Friday, August 7, 2009


Ignorance of Law vs. Ignoring the Law

In response to the letter of Drangpon Sangay Khandu of Bumthang dated 19th July in Bhutan Times.
First and foremost I would like to thank him for making the public aware of certain laws but I would also like to take this opportunity to draw his attention to certain events that unfolded during the past few months.
1. Not one but two cases of false imprisonment were uncovered by the news papers. Though the victims were compensated, the judiciary as far as I am aware did not play any meaningful role.
2. The Chief of Police ordered a board of enquiry, whereby accused officers were found not to be guilty of torture. This enquiry was illegal according to section 365. “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of unauthorized hearing, if the defendant is not lawfully authorized to hear a case but hears a case and orders a sentence and/ or an award of damages or fine or other punishment”. Since this was a case of unlawful detainment and the officers were accused of torturing the victim the case automatically becomes a criminal case, whereby only the courts are authorized to pass judgment on such matters. The Judiciary kept silent.
3. Even though these cases directly involved the Fundamental Rights of an individual, the guardians of the Constitution chose to close its eyes.
4. In accordance to section 430. “The defendant shall be guilty of the offence of failure to report a crime, if the defendant, who witnesses any person committing a crime, does not report it to the lawful authority”. Though reported, the judiciary chose to cover it ears.
5. In accordance to section 434. “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of abandonment of a person in danger, if the defendant fails to render assistant to a person, who found wounded or in danger of dying and the assistance could be rendered without risk of bodily injury to the defendant”. As the Constitution is the living soul and mother of all laws. The Judiciary failed to render assistance even though it is it’s first and foremost responsibility.
6. Though it was said that the judiciary will act strongly as no person is above the law, the person must first file such case. Who actually has the courage to file such a case but once it is public knowledge it is the responsibility of the State, especially if it is criminal act to press charges. Not one judge or Dasho made a sound, the silence was deafening.

Therefore, I would like to appeal to our Dashos in uniform and in Kabney/patang that the outfit you are wearing is not only a batch of distinction and achievement but more importantly it is also a reminder of your obligation and the burden of responsibility you must shoulder.
Let me also remind you that not only did you take an oath to serve the Tsa Wa Sum but you are also handsomely paid to carry out your duties.
Last but not the least, if Dasho Drangpon get another shiver in his spine, let it be in anger that members within the system willfully ignore the law instead of getting worked up with two ignorant ladies wanting a piece of land to call their own.
Finally, Dasho should not have cast a shadow on the sacred covenant between the people and our Dharma King, for He is our last refuge our final judge and benefactor.
Palden Drukpa Gyelo. Jigme Tshultim.Jr

Posted here as Bhutan Times copped-out.

Ps: YourLustForLifeStartsRightNow!

Educated Apathy

It was a lazy afternoon. The day was holy. It was the great Shabbdrung's death anniversary (The Founder of the Modern State of Bhutan). Everywhere I looked, I saw school children and farmers, working people and tourists, walk about in different directions. The only thing binding them together was the day’s chosen monasteries. It is good to see the Dharma alive and kicking, or so I thought.

I stopped by at a tavern, my own way of paying respects to the day’s auspiciousness. I just wanted to sit, perhaps a red bull to re-energize my slacking energies. There were two divans facing each other. I sat on one and let the moment unravel itself. The revelation came in the form of an informed man. Not informed in the sense of 24/7 news-bars and hourly updates, but informed in the sense of who he was, as a 60 plus skeptical citizen who spoke with humour, intelligence and a nuanced understanding of what it means to have 'understanding'.

He spoke without invitation, he didn't need any. He had vital announcements to make. He embarked on the talkathon with a tirade against the ignorance of the educated lot. He was succinct in his arguments, laying a trap here, magnifying an example there. He did seem to have a big bone to chew upon when it came to appointments of “empowered people” who did not possess the faintest idea of how rural farmers function. “How can you have a judge when the judge cannot judge when or how a harvest is made?” he fired. “How can he be expected to pass on a sound judgment when the people he deals with are farmers whose yearly harvests are ransomed for want of knowledge, summoned to the courts and commanded to be reprimanded when those farmers don’t show up?”

He cited his own son’s ignorance of the fields. His son, by the way, was a police officer. His argument was that officials minus the knowledge of the fields could not possibly do justice to people who live off the lands and are summoned to court for petty cases at their own egoistic whims.

He said he asked his son if he knew how many times a year a harvest was made. The son had blinkers on! He recited an account of another well-educated person who did not know what the coarse grains contained!

The essence of our diet, he roared in stupefaction, rice!

And then he concluded by saying, “how can people, supposedly in positions of power and in-service of the common citizenry, grant Kidus (Charity) when they are so out of touch with reality?”

By then I had had enough red-bulls. Recharged, I took leave of the crowding tavern and took another course. My walkabouts landed me up in a farm-house. The Aum (Lady of the House) had just been back from a day long trek to a monastery up on a steep hill. She had gone to pay homage to the Shabdrung’s special statue. She spoke with faith and satisfaction, describing the beautiful statue. Then she spoke full of remorse and regret. She mentioned the neglected temples along the trail.

Their sacred walls crumbing with negligence, the statues lying on the ground, decapitated and desecrated, grounded on the floor, dirty and dusted. She spoke of stupas along the way, vandalized and looted.

These images she contrasted with the beautiful houses in the valley. Where houses compete for sheer size, flowers crowding the balconies and cars filling in the garages.

Then she said, without regret or remorse, “people forget the true meaning of life, their priorities are wrong. Their perception and pursuance of happiness is momentary.”

Both were illiterate. One is a farmer turned driver turned workshop owner. He is in his early sixties. He has an epic or two to narrate about the pitfalls of our country. The other is a farmer and a housewife. She is not a history encyclopedia; she is though a devout Buddhist who sees spiritualism starving and materialism fattening.
When I left them, I felt illiterate.

We may have acquired knowledge, but that just melts away when raw wisdom comes its way. A thousand sharp sickles in the fields and a thousand blunt spades in the hills are apparently not as backward as punching 107 rubber-ed and numbered keys!
A thousand shovels will bury our collective modernized notions in one dug-out-fell swoop.
What they wanted to know was this;
why do people of power forget the bare naked truths and essentials?

On the death anniversary of the great Shabdrung “under whom we submit ourselves,” there were two that asked in the simplest terms, “Why can’t influentials try understanding themselves before they try bullying and bulldozing the world into submission?”

Feeling humbled and chastised, I vowed to get their message across. In the end, it seems, the educated lot is neither too smart nor too worldly-wise.
Perhaps a willing ear or two will erase our own educated ignorance.

For starters, on the pros and cons of rice cultivation and harvests, I recommend the lush paddy fields of Paro valley.

Ps: YourLustForLifeStartsRightNow!