Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Parents, relatives and friends of deceased,

Please accept my sincere condolences. On behalf of the entire ex-students of Drukgyel Higher Secondary School, Paro, please accept our deepest sympathy.
Though I do not know your child, but being an ex-student of the same school, I am deeply grieved to hear the news of your beloved child’s accident last evening and I am still recovering from the shock of it.
I can only imagine what a shock it must be to you and your family and relatives. Would you please pass on my sincere condolences to all of your family members and let them know that we share your sorrow and that we pray for their souls to rest in peace.

Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with you.
With our deepest sympathy,

Kuenga Dendup
Teacher
Damphu LSS,
Tsirang.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Wedding Day

On the auspicious and joyous occasion of Royal Wedding I would like to join the nation in celebrating this historic event and offer my humble prayers for good health, happiness and long reign of Our Beloved Druk Gyalpo. May all Bhutanese enjoy the unlimited peace and prosperity under the dynamic and benevolent leadership of our beloved king. Tashi Delek to our Royal Couple.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bhutan: Ancient kingdom, youngest king

Jaideep Mukerji with Veeresh Malik
 
Jaideep Mukerji steps back in time as he travels through South Asia’s tiny kingdom, untouched by the ravages of civilisation

Bhutan–India’s neighbouring country, is the only country in the world where there are no traffic lights, few traffic crossings and where police boxes are decorated with dragons. It is also the least urbanised country in South Asia with only a few motor vehicles, no high-rise buildings and no symbols of Western modernity. When you travel to Bhutan, you certainly get the feeling that you have stepped back in time. An air of mysticism surrounds Bhutan’s attractions, from centuries-old dzongs (fortresses) unique to the area, to medieval monasteries. Bhutan is a landlocked country approximately 300km long and only 150km wide, situated along the southern slopes of the Himalayan range. The country remains cautious in its contact with the outside world and the flow of tourists into the country is tightly regulated while the government makes great efforts to preserve and strengthen the country’s religious and cultural traditions.


Although archaeological exploration has been limited, evidence of civilization in the region dates back to at least 2000 BC. The original Bhutanese, known as the Monpa, are believed to have migrated from Tibet. The traditional name of the country since the 17th century has been ‘Druk Yul’, Land of the Drukpa or the Dragon People, which is officially portrayed on the country’s flag.

For centuries, Bhutan was made up of feuding tribal regions until it was unified under King Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907. The British exerted some control over Bhutan until India’s independence. Up to the 1960s, Bhutan chose to remain largely isolated from the rest of the world. Its people carried on with a traditional way of life, farming and trading, preserving a culture which had remained intact for centuries. After China invaded Tibet in 1958, Bhutan strengthened its ties with India in an effort to avoid Tibet’s fate. New roads and other connections to India were built and, in the 1960s, Bhutan undertook social modernisation, abolishing the caste system, emancipating women and enacting land reforms.


In 2005, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk, Bhutan’s fourth hereditary ruler, outlined plans for the country to shift to a two-party democracy. In December 2006, he abdicated in favour of his son, the Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk who became the fifth Druk Gyalpo (monarch) of Bhutan and head of the Wangchuck dynasty. Jigme Khesar Wangchuck was crowned king in November 2008 and at the age of 30, he is the world’s youngest monarch.
I took the Bhutanese airlines, Druk Air, Airbus 319 flight from Delhi via Kathmandu to Paro in western Bhutan, set in what is considered the most beautiful of the country’s main valleys at an elevation of about 7,500ft. The dominant feature of Paro is undoubtedly the Paro Dzong (fortress/monastery) set high above the Paro Chu River with spectacular views up and down the Paro Valley. Paro Dzong is a typical dzong, and its form is copied by other buildings across Bhutan. It was originally built in 1646, but has been destroyed a number of times, sometimes by fire, other times by earthquakes. Today, it houses the National Museum of Bhutan which displays intricately painted thangkas (hand-painted wall hangings), traditional costumes, stamps (even talking stamps) and objects from archaeological excavations.


Located further up the valley is the well-known Takstang or ‘Tiger’s Nest’ monastery which was completely destroyed by fire in 1998 and has, since, been rebuilt. On the cloudy afternoon of my visit,

I chose not to go for the two-hour hike to the monastery itself but, instead, drove to a viewing point in the valley from where one can see Takstang in the distance through the mist high up on the cliff opposite.

The following morning, I headed east along a scenic mountain road to Thimphu, the country’s tiny capital located at 7,600ft in a broad green valley surrounded by terraced rice fields. The town of about 40,000 people built along traditional lines is the administrative centre of Bhutan since the 1950s. The main street of Thimphu, Norzim Lam, is lined with shops of all descriptions, mainly stocking goods imported from India and China.

The main places of interest in Thimphu can easily be seen in a couple of days starting with a visit to the ‘viewpoint’ (if it’s clear), followed by the zoo, the Memorial Chorten, the National Institute for Traditional Arts and Crafts, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, the Folk Heritage Museum, the Post Office (Bhutanese stamps are famous), and the National Library which houses the world’s largest book.


The impressive Tashicho Dzong located beside the river in Thimphu is the seat of the Bhutanese government. The present modern building is a rebuilt version of a dzong that was here since 1641 and it retains many of the features of the original dzong. It now houses all the government ministries, the throne room of the King, the National Assembly chambers as well as the nation’s largest monastery with over 2,000 monks in residence. The Bhutanese are passionate about chilli, almost every village roof is a deep red colour—covered by a layer of chillies laid out to dry. The national dish, ‘ema datshi’ is vegetarian, made from yak cheese and chilli. No trip to the Dragon Kingdom is complete without sampling this tasty, but hot, offering.

Departing from Thimphu, I drove through forests of pine and cedar to the 10,300ft high Dochu La pass with panoramic views north to the snow-covered peaks of the high Himalayas. A long descent finally brought us to Punakha located at a relatively low altitude of 4,265ft in a dry valley. Punakha produces most of the oranges and fruits grown commercially in Bhutan and, despite the warmer climate and the possibility of growing an endless variety of produce, the population of the valley remains remarkably low.

Until recently, Punakha was the winter capital of Bhutan and it is still the winter headquarters of the National Monk of Bhutan (Je Khempo) and his followers who move here every winter. The Punakha Dzong was built strategically at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu (the Sun and Moon) Rivers in 1637 to serve as the religious and administrative centre of this region. The dzong was damaged by four major fires and an earthquake—though fully restored, it remains frequently closed for visitors. I had timed my Bhutan visit to coincide with one of the ‘tsechus’ or monastery festivals where masked dances depicting the events from the life of Padmasambhava, the eighth century Buddhist teacher, are staged. The tsechu provides the local people with an occasion to gather, dress up, and enjoy in a festive atmosphere. Family members travel great distances from villages by foot over passes and along mountain trails to be reunited. It is also an occasion for people to receive blessings from a lama or Buddhist monk and watch sacred dances performed by trained monks wearing ornate costumes and impressive masks.

Every year, tsechu dates are chosen by the National Monk Body of Bhutan based on the lunar calendar and Buddhist astrological charts. Paro has one of the grandest tsechus in Bhutan during April; colourful ones are also held in Thimphu, Trongsa and Jakar. Driving over a series of passes over the Black Mountains,

I reached the small town of Trongsa and then drove further east to the Bumthang Valley deep in the heart of Bhutan. The journey to this less-visited part of Bhutan gives one an insight into a medieval way of life that has changed little over the centuries. Development has brought education, healthcare and electricity, but the local small farm-based economy, that has kept the locals self-sufficient over centuries, remains largely unchanged.

Reaching Jakar town, I spent two days soaking in the sights, sounds and colours of one of the largest tsechus held in Bhutan. With blowing of horns and beating of drums, monks wearing black hats entered the courtyard followed by a dazzling display of swirling brocade dresses, masks and colourful banners. During intervals, clowns (atsaras) added some lightness to the serious religious atmosphere with their crazy antics. Getting to the end of my stay, I travelled by road through the southern Himalayas, descending gradually to the border town of Phuntsholing busy with equal numbers of Bhutanese and Indians. From Phuntsholing, a five-hour drive takes you to the Indian airport of Bagdogra with flight connections to all parts of India.

When To Go:
Although the country is quite small, Bhutanese weather varies from location to location depending upon the elevation. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Bhutan. Punakha is an exception as it is in a lower valley and is pleasant even during winter. In winter, you can enjoy better views of snow-capped mountains and clear blue skies.

Where To Stay:
Travel arrangements within Bhutan have to be made through a Bhutanese tour operator who arranges accommodation, transport, guides and complete travel support. A list of operators, travel itineraries and information is available on www.abto.org.bt and also on www.tourism.gov.bt

Visas:
Indian nationals travelling from India to Bhutan do not need a Bhutan visa. A current Indian passport or an election ID card is required at immigration to obtain an entry-permit. You need to take with you two passport-size photographs.

Getting There:
By air with Druk Air from Delhi and Kolkata to Paro in western Bhutan. By road from Bagdogra airport to Phuntsholing (5-6 hours) and then onwards to Paro or Thimphu.

Currency:
The Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum (Nu) and is equal to the Indian rupee. Credit cards (American Express and Visa) are accepted by only a few establishments. The Indian rupee is accepted all over Bhutan.

Courtesy: Money Life
Source: http://www.moneylife.in/article/bhutan-ancient-kingdom-youngest-king/17003.html

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Over view of the Second day INSET Programme


Two modules were covered today. They are Fundamentals of Teaching English to Young Learners and Classroom Management in Positive Approaches.  Under Fundamentals of Teaching English to Young Learners, we discussed developing contextual understanding, fundamentals of framework of our language programme, Reading, questioning for comprehension, the anatomy of a storyboard for young learners, improving comprehension for special students, a lighthearted reminder for spelling and spellings and vocabulary teaching.
Under Classroom Management, we discussed how to handle the low level disruptive behaviour students, and framing classroom rules and constructive consequences.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

INSET Programme for Teachers, Just a Beginning!

INSET Programme for teachers started in Tsirang from 28th May, 2011. The opening ceremony was done in DYT hall of Tsirang Dzongkhag. It was graced by Dasho Dzongdag of Tsirang Dzongkhag. He addressed the gathering that teachers are the main instruments to mould the future citizens of the country. He expressed his concerns for the children’s’ learning with the changing time.
The real session started after serving refreshment in Damphu LSS. The main objective of conducting this teacher inset programme is to provide the teachers with the skills on how to meet today’s classroom challenges with integrated solutions. According to the facilitators, there are eight modules. We were familiarized and finished discussion on two modules, who am I? , and Differentiated Instruction.
We learned that as a teacher, what are the qualities one need to possess. We also learned some of the key characteristics of a good teacher and bad teacher. We learned nine multiple intelligences and four learning styles which can be used for assessing children’s learning. Never the less we also came to know the different strategies and the ways that teachers can use to differentiate children’s learning ability.
Around 65 teachers from different schools in Dzongkhag are attending the training. This is the first batch attending the programme which is going to last for four days.
This is just the brief over view of the first day Inset programme. There are more to come and have many expectations from remaining three days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Once Bamboo Thatched Roofed

Wamling is a small village located in Shingkhar Gewog, which is officially 7 days walk from Zhemgang Dzong in the past. Thanks for the modern developments and infrastructures. Now it takes only one to two days to reach to the village because of access to road. Wamling is a secluded place but full of paddy field starting from top to bottom of the village (Sengling thang to Zengling/Namling).
Shingkhar Gewog comprises five Chewogs, namely Shingkhar, Wamling, Thrisa on one side of Chamkhar Chhu and, Radhi and Nimzhong on the other side. There is a Primary School in Gewog centre which is supposed to be the oldest school in the Gewog. It must have been built around 1977 when late Dorjila was a Chimi of the Gewog. At present the other two Chewogs (Thrisa and Nimzhung) are access to a Community School each. This in fact has eased the admission pressure and minimized the distance the children had to travel till the Gewog centre.
An eye view of Wamling in winter from Upper village
Source: Lekey Dorji





As mentioned earlier, Wamling has good amount of land which can be used for cultivating paddy. This place has been blessed by His Eminence the sixth and seventh Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpochhe and has his monastery established in Wamling. Kheng Tshokeyling Monastery has been established in 2000 with 30 monks in Phu. 
Tshokeyling Monastery in Wamling


People live happily and self-sufficient with what they harvest from their land. The climate favours the people in the village to grow different types of crops (Dru Na Gu) the nine varieties of crops. Chilies, potatoes, garlic, spinach and ginger grow well in little higher altitude like Phu, Sengling thang, Mer ko be and Grok to la in the early season of the year than places in lower altitude. 
People from other Chewogs would come to trade/ buy paddy or rice from people of Wamling. People from lower Kheng (Maath) would also come with their bamboo products like banchung, beolo, palang, bamboo mat, etc. to trade for grains particularly for paddy/rice. People from Bumthang would also come to the village to trade their dairy products for rice and other grains. In fact it is a trade centre in the Gewog.

Wamling in Summer
Source: Lekey Dorj
Chou Chan and Kharang are no more taken by people since the last decade. The flour from maize is being used for feeding animals and brewing Bangchang and Churma (Ara). The living standards of people have changed dramatically. It is evident from the type of house people live in today. Almost every family lives in two storey houses which are roofed with CGI sheets. In the past the roofs of their houses were the thatched bamboo mat (Balep) where they had to spend a day to get one or two sheets of bamboo mat. Collecting bamboo for roofs used to be a crucial activity in winter and every household would be seriously engaged with this business. Some people who were affordable would go for wooden shingles (Pang kang) which demands lot of man power in the process. Most of the people go for bamboo mat which not only serves the roof for his home but for a shelter protecting their crops, firewood and for the animals.
There are two sources where people were bound to get bamboo for their houses. They are Shingkahrpai Ri (am mountain/land belonging to Shingkharpa) and Ser gu la (a mountain or a land belonging to Thrisapa). People living in lower altitude (Pampa) would choose any of these sources but no choice for people residing in higher altitude (Gon pa pa) They had to either go to Ser gu la or Ta rey thang, a land which is owned by Wamlingpa. But distance matters a lot. Usually, most of the people choose to go to Ser Gu la side.
The journey has to start with the first or second crow of rooster with a Mepchey (Kaawn in local dialect) in the absence of the Moon light. Before really going to collect the bamboos, they would plan and find who would be going for the collection. It was usually the responsibility of men and boys to collect the bamboos but family who doesn’t have men, the women and girls were taken by their parents with them. Our parents would send us early to bed so as to wake up early with first crow of the rooster. By then, breakfast, delicious lunch would have been ready and particularly, our mother would wake us. Boys loved going for Rui (bamboo) collection because they get delicious food/curry. The nature of the work itself was tiresome and parents feed them with good and delicious meal.
When mother wakes us, we just need to wash our face, have breakfast, take patak (knife), ma ling kai and Phrak zhu (rope), and Gala pa ney (muffler )  and Lag shop (hand gloves) to protect ourselves from extreme cold. With a Kaawn, we would be leaving for Ser gu la, calling and collecting friends from their house. By the time we reach Kringpola/Phu, it would have been dawn. Climbing up the steep slope/hill/mountain would be a challenging task. We need to pass a place call Tang. It is a beautiful place where there are three small lakes (Tsho). Tang is still being used by the people of Wamling as grazing land for their cattle. The next place that we need to pass is the scary and fearsome Wambrak (clif). Then reach to Pong de la. This is a place which divides the distance equally. There we would have little breakfast to reenergize and refill our stomach. Lunch should be kept hiding in the bushes/under dried leaves or under the roots of trees. 
Bamboo forest,
Source: www.planetiskcon.com
When arrived to final destination (Ser gu la) it would have been stroked 9:30-10:00 AM. We would locate the places where we would get plenty of Rui (bamboos) at one go. We would scatter in different directions in order to save our time. The sound of cutting and chopping of Rui (bamboos) could be heard louder as if the armies firing their guns in wars. “Ow, weith Ag pa myang pay” which means how many you fetched so far, would be the frequent questions asked to each other in the bamboo field. Some would say just 15 or 20 or some say Tong Kher tak, Phek sang Chuth ta, etc. which means they are almost done and ready to leave home. We need to hurry but if someone is not ready, we need to help and make sure we all move together.
Thought tiresome, coming down from the mountain would take lesser time to reach home. But when reached to Keer Wang Khag, a place where we need to pull up ward would take almost 30-45 minutes. The place is before we reach to Pong de la for lunch. Our eyes would feel like bulging out from their sockets and our body would tremble out of hunger and thirst because of the tremendous force that we need to apply to pull the bamboos. Some Hitlers as we would describe would reach earlier than others and they would show their humanity to come for Gam Tok. He or she would push from the behind/tail of Rui. Finally we would reach to Pon de la, where we would take our almost frozen lunch. After a short rest we need to resume our journey so that we are not late for the weaving. There would be a kind of competition to see who would reach to a resting place without taking rest in between.
We would compare Rui and pass comments regarding the size and length of the bamboos. If the bamboos are short, elders would nick name Tshan ta la. Tshan ta is a square hand woven bamboo mat meant for drying grains and other things above the oven.  Tang is a departing point for Gon pa pa and Pampa/Krongpa. They would bid farewell to each other and ask if they would go for Rui the next day. 
Weaving bamboo mat,
Source:http://environment.yale.edu




Strong and muscular men (Nyegay) would carry around 75 numbers of Rui out of which three sheets of mat would be woven. Ordinary men would carry 50 numbers of Rui for two sheets of mat and teenagers would carry 25-30 numbers for one sheet of mat. It depends upon the length and size of the bamboo too. Neighbour would come to ask/beg for Pheg sang (bamboo leaves meant for making broom) and young boys and girls would come for Pak Shu ma (a matured bamboo cut either into half or quarter to tie bamboos together). Boys use it for making Pak Shu mai Lee (bow) and Mya (arrows), and Chhe kang (Kongthang) and other weaving/netting materials by the girls.
Now people do not go for all these activities so much as their needs have been fulfilled by CGI sheets. Youths of today in our village are lucky and no worries of getting exhausted in their winter holidays. This is the indicator that GNH is experiencing in our village too.

Royal Wedding, happy news


Finally, with the opening of the 7th session of parliament today, His Majesty the fifth King himself has announced the Royal Wedding which would going to take place somewhere in October this year. 
Source: www.bbs.com.bt

This has been the concern and worries of his people till date but today, as said by His Majesty, people of 20 Dzongkhags are immensely happy and celebrating their happiness and joyousness to the fullest from the hour they got hit by the great news.  Every sorrows or miseries seem to have been erased out of their mind.

Let me pay my humble and heartfelt Trashi Delek to His Majesty and Ashi Jetsun Pema in advance. Trashi Delek La.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Archery an undying game for me


I do not exactly remember when and how I learned to play archery, the national game of Bhutan. But now, I can immensely derive pleasure out of playing this traditional game. Since I was an infant, this game used to be popular in my village and competitions were held among the villagers especially during Losar (Dawa Dhangpa, Dawa Nyepa, Ngyempa Gu zom, Thribap, or on other special occasions). 
Aiming position, making sure to hit the target
 I remember as a little boy, how we used to play   archery in our village. Just like the elders we young boys go crazy after this game.We used to organize competitions among ourselves. In those days hitting the target in every round was not a big problem. With self- made bow and arrows we were equally good in scoring points. 

About to release the arrow
Once it was losar, and the elders were having competition. It was time for their lunch. Three of us who were still too early to participate in their team just went to take the advantage of their absence to see whether we could reach their target range. It was my turn to shoot my first arrow. I released it, of course flying it from the zenith, hit the target.  

After release position

Elders were just laughing. Then I released my second arrow. It went from the same height. Surprisingly, it also landed on the target. Elders started coming to see my arrows landed on the target. They really appreciated my success and capacity. From next losar, I got a license to play in elders’ team. Thanks for that Dobji!

My friends getting ready for the practice, 2011
There was no separate space for the archery. We used to play in the open ground or Aring (paddy field) because the Losars usually fall somewhere in winter. There would be usually two teams for the match, namely Gonpa pa (people residing in higher altitude) and Krongpa/Pampa (People residing in lower altitude) or Gathpo (old men) and Zhun ba (young men).  The prominent spaces where we used to play are Sang Sa be, Phu mi tag pa, Barpa sa, Tek tek lai pang and Gu li pang thang.  Phu mi tag pa is supposed to be the longest target range and Tek tek lai pang as the shortest. People who don’t play would come and witness the game. They cheer up and encourage the team.
An archer with an artificial  foreign bow
The practice of feeding our opponent team member (byjing chay-sow) is still there in our village. One has to feed the opponent team member for a night/day. Next day it will be opponent team member’s turn to feed the other. The host has to provide special food with the drinks if he takes. The losar celebration would last for two to three days where archers and their wife/family would gather in one of the houses to fest themselves. in  the evening of the final day.The event would not be without Ara and banchang. They dance and sing until it is dawn.
Just two years old archer about to release his arrow

Traditionally, women are not allowed to touch an archer's bow and arrows, and it is believed that if an archer sleeps with a woman or a girl a night before the contest, it will have negative effects on its performance the next day. So, the men avoid sleeping with the women if there is any archery match the next day. Some they even go out of their house to spend their night in Lhakhangs and Nyekhangs carrying their bows and arrows. I believe this practice is still being followed by most of the archers in the country. 
Biginner in practice, trying hard to reach the target

Even today, I feel restless when we have planned to have the matches. Sometimes I wish that it would have been nice to have the match on the very day. I cannot wait for the day. I have the habit to open my quiver and examine my arrows twice a day (once in the morning and once before I go to bed) to make sure that they are straight.  I get satisfied even with a Karey in a day/match. I do not mind whether it is a scorching sunny day or rainy day, I am ready to rush to the play ground if someone is ready to accompany me or invite for their team! Though I am not a sharp shooter, I must continue to play until my breath stops. That’s for sure.    

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Global Action Week, 2011

The Global Action Week was observed in Damphu Lower Secondary School too which was initiated by the school UNESCO Club. The theme for the Global Action week for this year was Women and Girls’ Education. It addresses the problems that girls and women face in achieving quality education throughout the world. It also addresses the numerous benefits to the wider community when women are educated and the various mechanisms and solutions that can be used to help empower women and girl learners across the globe. Every one of us agrees that education is important and everyone has right to education.
The UNESCO club of the school has planned a series of activities to observe the week efficiently and productively. Every morning, 1-2 students were given opportunity to talk/speak in the morning assembly. The main stuff of the speakers/presenters was related to the Women and Girls’ Education. They were given either to speak in Dzongkha or English as per their choice and ability. Some of the teachers also took part in sharing their views on current Education of Women and Girls in the country.
Drawing and essay competition among the students were also conducted on the same theme. Many students participated in the competition. Handsome prizes were awarded to the winners.
On the concluding day, the club invited chief guest/guest speaker from the Dzongkhag. The chief guest, Dasho Dzongrab highlighted the importance of Women and Girls in the society and their education. Songs/dances and skit were presented by the UNESCO Club members and other volunteer-students.
The skit starts with the son going to school and meeting the bad company. He is not interested to study and it is time for him to appear his examination. He tells lie to his innocent and illiterate mother. Now it’s the result day and the son feels too confident and tells his friends that he would beg the first position from his class. It becomes just opposite – a last person who fetches 10 out of 100 marks. The boy plans every possibility to deceive his mother. He adds two zeros to his marks which makes 100 out of 100.
The mother asks the son about his performance in the examination.  The son proudly says that he scored 100 out of 100. Mother becomes tremendously happy and proud of her son. The son demands so many from poor mother which she agrees. But in the mean time the sister of the boy arrives and asks “What is going on?” The mother happily replies,   “see our Tashi has stood first from his class scoring 100 out of 100.”   The sister snatches question paper and looks at the marks carefully. She knows that it’s not the original marks and she tells the truth to her mother. The mother regrets and feels disappointed. She complains that her parents had not sent her to school and now her own child his troubling her.
Finally, she gives the message that Women and Girls need to be educated in order to help learners learn productively in a family and the society at large. The programme ended with Vote of Thanks by one of the club members.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Wonder Why?

I wonder why only the teachers? I wonder why teachers are looking for the brighter side of their life. If you ask any teacher about their job, they say its hectic and tiresome job. A very few teachers enjoy this profession. Currently, the Ministry of Education and RCSC has come up with another new rule to retain teachers forever as teachers and this seems to have really increased the sum of disappointment for the teachers.
Decade ago, this profession is loved by almost every people in the country and many used to rush for this noble profession. But now the impression and the image of being teachers have really changed depressingly. There are so many factors which effects the change. People say this profession is the last option and this I believe is true up to certain extent. I wonder how many future teachers are going to enter this profession. How long will it take to solve the teacher shortage in the country? Do they love to be in the same profession throughout their life is the hundred dollars question. One will know the real essence and the taste of this profession if one ever becomes a teacher.
A teacher keeps standing all day

I wonder why teachers are blame if children fail because of their carelessness. Does it mean that teachers do not teach them? Is it that they all should be made pass whether they work hard or not?
I wonder how many of you acknowledge teachers and thank them if children do better in their studies or life-long skills. How many of you feel that their success is the collective effort of teachers and the students?
I wonder why teachers are blame if they raise their voice for any changes of rules when others are free to do so! Don’t teachers have emotions and feelings? Don’t they have sense of judging the right and the wrong?
I wonder why teachers are blame for any mistake done by the students not knowing it is their fault. Is it enough for them to seek advice only from the teachers - excluding parents and elders?
I wonder why teachers are asked to wear ghos and kiras only when others are allowed to wear any types of dress irrespective of the venue. Are they only the one to preserve our culture and tradition or does it mean they are the only patriotic citizen?  What about others? Are they not the sons and the daughters of Palden Drukpa?
I wonder why teachers are blamed for taking alcohol when others enjoy day and the night. Don’t they have sense of enjoyment and relaxation? Or is it that teachers should be non-alcoholic? If so this should be one of the entry criteria for the teaching profession.
I wonder why the societies demand/expect a lot from the teachers when the demands from the teachers are not fulfilled by the society.
I wonder why teachers are treated different from other society after all they are also human being.  I neither expected my teachers to have all above qualities nor do I expect my teachers to have all these qualities. I am thankful to them. I am what I am now because of them only. Whatever the people say, remember the Tibetan saying “Fa-Lama Meipai Gong roel na, Bu Sangay Zhe pai ming yang mey”, that there is no way where one can attain Buddha hood in the absence of a Lama or a teacher.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What things have we to say about fading Culture?


With the globalization, everyone feels and experience the value of our culture which once had been vibrant is depreciating incredibly. When we say Culture, as said by Foster is forbidding word for most of us. This is because we don’t tend to understand and appreciate the real essence of culture, may be due to the upcoming of science and modern technologies.
Simone Weil has rightly said that, “culture is an instrument wielded by professors to manufacture professors, who when their turn comes will manufacture professors.” Our parents/grandparents were the professors who manufactured us, the present beneficiaries, and it’s our responsibility to wield our culture and manufacture the right future professors, so that they can manufacture next professors or the beneficiaries with the same instrument called culture. We should be in a position to handover the culture that we have inherited from our ancestors to our young generation.
Many people hate to follow the culture due to their own good reasons. People who hate culture, argues saying that, the new world is being created by science, and with science and technologies they can prosper and earn profits. Hence, they give due importance in science and technologies which gives more profit than tradition.
These days we have Television, Cinema and many latest technologies which have replaced the old culture of performing drama. How many of us now practice this culture?  Who knows quite soon we may even see some new invention which will wipe out the Cinema industry and broadcasting house/Television shows. Even today, we can notice that no more people visit cinema hall due to upcoming of Television services.
A few good common examples which everybody is aware are, gho and Kira is being replaced by half gho/kira and paints, Zhungdra and beodra are more likely to be dominated by rigsar, traditional plough by power tillers and tractors, traditional bow and arrows by compound bows. Even people feel uncomfortable to write with their hands. So they use computers even to write their name.
Who is responsible for promotion and restoration of the Bhutanese culture which is already fading away with the time?  Some practices are almost on the verge of extinction and something should be done to revive them! Shall we keep them in the museum just in black and white or with the name tag on them? Will it help to revive and restore our culture? There are thousands of questions that each individual should ask.
As said by Mahatma Gandhi, “No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.” So I feel it’s the sole responsibility of each individual to take care of them as we do to our own property. It’s the common property of every citizen. Let’s give way to our culture to be reborn again in this land locked and GHN country. Let no other external culture replace our vibrant culture. So hope for the best and let’s see whether culture really matters or not in the process of modernization.  

What went wrong with Lhamo’s Life?



In this present century many events are changing day by day and we can perceive all these changes. Forget about the activities, even people are changing in every second tremendously.
It’s not very long ago, a girl name Lhamo was residing in a countryside village. Her parents were not well-off but with great effort they were able to provide her necessity items needed in school. She was a good student in her school and brought good results every year. Her parents expected their daughter to be somebody when she finished her studies. Even the villagers and neighbours had a great hope that she would definitely be somebody and look after her parents.
 But after some years the things didn’t go well as expected. She was sent to study in urban school after completion of her primary education. Gradually, lot of changes took place in her. While in school, she was no longer that shy, meek, submissive and homely creature as she used to be in the past. She was no longer confined through the ages to mere hearth or home. She even fought for her rights according to the situation. She had asserted herself in company and she could face the heavy odds.
Lhamo even started imitating the male sex with regard to fashion, behavior, ambition and endeavors. Jean Pants and hot pants replaced the colouful and well-dignified Kira, a national dress, which gave majesty to her personality. The hair, which was well maintained and plaited dresses were no longer the beauty of her. The boy’s cut of hair gave her a boyish look and took hard task which boys were supposed to do. She didn’t bother what her parents and teachers advised her. She was in her own world.
She started to develop unappreciable habit of spending lots of amount in buying nail polish, lipstick and many other items which made her parents to wonder how she was using the money. She had become more of a painted stick than of a natural beauty with her make ups. She even started abusing drugs, taking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, as if they give some sorts of satisfaction to her hunger and thirst.  These sinful acts rather than giving any benefit to her health all she learned was from one of her friends in school.  Parents send her to school to get good education but she didn’t concentrate on her study and went on chatting and gossiping. In a way she disturbed her friends who had minds to study. She thought that even if she failed in examination she would leave the school and find a husband. Ultimately when she failed she didn’t show any sign of unhappiness. Parents were the losers in any ways and they became the ultimate sufferers.
Luckily, she married a husband who was kind and understanding. He was working in one of the departments as an officer. After one year of her marriage, she gave birth to a child and then another after some years. Though she became a mother, she liked going to parties, functions and meetings. Her lively conversation; her butterfly-like approach, her actress-like behavior added more gaudy colours to the functions. 
It was her nature that most of the time she did not want to stay at home. Quite often she headed towards the town nearby. She didn’t want to miss cinema shows and other outdoor activities. If she was given an opportunity, definitely she would not miss any activities. She had no hesitation in talking to men, no desire to remain reserved and shy. If at all there was shyness, it was a calculated shyness.
In fact, she was in different to her duties as a daughter, wife or mother. Actually, as a house wife/mother of a child, cooking and washing were the sole duty of her but she subdued her gentle husband and let him do all household works. She was the dictator of her family and unfortunate husband suffered under her dictatorship. Her only interest was to derive maximum pleasure out of life. Ending of the life was beyond the reach of her imagination. She thought that she would remain unchanged for forever. Like the girls of the western countries, she was more interested in hooking a moneyed husband. She wanted her husband to take care of himself, she wanted that the baby sitter should look after the children and she herself should remain comfortably like a queen in the palace.
Latest fashions and cosmetics became the most wanted thing in her life. She never realized whether the salary of her husband had been enough or not and was always asking for luxury items. Whenever her neighbor bought new fashion items, she pinched her husband and polished him. If her husband totally disagreed, she would remain enemy for a week or a month.
But at last she died of lung cancer due to heavy smoking. Her husband alone had to look after unhealthy children. But we are not sure what went wrong with her! Is it that because of lack of guidance from her parents and relatives? Or does it mean that teachers were not supportive to her?  I don’t know why? Who was responsible for this?

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Painful Departure


When Wangmo came to spend her winter vacation with her parents from school, she met an awaited boy from the same village. They studied together for three years in same rural school in their Gewog, but in different classes before. After successful completion of Class-V, she was taken by her brother to study in one of the schools in advanced district.
Forget about having inner feelings towards each other when studying together, the boy hated her and even did not feel like uttering a word to her.  But Wangmo having studied for two years in the urban school has now changed a lot in her behaviour as well as her beauty. The poor boy was attracted by her natural beauty and started luring her. Ultimately, she accepted his proposal with great excitement and immense joy. They spent their days and nights together for whole winter. Their love increased day by day and the bond of their love and friendship became tighter like the silken notes. The time has come for them where one couldn’t spend even a single second without ones presence. Wangmo’s parents were aware of their relationship. There wasn’t any interference from her parents, rather they seemed to be happy and acceptance.
Shortly, it was time for them to return to their own school and had to depart from each other. They promised to marry after their studies. Ideally matched, nobody could imagine them being separated. But a twist of fate was to shatter their dreams and happiness. They spent sleepless night together before their departure. They were both inexpressibly sad and couldn’t speak more. The little they spoke was with choked voices and shed tears. They held each other tight. The next morning, Kuenga went to fetch horse from paddy field. Since there was no road the things had to be reached by the horses. He walked as if in dreams with his heavy heart.
At that very odd hour Wangmo and Kuenga couldn’t take their breakfast. The thought of their departure itself was really hurting their feelings. For Wangmo, it was really a heart paining fate to go away from her only beloved, who had always occupied a place in her heart. Her neighbours and villagers came to see her off with their limited things like Yu-chum, Datshe, etc.
The journey started at around 9 AM. She was accompanied by her father and other villagers. Kuenga actually went to see her off for a short distance, but their love and faith took him up to one day walk distance. They spent the last night together in a small cave, in a place called Khartshang. At least they got another chance to share their feelings. Wangmo’s elder sister and brother in-law, who actually was Kuenga’s own brother, were also there to see her off. They all spent the night together. The night seemed like a fraction of second for Kuenga and Wangmo.
The next morning, Dorji handed her this note:
My dearest Darling,
It’s very hard for me to say good bye at this juncture. As you leave, please take a part of me along. My life without you will be hollow. Do not forget our future together. Please trust me and be true to me. I always pray for your well being and success. Let’s pray for the God that we will meet soon. My love for you will never die. Save journey to you!

Yours forever,
Kuenga

Wangmo’s eyes filled with tears and drop fell on the note. Dorji was unbearably sad, thinking that he won’t feel the warmth of her love and moreover may they meet again or not was a hundred dollars questions in their lives. Her last words to him were;
“My dear, please be happy. I am your only and my love for you is really true. Believe me, I really love you and you will always be part of my life. May no other better soul snatch my love! Keep my words,
Wherever I go,
Whatever I do,
Whoever I be,
Forever I’ll love you.”
With this she started heading towards her destination, shedding bitterly and finding herself very difficult to hide her tears from others. As he saw her very uneasy to adjust herself, his tears flowed liberally. Kuenga couldn’t do anything. He waved his hands which made her shed more tears. It was as when the snow melts on lofty mountains; the west wind brought it, the east wind melts it, and at its melting, the rivers swell up to overflowing. So did her lovely cheeks grew wet as she shed more tears and wept for her beloved who was waving hands for her.
Kuenga was helpless and with a glance he lost her sight…

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My first day in school

It was back in 1992 when I was taken to admit in Shingkhar Primary School by my brother, the Head Master nearly rejected my admission.  By then I was about to be 13 years old, who was supposed to plough the field at home. 
Actually my parents could have sent me to school when I was quite young and eager but they simply allowed me to remain at home idly. Of course! My father took every pain to teach me religious practices which he acquired from his root lama. I could still feel the moment where I always encouraged my parents to allow me to study in school. Finally, due to too much pressure from me, they agreed to my proposal. It was my brother who took me to school. There were two of us going to school at the same time (my younger sister). We directly approached the Head Master of the school. He was in his quarter that time. He appropriately rejected my admission because I was too old to be in class PP. Some of my friends who were at my age were already studying in class-II, Class-III and even some in class-VI. No doubt, I had little knowledge about English alphabets and numerical up to hundred besides having the Dzongkha knowledge.
The fat and short man took every advantage to interview me on the spot. Somehow I was able to satisfy him with my broken English and dzongkha as well. Luckily! I was admitted in class-I directly. It was only the school in Shingkhar Gewog that time. My formal education started in March 1992. The moment I entered the classroom I experienced a great sense of joy and happiness. I joined my friends in assembly and sang the National Anthem. But the command given by my school captain was not understandable to me. However, I was able to manage myself to look at my senior friends and did partially correct.
While in the class room, I was quite new to my class mates. I didn’t understand what my teachers were talking about. Their language seemed quite strange to me. I became a center of attraction to my friends as I was dull for some weeks. It was really an embarrassing situation for me to be in class-I at that age with small children, whom I called them Nu-Chu. I was appointed class captain by my class teacher. I started learning with keen interest and put extra effort in my studies. I thought, we were all born equal in the eyes of Nature and I could do what others can! All we need is a bit of extra will power. My hard works were recognized by all the teachers in the school. Despite being a new student in the class, I begged the first position from my class. From then…