Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Democracy and the leaders, what can go wrong when power is vested in blind...

The already bad english with many messes in few lines can tell
how much the writer was mentally disturbed at that moment.
How much do we count on democracy? As much as we may expect, I fear so much of abuses. Do we make an effort to elect a leader and end up being targeted? Or do we make so much of effort in the name of tsawa-sum by voting a government to give its members the power rather than for their leadership?

People might be wondering why this is held without posting so far and why only today it is being brought forward. I didn’t think of the importance that has in making public until I realized that this has many to tell about our kinder democracy in growing and the votes we waste to put corruption to  power.

Today I take a chance to post this story having gained confidence from honorable PM’s facebook (31/01/2017) post that called to expose any corrupt practices. I would also like to remind the readers that this story does not at all imply the current government, which I am always proud of although it is a story of an action of a member of the government in his own personal capacity.

This is my testimonial experience of the democracy in power, a strong case that put me in dilemma whether to respect democracy or avoid. This is a small story how there is so many in the democracy we think is the best solution.

It is a calm but a busy day on December 15, 2014 because we have a special day on December 17. Sumthrang prepares for its annual Kangsoel with some excitements around. Because since the beginning of the revival project of Sumthrang's Mask dances dedicated to His Majesty the Fourth’s 60th birth anniversary and long life, it progressed and for the first time after about 20 year’s of non performance making it an endangered culture, the mask dances are back revived to be performed during Sutmrang Kangsoel which corresponded to the National day 2014.

Some gomchen’s from Ura and Sumthrang were helping in preparations to prepare the ritual cake for the festival. And a former umzey (cymbal master) of Sumthrang, who has never been a part of sumthrang for several years after he abandoned his association to Sumthrang temple long ago steps into the monastery and begins to make the ritual cake of his own in a separate bowl.

“He even goes to the extend saying all the choesung torma(deity ritual cakes) will be made by me.” I tried to reason him to stop doing that. He does not listen. After some efforts to convince him to stop, I grew furious that a man enters a holy temple with malice and tries to impose his arrogance and therefore I snatched the bowel in which his dough for torma is and threw it for dogs. 

Yet, it did not stop him, he began to make another one to which my father the Sumthrang Choejey told him that; "you may make as you wish if this is what you want to do. But you should take the responsibility in case if anything happens in the valley after Kangsoel is performed with the ritual cakes you made for offering separately from flours which we do not know from where you brought and for what.” Only this hit him hard that made him decide to dump his second dough himself and leave the temple. Here I realized that I was not a good negotiator in such case.

Everything reset to normal. The next day my father and I are at a cousin’s place to borrow some things that we need during the kangsoel. My phone rang and the number calling was 17609989.

It was the Dzongrab of Jakar dzongkhag. He asked me to meet him alone. We invited him to our cousin’s place but he refuses and wants me out to meet him alone. I went to meet him and he starts. “Gachi ra bay ye lo (What have you been doing) ?” I thought he was enquiring about the issues I raised on facebook about the stone slab that is being extracted from a heritage site some time before. As I begin to talk about the site. “Men men, choe gi umzey lu Gachi bay yi lo. Ro 'gongm' tsu gi tug dhey ra matro wa chin dra mena (No, No. What did you do to Umzey. It is better not to disturb the superiors) ,” he literally threatens me as if I disturbed the so called superiors.

The irony is that a real issue of heritage destruction is never attended to by the dzongkhag while the head of the dzongkhag takes pain in coming this far to undertake suppression under the command of a minister who's interest shows no sign of service to national interest. 

Bemused and I stood little silent. What? I thought for myself in dismay and I explained what happened in detail. I felt wow! Dzongrab on a weekend drives a government car with a driver over 50 KMs to just threaten me. I for one instance did not question who the “gongm (superior)’ he referred to and left there. My father probably did not feel good about it, he accompanied by late Gup (Gewog or Local County Chief) arrived at the road side after me, Dzongrab acts normal and took leave immediately after few minutes of greeting to my father and the gup, saying “Yaya (Ok) samten!” in quite a polite way he took off in his hilux truck.

But I realized I should ask who is the ‘gongm’ he was talking about. I called few minutes after Dzongrab left because, who could that 'gongm' be to sent dasho dzongrab (deputy district CEO)  this far for a patty internal issue of Sumthrang Temple on a weekend holiday and the answer came; “Ngultse Lyonpo (Finance Minister).” shocked, totally.

It was also the moment where the little trust that I have had on bureaucrats was out in hell.   I felt nervous and it turned out to anger. Technically the Finance Minister has send dzongrab to interrogate me using ‘gongm’ for coverage for this patty reason.

And I felt little worried. Sumthrang has been under political brainwash for some time and now I understand that it was not only the local coordinator involved in this dirty politics but a minister as I have always doubted. Here what has happened is that the ‘umzey’ seems to have been sent by his associates who are mostly the members of the minister's party to disturb Sumthrang Kangsoel. While the Umzey failed the mission, the story could have been reported to the minister through local party channel to which the minister must have acted on behalf of the party member/s. Is it healthy? Isn’t this not corruption?

Although we do not know what kind of information is being fed to the minister by his coordinator/s who would have had their local agenda to get a minister's power used. But minister acting on behalf of his party workers on such patty individual matter is pathetic. I do not think government minister can use such arrogant power to interfere in personal and internal matters of even the government institutions so, forget about private individuals and institutions. And sending a government bureaucrat to officially threaten a private citizen with no good reason is I believe a serious misuse of power, a crime. I felt like I was in an Indian state where party leaders sent goons to threaten and suppress. I would wish that the high ranking responsible political party members avoid such practiced in future or the good bureaucrats need to be cautious to act under such malicious individualistic commands of their ignorant superiors as this. Because, this is critically dangerous that it could be fatal to public harmony.

Bumthang then is under the dzongrab’s administration without a Dzongda (District Chief Executive or the Governor).  This also poses a question that to what extend a bureaucrat shall act upon the commands of an elected minister, do we need a guideline or should they do anything that a minister commands to do because it might be of a ladder to his/her career?

Well, back to the event, I was worried thinking that it could trigger some unwanted issues to
Quick concern letter we thoughtfully
managed on that day
the ongoing preparation of our Kangsoel festival because there is a backing of a minister endorsed by the district administration. We began a quick typing of a concerned letter to the Gewog administration as a precautionary means. The Sumthrang temple put the letter immediately to the gewog with a copy forwarded to the Dzongrab with wishes expressed to have the concerned minister also be notified who is also the minister in-charge of Bumthang and Trongsa districts.
Can our ministers be as blunt as this and be individualistic and politically so personalised even in such patty matters if he did this knowingly. If he was tricked by his coordinator for his own vested reasons, then it shows how weak the minister’s leadership is and how little he is of any leadership quality. Does a minister always have to listen to their local party coordinators for such patty irrational matters not of nation's interest? In this case, it looked like the minister would even make a kill if the coordinator has asked to do so? How horrifying this is? If every political party during their rule does every thing in their power listening to the party coordinators and side an individual for party reasons, what shall we expect? Can it be the service to tsawa-sum?

If our elected leaders do not stop thinking so narrowly in their party lines, I wonder how far the trust and believe between the government and people, people to people and leaders to subject would prevail? If distrust is built, what can we expect from a democracy?

And from this experience, I will vote no one, but respect every government, I will hate no one but be a cretic to every members that I feel are not right. I shall not put loyalty to parties, but respect democracy. In the end I resolved to be a just citizen and a humble subject to my kings and this kingdom.

1 comment:

  1. Until the advent of democracy, "Gongm" meant our beloved Kings and the Royal Family but now, unfortunately, we have many "Gongms". And the reason we have many "Gongms" is also because we have many "Chamchas".