. I appreciate the fact that the delegations of Nepal and Bhutan had a real Meeting. That was a good gesture on the part of Prime Minister of Bhutan. The Indian Press also appreciated the support and the congratulatory greeting the Bhutanese Prime Minister made to their Prime Minister. All in all it was a good successful trip to the United Nation General Assembly and His Excellency Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay made a sensible and appropriate speech to the world leaders. Congratulations ! Your Excellency.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nepal and her people sacrifices a great deal for national dignity.

Monday 28th Sept, 2015, Kuensel issue had regional news on refuelling difficulties for air planes flying in and out of Kathmandu, Nepal.   Due to aviation fuel supply cuts from India, Nepal is putting in place measures to curtail fuel consumption without reducing flights. At the same time the leaders seem to be working out arrangements to import fuel from China.

This time around, like Bhutan, it is a busy tourist season and also festival time in Nepal. So not just tourists but many Nepalese working away will be flying in to join their home families. Pressure on aviation fuel and other products usually imported from India will be huge. Tourism is the backbone of Nepalese economy.

Flying in fuel from China would be very expensive. For the immediate need,  it is possible China may provide subsidy to reduce cost but in the long term. its going to be a high political price. But Nepal does not have a better alternative.

Nepal and Bhutan economies are very dependent on India because of geographical advantages. Imports from India and through India are far cheaper and faster. But when it comes to national sovereignty and national Constitution structure, what compromises could Nepal once known as Gurkha Kingdom make for India?

Actually it would be more economic for Nepal to import fuel from Bangladesh than China because shipping port of Bangladesh is much nearer so air freight distance is much  shorter. But flights from Bangladesh have to use Indian sky and maybe that's not permitted ( unless being members of WTO guarantees such trade air routes). So  import has to be from and through China. As expensive as it is, Nepal can import by air because it has adequate airport facility to receive large planes.

But economy is not the only national concern for Nepalese leaders. There could be ethnic related disturbances that can be instigated to escalate. Bhutan had similar experiences. 

What is happening with India and Nepal equation now is bleak news for the Himalayan region and possibly for whole of South Asia. It is bound to have repercussions on Bhutan, too. And as I had said earlier in my recent article " Border sealing and fuel supply blockade ".  this present India and Nepal tussle could very well reshape the Himalayan political equation drastically. And small land locked two countries would suffer. SAARC could disintegrate though this regional body could never make much positive impact till now. So it will not be missed so much. The regional body has no clout no voice without Indian approval.

I just hope that upon return of Mr. Modi to India from his visit to America, he will take the time to review the external policies of India. Surely if he wills it, his political experts can find a palatable solution. A win for Indian diplomacy without tampering with basic foundation of the dignity of the Nepalese people. I look forward to good and accommodative
leadership demonstration from the Indian Prime Minister.

Monday, September 28, 2015

No apology and no regret and now regards also nil.

Since my article of 26th Sept. in my blog titled: "  Why bother about corruption when politics of the day backs it to the hilt " there have been three abusive tweets: 2 from agayangay and 1 from pema Lhendup and all 3 abuses instantly supported by khendumdorji. Seems khendumdorji and associates are offended. Baffling !  Sure readers have every right to disagree and express their stand on the same subject. But why the collusion to make derisive personal attacks ?

Let me just say I had nothing but respects for khendumdorji not just as being daughter of late honourable Dasho Lhendup Dorji but she is a very capable person in her own rights. She would have done well in life even if she was not born to a noble family. She has got the beauty, the push and the talent.

The last I met her in person was at Haa Lhakhang Karpo where she had brought the 49th Day death ritual of her revered father. Its quite many years past. The Dorji family is well revered in Haa and as a true and pure bred Haap, I simply went to pay my respects to late Dasho. No conditions no expectations just a homage to a personality I personally admired.

I am little older than Khendumdorji. I suppose that she would not dispute because ladies must always feel younger. She may dispute that I have a broader national political perspective but I think I do. Whatever our age or perspectives are, I have never referred to her until today as Khendumdorji. The age old protocol " Ashi " was never forgotten. People of Haa do have a lot of respects and regards for our Dorji Families, hers being the first and later that of honourable Yab Ugyen Dorji. Only the most revered Wangchuck Family commands more Respects and Loyalty in the Valley of Haa otherwise the second family name on the lips of Haaps would be the Dorji Families.

Whilst I shall not fail in my respects for the Dorji Families from henceforth I free myself from any age bond sentiment as far as khendum dorji as an individual. I have no apology to offer no regret to express and now no regards to hold. Strangers that we are now so free of sentiments and restraints.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thank God the nation has another Airline.

Thank you BBS for informing all that the patient dumped by Druk Air was able to get to Bangkok on a chartered flight of Bhutan Airlines ( Tashi Air ). It is at times and situation like this that one realises and appreciates why monopoly is bad for  fair business and equity.

Without the Bhutan Airlines of Tashi the patient could not have made it today to Bangkok. Druk Air was not even willing to discuss the case until Monday ( when BBS contacted Druk Air, the response was wait till Monday. Only intense pressure from social media compelled Druk Air to issue their statement this evening ).

Adopting positive attitude a must for cleansing national conscience.

Recently some shocking incidents have taken place. Not at all good for the victims, the organisations involved and for the national conscience. These could be ominous signs of difficult days for the nation. .We need to ward off such undesirable events by being gracious and praying for guidance.

I now plead with Druk Air Management to  please do not further shame all by bringing up excuses of safety, security and whatever else. Simply be,  belatedly gracious and smooth over grievances and kindly provide free passage to the sinus patient and his escort to Bangkok. Embarrassing mistakes happen. Let's just attempt to correct not justify.

Druk Air thank you in advance for hopefully adopting a good attitude. I have always held Druk Air in high esteem for flying high the national flag. A national Airline is a necessary symbol of national sovereignty. Please love Bhutan, the Bhutanese and all your passengers. Good Luck !

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why bother about corruption when politics of the day backs it to the hilt?

Bail for Bhutanese:  The best and the only just way under the present politically biased prosecution system.

Relieved that 7 immigration officers got bail. I hope any and all immigration, revenue and custom officials  charged or convicted for corruption are freed on bail or upon  cash payment in lieu of prison terms by the Royal Courts of Justice.

It is just unfair to apply the Law of the Land only against Bhutanese wrong doers. Those main culprits from across the border are allowed scot free. They are not even required to post cash to get bail. Just a make believe notional sum of from nowhere and no nothing. Whoever thought that it would be possible to tell the Court or satisfy the Prosecuting Agency to collect the cash bond for bail from construed would be debtors at large?

ACC new Commissioners need not feel guilty and resign because firstly Bhutanese need  jobs and secondly any vacant constitutional posts will be filled for name and appearance sake. But forget tackling corruption. The path is politically blocked.

Now it is possible for ACC people to keep their salaries and take the time off. If you are prevented from booking the main culprits why bother to fry the small timers who are errand runners of the Mafia. The political apparatus is diluting further the already weak judiciary system. And there is not much few good and honourable  Drangpons can dare to do to uphold justice when even a Constitutional Body is told to slumber in no uncertain terms.

Several years back , a young Bhutanese monk was jailed for possessing a small amount of chewing tobacco valued at Nu: 99 or was it Nu: 120. And later several Indians were caught in Bhutan with much larger illegal cache of assorted tobacco products. They were let off with a fine. The same disparity in law applications is happening theses days in Phuentsholing. It is a hopeless and shameful trait that the nation is adopting.

The fact of the day is that Bhutanese cannot expect equal treatment  with other nationals even in  Bhutan under Bhutanese Laws. Thus whilst major Kingpins of corrupt trade are let loose scot free by Bhutanese law Agencies and Judiciary, the Bhutanese errand runners get fried. 

Therefore to bring about a sense of social fairness, let us make a call to stop criminal prosecution of only Bhutanese citizens. The nation is not prepared to apply the laws of the land equally upon all corrupt persons and entities. So why just penalise certain category of Bhutanese who are at the bottom rug of corruption. 

Border Sealing Politics and Fuel delivery Blockade.

It seems India will continue to plague Nepal with such bully tactics until the planned railway line and new highway from China Tibet materialises for Nepal. Land locked Nepal has no alternate option but to turn to China though India is the most convenient and generous trading partner in the region.

Geographically, culturally and socially, India and Indians are far akin to Nepal and Bhutan and their people than any other Nations in the world. But Indian political pundits and leaders somehow do not believe in fair exercise of friendship. They opt for subjugation policy at every turn of event.   This aggressive policy of India will definitely upset the Himalayan political cart and will deeply hurt the economies of the two small Himalayan Nations jammed between India and China. And it would not do much good to India in the long run.

India signs a 20 years supply deal with Nepal which denies Nepal from procuring petroleum  products from a third source for 20 years. And then refuses to allow fuel tankers from crossing into Nepal from India. The reason is India does not like the recently adopted Constitution of Nepal.

It took Nepal more than 7 years to finally draft and adopt a Constitution that is acceptable to majority of the Political Parties in Nepal. Should not a giant supposed to be a friendly neighbour India  at least give Nepal a breathing space before ramming its own dictum. Constitutions are not like say the Ten Commandments of the Christian God.  Changes will gradually take shape within Nepal and from within Nepal. The fact that more than 50% of the population in Nepal is Hindus should in itself make India feel comfortable. Why the haste and subjugation at every distress window of opportunity?

Bhutan, too, was subjected to similar Indian political wrath during the 2013 General Election in Bhutan. And Bhutanese political leadership whimpered into submission instantly. Nepalese Political Parties have taken a united national stand and has sent their Emissary to talk to Modi Government in India.

The saving grace for Nepal is that the Nepalese Military is quite independent from its fragile political masters. Its of course no match against Indian military might but it can play a pivotal influence in peacetime Nepal. And that's more than adequate because India cannot declare war or militarily invade Nepal without provoking active Chinese response. It was the Nepalese Army that stepped in to protect the sovereignty of Nepal when some outside forces were preparing to take undue advantages during this year's April earthquake situation in Nepal.

This time the fuel crunch inflicted by India is a severe test once again for Nepal.  Rajiv Gandhi did that to the King of Nepal many years back. And what did Rajiv Gandhi achieve for India when you look back in retrospection. A Hindu Monarch was ultimately dethroned and a Hindu Kingdom has become a Secular Nation today. Rajiv Gandhi's personal ego politics with the King of Nepal is as bad and unfruitful for India  as BJP Government of India attempting to force only pro Hindu population Constitution in Nepal today.

I wish India took its leadership of SAARC more seriously on a broader concept of reliable and trust worthy giant who can be relied upon by smaller neighbours in their time of distress.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Neykor ( Pilgrimage ) casualties.

So many died in Mecca the holy shrine centred on the Black Stone. What could have caused the human throng to panic and stampede? Do those who die at a holy site or on the journey of pilgrimage go to heaven ? I just wonder !  No matter where a person dies the bereaved family would always mourn the loss and yet I hope for those killed in the stampede found their seats in holy abode. Rest in Peace in the presence of Allah.

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.