Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mounting Public Debt

Before some of our rural folks can even count and talk in thousands, the state of nature in our country has reached such a dramatic phase that we talk of BILLIONS in debt! Forget about billion, many people may not even know how many zeros are there in a million!. Now the question before us is not about knowing number of zeros in millions. It is not even knowing how many more zeros are there in billion! 

As a developing nation and more in the vein of a nation that advocates 'small is not only beautiful, but far beyond', the need to understand about our BIG DEBT is of paramount importance. The burden and benefits of our debt is suppose to affect us all 'equally' and therefore, the issue of  public debt cannot be confined to the realms of only Policy makers, Economists, Bureaucrat and likes of others. Reallocation of resources and and its availability are key for any kind of development. This universal statement asserts that for a any country to develop, resources both in terms of monetary and natural form are mandatory.

Bearing above universal statement in mind and applying it to our economy, we get a totally unique situation. Except water, we are neither rich in  natural resource nor in our tax income! So the only solace we had was in external debt, which is soaring so high that now some people are having problem seeing its tail. No doubt, we have plus point to discuss about debt too, but for now lets keep that topic for another post.

As reported by Kuensel, our total debt stood Nu.17 billion in 2011, which is an increase of 8 billion form 2010. It is also reported that our export earnings have more or less remained same. This statement testifies that we have spent more than what we have actually earned!  Rupee reserve fell into negatives! Further, this deficit has taken our debt ratio to a frightening level of more than 99.2% To a lay man, it just means that out of 100 Ngultrum we have, 99.2 Ngultrum do not belong to us!

And our government has done their part of soothing the people. More than half the nation's population do not even know what this public debt is all about. To marginal few, our government has always justified the rationale behind the soaring debt by saying that those debts are "self liquidating" in nature and that it will service it self. The lions share of such debts came from our friendly neighbor India. Strictly speaking in economics, there is no such 'self liquidating' debts in this modern age. It was a concept that died long with those classical economists'. 'self liquidating' debt is like 'money for nothing' and we have a reason to doubt when our government says that India is giving us the money of Indian taxpayers for nothing. Unless Economists' in India have a pair of horn, I see this as a grim possibility.

And our government has done its part to control the deficit that is growing in size like a wild fire too. Tight monetary measures and stringent fiscal measures have come in place overnight. Already crowded out and malnourished private sectors are hit the hardest. Blanket suspension on certain imports created inflation, where as blanket suspension on loans threatened many from defaulting! The story does not end there. Interestingly, there were also reports that our Government came looking for more rupee in India. This  was by far the most ridiculous analogy in the history debt management. -One side, we were made to reduce consumption whereas on other side there was our government, still desiring to go spendthrift.

As a nation we have long night ahead. The debt is mounting and so is cost of debt. Every night our country is becoming indebted by billions. While we have many visible signs of crises, our Government  is still adamantly hanging on to their belief which says otherwise.

And I am going to bed every night wondering how a country that advocated small thing ended up with big debt.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Economics and Politics

Sometime ago in 2010, I remember watching a Live penal discussion on BBS. The topic was related to urbanization in Bhutan. The panelist for the discussion included some senior representatives from the ruling  government, Private sector and few even Bureaucrats. 

Although we have many urban towns springing up these days, the principle focus of the discussion that day was only given to urbanization in Thimphu. As a capital city, it has indeed expanded by leaps and bounds. From the floors of Wang chu valley, it is already inching towards Phajoding in the north and Namseling in the south. The slopes, east and west of Wang Chu river are equally getting crowded too. Many people today complain that there is not even a space left for someone to pee in emergency!

Thimphu region receives one of the the highest budget annually from the government and it is also a major investment center of Bhutan. Structures worth millions of Ngultrums are erected rampantly and the beauty of original Thimphu is fast fading. Rural-urban migration and living cost has hit the highest figures, (and still increasing relentlessly) and so are crime rate. They are increasing at an all time alarming rate too. Hence further urbanization in Thimphu merited not only in depth discussion but also deserved through rethinking. More rational approach towards further development has become the need of time. In fact there was a genuine need from the government's side to explain as to why Thimphu deserve more development than than the rest!
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With the above mentioned realities in mind, a national level discourse on urbanization could not have come at a better timing. More than a discussion, I personally felt that it gave more leverage for the government to explain their point of view and convince the tax payers, donors and aid agencies. 

With most of the panelist, who have stakes in urban Thimphu, the discussion went on very smoothly. (At least I thought that way) Even the mildest disagreement on further urbanization of Thimphu was vehemently turned down by the panelists, who was/is minister! This as a reference to a particular incident when an inquisitive audience raised his opinion. He cautioned the panelists by stating that by recklessly pursuing urbanization in Thimphu alone, Bhutan is putting all the eggs in the one basket. The answer from the panelist (Minister) was swift, concise without ambiguity. He credited all such phenomenons to 'Market forces'. By Market forces, he made it very clear that everything in our economy is regulated through the forces of free market,- market indicators that are based on demand, supply and price signals etc. 

Without  any second thought I agreed with the minister and I thought he was right.  He made me believe that market forces were truly beyond human control! 

But that was my personal feeling then. 

Reflecting on his words now and keeping in the mind, the kind of economic problems we have at hand, it made me wonder whether he and his team have left our economy to the forces of market far too long. The last minute fiscal and monetary measures which were far drastic and rigid to correct our accumulated wrongs translates to kind of imbalance we have in Politics and Economics.  More of Politics and less of Economics.

If the Minister meant what he said then he should now ask few question to himself. Why there is a need of government in the society, if market forces does their job? What is the logic behind spending millions of tax payers money for their election, perks and pensions?

If anybody in the multitude, today, think that the fundamental need for a Government is just confined to maintaining law, order and sovereignty, then we are seriously flawed. Because these were not the basis on which Lord Keynes founded his idea of Government and its intervention in the Economy. The very fact that countries are being run by governments around the world, indicates that governments have a far greater role to play in  terms of allocation of resources, distribution of income and ultimately stabilizing the market forces (i.e increasing employment and reducing inflation etc) 

Therefore, a blend of Politics and Economics will bring the much needed stability. This can only happen when we have decision makers who have the potential and capacity to look beyond market forces, act rationally and believes in integration of Politics and Economics.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Politics and Politicians Are Two Different Things"

In my very recent past, I was on line chatting with one of my closest friend. We do it often! And just like most of the people who chat on line, it is not in our tradition to discuss Politics, Religion, Economics, Poverty, Trade, Conservation, Policies etc...etc etc ....etc in our chat. Since he doesn't have a family, it is not even about family that we chat. The only thing we do is to pull each others leg. Yes, we make fun of each other and make some people laugh and some people go angry in between. By the way he is also one among many who follow me on my blog.

Well coming back to our chat, that day our chat went in the direction completely opposite to the one we are used to. I was on one side getting and at him and pulling him further. But on the other side, he sounded genuine and serious. He told me to blog on topics that are slightly different from the ones I am so used to.

He gagged me with those words and honestly, it took me a while to respond. From the tone of his conversation, I smelt that he isn't pleased with the way I blog; -"writing my own unwritten lines, writing for self". Although I did not agree with him initially, I welcomed his flowery suggestions and feedback instantly. 

I told him that I have nothing to lose (by disclosing my true identity) and also nothing to gain, (by hiding behind the veils of anonymity) But later his statement made me very thoughtful. He was kind enough to offer his suggestion and I felt perplexed but nevertheless happy at heart. As an Economics student, he genuinely felt that I could very well write something on Economics, -a minimal comment and feedback from my end about the current economic situation that our country is going through. 

I told him about my dislike for discussing Economics because it is invariably stringed with Politics and Politics,  which is further connected to Politicians. So it ultimately boiled down to my dislike for discussing Politicians in my blog. 

But my intelligent friend made me even more thoughtful when he went on and said that 'Politics and Politicians are two different things'. He used many metaphors to explain his logic. And at the end, I came to realize that Politics is like a gold container and Politicians are what we people put inside that precious container. Therefore Politicians are like yue chom, jachum, basmati, and at times even shit!. 

So from today on words, welcome to the discussion of  yue chom, jachum, basmati, and at times even shit along with pinches of Economics.  

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Who Am I Blogging For?

More than two years ago, I started this blog with the main aim of renewing my passion for reading and writing. And today to my delight, I think I have fairly achieved my objectives. I have become an avid reader now and have already read over one hundred books! (and more than hundreds already waiting to be read on my shelf or in my wishlist) Readable or not, I have to my credit over 240 blog posts on my blog. Some even  made their appearance in news papers! 

Well, in becoming a blogger, it was never my intention to become an active commentator on issues like  Politics, Economics, Religion and Government. I honestly believe that such topics are best left for people  who have authority in the relevant subjects. I got this stark realization when I was warned by my boss for offering my wholehearted opinion to my representative in the parliament. It has a reference to my letter to my MP regarding the fallacious Tobacco control act. Let alone criticisms, it was an indication that most Bhutanese bosses do not even tolerate feedbacks and opinions.

Therefore, in much applauded democratic Bhutan, I found myself being frightened even to interact with my representatives. Let alone commenting and criticizing, I found myself even subdued to raise my own opinions in my own space! 

So to keep the flames of my passion for writing still alive and burning, the only solace I found was in writing about my own self! And believe it or not, those days has been the most enlightening and most satisfying moments of my life. I enjoyed writing about myself like I relish chicken curry here in Gujarat. Hence, my blog came to be known as "writing my own unwritten lines, writing for self"  

But in process of writing for my own self in a world wide web, I was being noticed and followed by more than one hundred registered and over thousand unregistered followers! Therefore with each passing day, my small space slowly become a platform for slightly bigger discourse. In a way it became like my guest room, where I meet different personalities from around the world who have varying opinions about my writing. 

Some have cautioned me for my total self disclosure, while there are some who have genuinely expressed their affinity towards my way of writing. In between there also instances, where my writings have become a subject and topic for a gossip! As an Economics student, some of my closest friends have even suggested me to blog about the current economic slump that our country is going through. With this there are others who feel that I should soon come up with a book of my own! As a humble blogger, I take these as a blessings. 

As a literate man, I welcome all their blessings; -their comments and feedback. They are like bouquets which I will not even hesitate to accept from a total stranger. But deep down my heart, I have always had the feeling that I am blogging for so many who are just more than myself. 
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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blessed Rainy day Post (or Thrue Baap Post)

Picture Courtesy: Samten Wangdi
Thrue Baap (or the blessed rainy day) for Bhutanse is a very auspicious and sacred day. It is a day to cleanse both our body and mind from the sins we have committed both knowingly and unknowingly. People believe in taking bath with sanctified water with flowers. Bathing hours are however prescribed by astrologers. It is a day to cherish our bygone monsoon and welcome our much awaited autumn. Its the beginning of bountiful  autumn season! -the season of offering and season of thanksgiving!. All in all, its a day that merits happy celebration with full mirth. In Bhutanese calender, it also marks the end of rainy season for the year.

Back home, besides bathing, my family have a  tradition of visiting a temple on this day and make an offering. And more than that it used to be a happy family reunion too. I used to take my family to meet my relatives and siblings. We eat a lot and get drunk! and come home with lots of happy memories and nostalgic feelings. 

Since, I cound't be with my family this year, I thought it would be worthwhile for me to try and to put up a post worthy of thrue baap for my readers. 

You see, one year ago, I landed in a strange place called Gujarat. Without the slightest knowledge about the place, I felt the total strangeness in both place and the people. Trust me it is not an exaggeration. Hot, humid, dusty, messy and noisy, I disliked the place from the core of my heart. I felt immensely bitter and that I cursed not only the place but also the people who sent me here.  At times I found myself inconsolable and I longed to go home quick and swift. 

I suffered worst, when classes were taken in Gujarati medium. I felt suffocated and lost listening to a language which I knew nothing about. It was the testing time for my patience. But in between, when lectures were taken in English, it brought me much needed relief and respite. So when ever lectures were taken in Gujarati, I considered my self to a sinking duck in the water and to a floating duck when lecture resumed in English. 

And away from my college, people in the street, mall and shop gossip openly about me. Most of them mistook me for a Chinese guy. On seeing me they giggle at first and shout "Chingka" on top of their voice. For once I thought to myself that Chingkas are to most Gujaratis what toys are to kids. So I had that dying urge to learn their language and someday talk to them on equal terms.

Now in my second year here in Gujarat, I have not only learned to communicate at basic level, but I have also made a good progress in learning some Gujarati terms in Economics too. I feel I am not a sinking duck any more. I tell people not to gossip about me on their face. Check my Gujarati -Economics vocabulary :

Sl No  Gujarati Word Equivalent English Word 
1 Arth sans thra  Economics
2 Samtula  Equilibrium
3 Simanm  Marginal 
4 Khartz Cost
5 Mang Demand
6 Vikas  development 
7 Veshnikaran Globalization
8 Arthik  Finance
9 Jokham  Risk
10 Fer faro Change
11 Apekshath  Expectation
12 Upathpadan Productin
13 Vektheno Individual
14 Jayar Dev Public Debt
15 Jurwa mati  To see
16 Prayath  Available
17 Esteeth Neutral
18 Sangkalan  Integration
19 Tika  Criticisims
20 Miriadav Limitations
21 Purna Harifai Perfect Competition
22 Ijarat Harifai Monlpolistic Competition
23 Tafni Technology
24 Awakath  Income/ output
25 Rajai Sarkar State Government 
26 Dhana  Assumptions
27 Jakatnu  Tariff/ Customs Duty
28 Sudra  Ammendment
29 Jayar Shetra  Public Sector 
30 Purna fura  Reallocation
31 Isttam Optimum
32 Mahatum Maximum
33 Wage Vethan
34 Rent Bhadu
35 Profit Nafo
36 Saras Important
37 Juda different 
38 Juno Old
39 Muko Put
40 Acho-kas-tam Uncertainity
41 Policy Niti
42 Parman  Quantity
43 Samai Time
44 Purna Rozgar Full employment
45 Pragati progress
46 Achar  Constant
47 Bhagani Exogenous 
48 Lamba gara  Long run
49 Phugaw Inflation
            50               Ochu                                           Less
            51             Vadaro                                     Increase/grow 
These are commonly used words in my class. I can now proudly listen to my professors and node my head in satisfaction.  Believe me, I can also speak some sentences! This has surprised many of my class mates.

By the way, dear friends, I wish you all a very very happy blessed "rainy" day. May you all have a prosperous year ahead. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Letter to Editor, Kuensel (Dzongkha Section)


Dear editor,

I am disheartened with your office for not showing a minimum degree of ethics in using a materials contributed by an outsider.

This has a reference to a story written by Samten Yeshi on Yak-lha festival, where I have contributed a rare pictures to Samten Yeshi. I considered his request upon his repeated pleas.

However we agreed on following conditions:

1. That those pictures are still my copy right protected materials
2. That Kuensel will give due courtesy (at least)
3. I am the ultimate lawful owner and I have contributed the picture just for one time use only.

And also I regret to inform you that this is not the first time. Your office did not even give a proper courtesy for my earlier picture used by Samten Yeshi while covering a similar story sometime in April 2012.

Lastly, as a premier news agency, I expect a lot more professionalism in your office.


Yours faithfully
Kuenzang Thinley
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Yak-lha, The Lost Culture of Shingkhar


Yak-lha, literally means the god of Yak. It is a festival that was once very popular in Ura community. The entire locals in the community considered the event as pious and holy as any other auspicious days in the calender. Especially for those yak rearing families, it used to be the much awaited days of the year. The event is observed on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in Bhutanese calender (which normally coincided with September month in Gregorian calender.) 

Although there are not many documented history to prove its origin, the history based on oral transmissions says that the origin of Yak lha culture can be traced as back as to the days of Guru Rimpoche himslef.  (or even before that) In the seventh century when Guru Rimpoche first visited Bhutan, the first thing he encountered were the prevalent Bon religion and its practitioners along with their masters. 

So, In order to gain peoples' faith and establish Buddhism as an ultimate way of life, Guru first had to overcome those powerful Bon masters. 

Therefore, this particular event have a reference to Guru's encounter with the most powerful, versatile, intelligent and the most feared Bon master called Oode Gongjan. 

According to a oral fable, it is said that in order to establish their supremacy in the locality, both the Buddhist master and Bon master agreed to contest for a debate.

The debate went on for weeks and months unending but the prominent winner could not be declared. So after so many days, weeks and months, both of them mutually agreed as to how the ultimate winner could be declared.

Both of them agreed that who ever reaches on the summit of Mount Gangkar Tese, the next dawn, at the crack of the day (i.e when the first rays of sun touches the summit) wins the contest. It was also agreed that the one who loses should renounce his claim of supremacy and should leave the region altogether. 

The next morning, Oode Gongjan almost won the contest. Guru Rimpoche who rode on the rays on sun to reach summit, beat him by a margin of  few steps. This infuriated Oode Gingjan. He threw away his drum in anger down the mountain which eroded portion of mountain along.

But Guru Rimpoche did not give him the ultimatum!. He gave Oode Gongjan an option. Guru Rimpoche gave him an option to become the protector of dharma and that he would be still worshiped as Nor Lha, Oode Gongjan gracioulsy consented. Guru also told Oode Gongjan that his loss of contest would be richly compensated and that he would be given a grand offering every month in different regions. 

Today Oode Gongjan is being offered the grand offerings in different regions in different months. Yak-lha  was one such offering offered to him in seventh month in Ura community. Since he was to be worshipped as Nor lha, perhaps that could be the reason why offering to Oode Gongjan in Shingkhar was done among the yaks (known to locals as Nor) Other such offerings are being made in Zhemgang (known as Kharpo), Mongar, Lhuntse and in many other regions. 

Now in Shingkhar, yak rearing  has formally ended when my father finally sold off his small heard last year. With this, it appears that the two age old culture and traditions, which thrived for many centuries are lost simultaneously in Shingkhar. 


 Note: This is a story as told by my Uncle who is a lay man. 


To be continued..................

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Extra Marital Affairs; By Miss Manju Whakley

Extra marital affairs  have become so common in our society. It is social menace, which if not tended has the potential to cost our social harmony a great deal.  In her thought provoking essay, Miss Manju shares her opinion on the topic. in her unrivaled candidness, she says "we as humans, are we designed to be monogamous?" Find it out for yourself. 

Miss Manju clad in prayer flags
I almost got married once, I was just twenty one then, I ran away from it. It was a bit too overwhelming a feeling to know my allegiances towards ‘one’ man for the rest of my life, however long I am to live. Of course there were other aspects to it which proved to be too conservative for the liberal person that I am. I am twenty six and half today, again furrowing the familiar grounds that I thought interested me no more. I guess my hormones are getting the better of me, or that smashing accident that fractured my skull a few months ago, which was like mortality’s smashing slap on my face. “You need to procreate and die with your own seeds surrounding you” screamed a loud thought in my head, what else is there to live for or else? I suppose when you lie there on that last breathing breath of yours, trying to extend that long puff like smoking a whiff of existence, one more or few more drags, what eventually matters is what you leave behind. What you leave behind is the same natural system that created you; the womb makes a womb, one goes to the tomb and another womb replaces the tomb. Many may not agree, those who have a strong mind to be by themselves and not succumb to that feeling of loneliness of having to sleep alone at night, those who detest the thought of continuing this futile existence by giving birth to more suffering, to those very enlightened minds of nothingness, I do salute you. 
  
Yet everyday a new child is born, every day a new marriage knot is tied, every day someone somewhere dies. Every day couples quarrel somewhere, misunderstandings are bred, men and women both drink their sorrows downing with pegs of liquor burning down their throats and stomach to a feeling of numbness, into a euphoria created to momentarily escape their dilemmas. Every day a man cheats on a woman, a woman does her share too, perhaps more with the tag line, ‘please don’t tell anyone’; everyday such dramas are staged, either at home or in the minds of people. What then is fidelity? 

We are all animals; well of course we call ourselves human because we are the highest in the chain, we can eat anything below us, which is essentially everything (Chinese do), but perhaps the virtues that makes us humane is our ability to think and feel and amongst all virtues what I deem most important, that of honesty. But in a relationship how honest should a man and a woman be? Is love that thrives on lies, love? If the floodgates of honesty be unleashed, does love even thrive then? These are moral philosophical questions and I beg to broach this rampantly known but little spoken about topic, extra marital affairs. 

The Bhutanese, where ever I have known, home or abroad seem to have a similar suffering. Men letch at women, sometimes even when their wives are around, women are more discreet but they follow their dark back doors and are not very different, perhaps lesser in numbers but such intentions and actions are very much omnipresent. I say the Bhutanese, because there are cultures where women and men copulate rather freely, with one night stands and flowing flings and under such branded labels; I guess living upto our humanly biological desires but there are cultures that remain fidel or generally so once they find themselves in wedlock. They are locked in the truest of senses. Somehow my findings are not the same for the Bhutanese, in fact quite to the contrary. Is it because we are a very sociable community? Is this heightened interaction between people one of the reasons for extra marital affairs? Or the river like flowing cheap alcohol to blame? Why is it okay and acceptable for a man to have an affair, and a woman not so? Why do the same rules not apply to all gender? I say all gender because it is time we also acknowledged the homosexuals, who if they find pleasure in wooing the same sex, then they should be allowed that freedom. Gay marriage for now in Bhutan is definitely not on the horizon for decades to come, but come it will. 

Coming back to our seemingly promiscuous nature, I feel that once you are inducted into the institution of marriage one has to respect it. One has to become humane at that point, if not only for the two people in the sacred act of marriage but also for the children who are born and who should be bred and fed with the right values. Divorce is on an upscale these days, men find wives again and women will find husbands again, no one wants to grow old and die alone, but the ones who suffer are the minds of these young children of divorcees or people who have extra marital affairs. 

Tomorrow if you see a pretty girl walking on the street, there is one thing about seeing someone as a person walking on a street and quite another turning your head to check that person out. Is this the beginning of infidelity? We as humans, are we designed to be monogamous? 

Thank you Manju for your kind permission.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's Result Time


G u j a r a t   U n i v e r s i t y
                                                
Exam.:Sem. 2 of                         Master of Arts    held in May-2012     
Seat No. :   1519    Name: THINLEY KUENZANG                                    
College: (020) USS         Centre: 01  Combination:           - 1-1600011      
                                              External           Internal      
                Subjects                   Max Min  Obt       Max Min  Obt     
----------------------------------------  -----------------  ----------------- 
Economics-407 Micro Economics-II            70  25   46        30  11   27     
Economics-408 Macro Economics-II            70  25   55        30  11   24     
Economics-409 Environmental Economics-II    70  25   61        30  11   24     
Economics-410 Managerial Economics-I        70  25   51        30  11   26     
Economics-411EA Q.M.E.-I                    70  25   59        30  11   27     
Economics-412EA Industrial Economics-I      70  25   55        30  11   27     
                                           420  --  327       180  --  155     
----------------------------------------  -----------------  ----------------- 
Enrol.No.: 201101900349                   Total: 482 /  600  Result:PASS       
                                          Result Date: 22-AUG-2012            

My results for second semester is out and honestly I am wordless. I am wordless for the fact that I have touched 80% for the first time in my academic life. Right now I am feeling on top of my world. An immense sense of satisfaction is making me dumb and deaf. I have worked hard like never before and I have achieved like never before! 

With this I would like to thank all my Professors who worked very unselfishly and untiringly. Without their dedicated guidance and support I would not have achieved this landmark result. I would also like to thank my senior friends Hema and Sonam for their help. 
Self with Previous Topper Hema.
Last but not the least, I would to extend my gratitude to my parents and my family for bearing my long absence. I dedicate this result to all of you. I thank Kunchok Sum, my principle guardian, Meme Ragula and all my other protective deities of Shingkhar. 

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Amul Man Passes Away at 90

Dr. Verghese Kurien, The father of White Revolution 
Dr. Verghese Kurien, the founding father of amul passed away today (09.09.2012) at the age of 90. Through amol, Dr. Verghese had touched millions both at home and away. He added taste not only to the food but also to their lives in equal proportion. Through his selfless and dedicated statesmanship, he displayed India to the world as a land of prosperity and not a land of poor and poverty as branded quite often by outsiders. Under his farsighted vision and dynamic leadership, India went on to become the largest diary producers in the world! 

So today, I  as a Bhutanese, who wouldn't fancy curry without Amul cheese and tea without amul milk, take this opportunity to offer my prayers and condolences to his bereaved family and to the amul society of India. May his soul rest in peace and may he be reborn as human in his next life too. With this I would also like to convey my sincere gratitude to late Dr. Verghese and team for making my life utterly butterly delicious with various amol products. Thank you all for amul butter, amul cheese, amul taza,  amul shakti, amul buttermilk, amul cool, amul lassi, amul chocolates, amul ice creams, amul pizza and other amul products (the names which I cannot remember).

Amul Logo
His demise is a tragic and his absence will be felt wholeheartedly. But let us not forget the wisdom and insights he left behind to the world. In his biography, "I too had a dream", Dr Verghese tells his story with customary candour. And in a free flowing narrative, he shares with the reader, the essence of dreaming big in achieving big. 
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Eight


..............Judge reminded her to stick on what she had in her initial complain letter and stop meddling with other issues. With that judge once again turned towards the lady and asked her for the last time: "Zhen Lap ne yoe ga?" Finally to my relief she said: Mee la.
With that, the Judge spoke..........
Continued.........

and he spoke without any hesitation. As the judge prepared to announce his decision, I sensed the ward lady shiver. In her sheer desperateness I saw her eyes welled with tears.

And then came the words of the Judge.  Turning towards the lady, he asked: 'Did you realize what wrong you did?'. He paused for a while...... When there was no response from the lady, he then continued: 'this problem had arisen, all because of what you have done. And those things which you have done were all beyond your duty. As a ward lady, whose duty was to maintain cleanliness and guard the doors, you had no reason, what so ever to frequent patients and scold or exercise your control over them'........In between the Judge asked her: 'how many times have you come to the court? ...........and looks like you are the real problem everywhere'

With those words from the Judge, I felt the anxieties and traumas that had so long accumulated in my heart slowly shed. For the first time in over three months, I felt the sweetness in the fragrance of air and the brightness in the day, I felt my heart floating, weightless..............

And the Judge continued further:...... 'People working in the hospital, have a moral obligation to support and show compassion to those sick and needy people and that any form of abuse against them is unlawful'.........With that the Judge was also swift in reprimanding the ward lady for being over zealous. The Judge not only warned her of the consequences of threat call but also reminded her of her official misconduct. After that, Judge ordered us to leave the room and meet the clerk in the office.

By then, I sensed how worried my plaintiff was, -she had played all her cards!. With every passing minute in the court room, she was nearing to taste the bitter aara she brewed herself. How pathetic that she wold he soon hanged with her own noose!!!

At first my heart melted with satisfaction. It bought me pleasure beyond description. I saw my soaring arrogant plaintiff finally being reduced to size of a grasshopper!. Her bitter figure reminded me of two insects that I hated the most, -the house fly and the mosquito. I really wanted her to fall on to her knees! I wanted her to explode in tears!. I wanted her the feel the the same old feeling she made me feel!. All those miserable moments came rushing through my mind like rewinding a movie, - my wife in pain, my broken mother-in-law, my helpless sister, my perplexed father-in-law, my innocent grandmother and finally my wretched self, busy tending to police, day in and day out. 

Once in the clerks room, the clerk told me that, since she was not able to prove anything from her complaint , it was up to me to take the next step, -counter charge her for defamation, libel, threat call, official misconduct and for all the inconveniences caused thereafter. It was a moment of mending my broken heart and I wanted it to be done by buttering it first. I felt the tears of truth and justice oozing out from my eyes uncontrollably. With an outburst of my passion, I told the clerk that I was willing to go to any height to have her doomed. I told him that I want to prove to her that I am stone that is hard and a metal that clangs!! 

With that emotional outburst, the clerk reminded us of our lunch time. But he however he reminded us to come to office before it closes in the evening. 

I stayed back and did't go for lunch. I took a shade under a peach tree and contemplated on the matter. I called up my wife and updated her about the case and  told her that I was going to do the same thing to her. But to my revelation, my wife told me otherwise! -an eye for an eye will leave both blind!

I thought about it for hours and finally decided to side my wife. I went to the court in the evening and told the clerk that I wished to end the case there and that I don't desire to harass a poor lady. To that effect I wrote a final application to the court expressing my desire to end the matter. 

In the mean time, my opponent arrived. She appeared more exhausted and worried than ever. Her fragile body was barely able to withstand the gushing afternoon winds of Thimphu. She was almost near her breakdown point. But I had a good news for her. I told her that I am not going to pursue the case any further. She smiled at last. I told her not bring any more people to the court hereafter. 

That evening, I went home happy and I sent another soul happy home. I didn't even know who actually won the case.

END.
Tashi delek


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Seven


.....With those brief background, I finally proceeded to defend myself. Brimming with confidence, I thought to myself that a simple plain truth would be enough to bring down the soaring wicked plaintiff. At the same time I was also mindful of the potential and possible twists.

continued.....

My first  response to her first accusation, -breaching the hospital norm. (by having more than one maid for my sick wife)

And with due respect I spoke my heart out. I submitted, that she was right. My wife indeed had more than one maid when she was undergoing her final labour pain. But what she did not understand was that we did it upon securing permission from the senior nurse on duty that night. -that too only during my wife's final labour pain. I also explained about how the ward lady turned down our repeated pleas for little compassion form her. I told the jury about how my mother-in-law broke down and how my father-in law, went on to compare her to a Jana Gyelpo in the process of  requesting her. Lastly, I submitted that, "if we did not have enough maid ourselves, nurses in the hospital weren't ready to come and lift my wife to the labour room". That was because there were only handful  nurses (3 nurses) tending to more than 50 patients that night. 

My Second response to her second accusation, -creating havoc in the hospital for the entire day and hence distracting the other patients

Here, I denied her accusations out rightly. And I regarded her as a case of utter shameful person, lying even in the court of law. I told the jury that, although we came to hospital early morning, my sick wife was only able to get a bed in the ward at around noon through one of my sister (who was a trainee at RIHS). I explained to the jury as to how me, my sister and my mother-in-law took turn in the hospital, and there by proving that I wasn't there the "entire day" and that it was solely her illusion that saw my image. Finally to close this accusation I told the jury that "except few dogs that created havoc in the stinking toilet nearby, there weren't any sick person or nervous maids capable of creating havoc or distracting anybody". Judge smiled at this point and I smiled too..

My Third response to her third and fourth accusation, -using undue force, harassing  and battering her while she was on duty. (which indeed was the main contention)

"Your honor, this is the only valid contention" I said, boldly. "And this matter has reached to its current height all because of her malicious intention against my family" I added further. I submitted to the jury that, if I had used undue force to harass her and batter her, then why didn't the police take any action against me that very night. I explained to jury as to how swift she was in intimating police. I also explained as to how she disobeyed her administrative officer and senior nurse on duty (to solve the matter amicably). And I felt my throat choking when I explained to jury about how I ended up attending to the police, when the real need for me was to attend to my sick wife. I also explained about my subsequent struggles visiting police station on different occasions, leaving behind my vulnerable wife and infant daughter.....

With that, I submitted to court that, I neither had the intention nor the energy to kick her, for I was thoroughly exhausted, both mentally and physically that day. I told the jury as to how she was cursing my family in front of so many strangers and how she was blocking my way while I was in to collect some cloths for my wife and my new  born (expected). I closed my submission by asking the jury... "its up to the law to decide whether my slight push on her to clear the way could constitute battery and harassment"

Lastly........I added,... "your honor, I think its me who was (is)  really being harassed to the core....... not by the genuine hospital staff, but by a ward lady!" In fact she harassed me everywhere. -not only in the hospital but even at my own work place! with that I readied myself to present the evidence to to jury in which I had details of phone calls she made to me at my workplace and her recorded voice threatening me with imprisonment. Worst, when she said, she had in her recent past, imprisoned her poor husband was something I stressed further!

But the Jude told me to keep the evidence for a while. I was of the opinion that Judge was more interested in hearing my full story than get distracted by a piece of evidence. So I had to continue with my final response 

But before that, I made myself very clear on one point That was: I reminded the court that, she would be my ultimate first suspect, should something happen to my kids and to my entire family. Because she dared to collect my information both form me and as well from other sources. I told the jury that I felt very unsecured after her threatening call.

To this, judge paused me for a while and turned to the ward lady and asked her, Che ge khu luu telefom chap che lo. eena? and she meekly said, een la. So,with that I felt my victory an inch closer.

My Final response to her accusation, -threatening her by way of using my influential relatives.

I told the jury that, I have indeed asked one of my relatives to apologize her on my behalf but that did not in any way meant I was guilty at all!. In fact I expressed my deepest regret for having apologized her when she didn't deserve one.  I told the jury, how saddened I was that my good intentions were grossly misunderstood by a poor soul. I even admitted to the jury about my willingness to richly compensate her, provided she stopped her useless enterprise for good. With that I told that it was up to the jury to find out as to what my relative had spoken to her. I also told the jury that, I honestly did not know as to whether my relative was an influential person in the very first place. and secondly, I was cent percent aware that law treats every citizen with equal term.

Lastly, I went on to close my defense by telling the jury that, if at all  I had so called an influential person behind me, then I would not have landed taking my better half to a stinking and crowded ward handed by a malicious person like the Plaintiff, in the very first place.

After that, there was a complete silence for few seconds. But however judge on the throne broke our  silence. He again turned towards the lady and asked "Choe lay lap ne yoe ga?"

But, She said Yoe la. I was surprised but not confused or nervous like before.

Like a person with lost mind, her attention after that was to a totally different area. She started complaining about the Police!. Before she was abrputly stopped by a Judge, she murmured about how biased police officers had been towards her. She also complained about my uncle, who visited me in the police station by stating that he influenced the decision of police. By then I definitely sensed desperateness seeping in her.

Judge reminded her to stick on what she had in her initial complain letter and stop meddling with other issues. With that judge once again turned towards the lady and asked her for the last time, "Zhen Lap ne yoe ga?"  Finally to my relief she said Mee la.

With that, Judge spoke.

To be continued.............................................

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Six

.........The contents were outrageously exaggerated that I found it totally unpleasant. I found the contents not worthy of being written in Dzongkha and that it was bitterly disgracing the language that represented Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, -the ultimate truth.

Continued........

When the clerk was finally done with his reading, I came to know the charges against me. I was so attentive that I almost remembered all the charges by heart. Firstly, she accused me of breaching the hospital norm. (by having more than one maid for my sick wife.) Secondly, she accused me of creating havoc in the hospital for the entire day and hence distracting the other patients. Thirdly, she accused me of using undue force and harassing her.   Fourthly, she accused me of battering her while she was on duty, (which indeed was the main contention.) She exaggerated the incident and said that I kicked her on the chest and she fell some distance away. Fifthly, she also accused me of threatening her by way of using my influential relatives.  

After Hearing the charges, I thought to myself that, she could have well become a great fiction writer or a great essayist. But in court of law, with those fictionalized story, she appeared nothing more than a creature far stupid than one you could possibly think of. 

And the Judge Ordered me to defend myself against charges. But before I proceeded to defend myself, I took permission from judge so that I could explain the general background of the entire story.

Apart form my own story, I explained to judge as to how the patients in the maternity ward were treated that day and the how crowded it had been. I also explained about the appalling sanitary conditions that day. Lastly, when a lone ward lady drained down all my expectations and esteem I had for the hospital, I told the judge about how miserable I felt and how much I regretted for having brought my wife to Thimphu.

With those brief background, I finally proceeded to defend myself. Brimming with confidence, I thought to myself that a simple plain truth would be enough to bring down the soaring wicked plaintiff. At the same time I was also mindful of the potential and possible twists.

To be continued........

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Five

...........So I waited. And exactly after two days, I got a court directive from Paro Court instructing me to proceed to Thimphu court "without fail" the immediate day. I was further directed to make my appearance in the Bench II of the Thimphu district Court.............


Continued.......

I took the order very seriously. I took it as my fundamental duty of upholding the law. Upholding the law in any case, as I knew was a serious affair and I thought any degree of complacency would not be tolerated. So I made it a point that I observe every formalities with strict adherence. 

That day, I was prepared to face the truth and justice and therefore I was more eager than ever to move out from my house.  As I grabbed the car key and my kabney, Kinley wished me good luck. I took a day off by telling a white lie to my supervisor. -a lie that won't harm or create any disharmony. With an air of optimism, I told her that, I needed to go to Thimphu on a very urgent personal errand and that I would be back in the evening. She was swift in granting a day off for me. 

So I reached to the said court in time. I showed up to the clerk and he told me wait for my turn. As the hours passed by, the number of people in the court's vicinity swelled. Surprisingly, I came across many people whom I knew personally. I felt embarrassed to admit my case and so were they!

Towards afternoon, I was called inside along with the plaintiff. It was by far the most overwhelming feeling.  But to my realization I sensed that the fear and anxieties I had for so many days, have suddenly evaporated. I sensed myself becoming bolder and braver. The adrenalin of much needed courage and confidence seem to be exploding in me and I felt the lawyer in me kicking thunderously! I felt happy at the fact that I was finally moving to set myself free with the aid of justice and law and not through pleas.

So I entered the court room for the first time in quest for the justice. It was dimly lit room where the total silence prevailed. We were made to stand in front of the judge who was perched on the throne even bigger than the Kings'. I had to raise my head to actually see the face of the judge. There he was with his mouth reddened with the stains of doma. With his green scarf and long sword, he appeared more majestic than the word Majesty itself. Below his throne, there was a Rabjam and with him was a clerk.

I took a step forward and bowed towards the Judge in reverence to the law and the justice he embodied. As to the ward Lady, -the plaintiff, she simply stood blind and blank, like a stick, completely useless and arrogant as ever. I didn't think she could be that dull. She displayed no respect to the law.

Once we were all settled, the clerk then read out the complaint submitted by the plaintiff (on top of his voice). I listened  to the complaint with both my ears, with full concentration. The complain was meticulously written  in best of the Dzongka that for once I doubted about the Dzongkha moving towards extinction. However, I soon lost interest listening to it.

The contents were outrageously exaggerated that I found it totally unpleasant. I found the contents not worthy of being written in Dzongkha and that it was bitterly disgracing the language that represented  Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, -the ultimate truth.

To be continued..............................................................................
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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Four

................After that the days elapsed to weeks and weeks to months, But there was nothing forthcoming. Everything in my life was normal except that ward lady who was eating away my mental peace. By then I joined my office too. My little daughter was recovering from her jaundice and was doing fine. Again deep deep deep inside, I was mentally gearing for the first court case of my life. A book on "criminal proceeding in Bhutan" by a Judge named Lungten Drupjor came in Handy! I read it from top to bottom and bottom to top.


And Finally after more than two months, I got a call from a strange and unusual number.....

Continued.......


I was in my office then, -quite busy for any private affairs. But however I answered the call. It was a lady with a very familiar voice on the other end. Without even being asked, she introduced herself to be the ward lady, -that cunning and horrible ward lady. 

 She told me that she just desired to confirm about my details including my current and permanent addresses, -both home and office. I don't know from where she managed but surprisingly, she got all my details correct!. I asked her why she needed my details. And she was transparent enough to tell me about her motives, -that she was finally lodging a legal complain to the court against me!

I went wordless and I felt a chilling sensation running all through my spine. I was prepared to win the case by a margin of hundred percent, But "what-if-I-should-loose-the-case?' was the immediate thing that struck my mind. It brought me more questions than I could possibly answer in my life time. How would my parents react to it? How would my family take it? How would my friends and relatives take such a disappointment from me? Such were the questions that flashed and dazzled in my perturbed mind. However before she put off the phone, I managed to tell her that I am prepared to face her in any court. But at the same time, I also warned her of the consequences, should she fail to prove me guilty. To this she threateningly told me that, she had in her recent past, even put her husband behind the bars and that there was little or no reason why she should act different to me. 

But later many more thoughts crossed my mind. I was ten thousand times more terrified than ever for the fact that I had everything to loose, if I should loose the case. I was fearful for the fact that I might loose my life time opportunity to serve my King and the Country to my full potential. In all those thoughtful hours, I felt my world crumbling. I felt my dreams shattering. I felt the pains of my parents. I felt the dejection of my family. I felt the sympathy of my friends. But just like the silver lining in the dark cloud, all those painful feelings made me more determined to fight to the last with absolute resoluteness. 

I marked all her words from our telephonic conversation. And I was determined to use all her words against her odd in the court of law, so I saved her number and recorded her voice with all the details. Should the need arise, I was even willing to exaggerate the matter a bit. My stakes were high and I needed all the support in what ever form it came. And to my realization, it came from a person none other than the plaintiff herself. She took a bold step in calling me, -the defendant, with her threatening message. So I thought, I got the Achilles heel to hang on and strike it when the right time comes.  

So I waited and waited. And exactly after two days, I got a court directive from Paro Court  instructing me to proceed to Thimphu court "without fail" the immediate day. I was further directed to make my appearance in the Bench II of the Thimphu district Court.



To be continued.............................................

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Three

As I walked out, I told the ward lady to carefully weigh the pros and cons of getting herself entangled in her futile act fueled by nothing, but greed. I felt more confident and more bold. I approached the ward lady, one more time and told her that she wont gain anything from this enterprise and that I would make myself available anywhere any time to defend my innocence 


But she was even more determined to take the case further on her own.

Continued...................

For her, taking the case further meant only one thing. She clearly indicated that she would soon proceed to the court. Although determined to defend myself to the last, deep inside I felt bitterly embarrassed. The slightest thought of the incident made me feel confused. It made me feel nervous and at times angry too. But deep deep inside, I also felt that there was a genuine need for me bring that drama to its end, once and for all.

So for the first time in my life, I tried to use the; so called influence. I called on Doctor, -A neuro surgeon, who is my second cousin's husband. Although we never met personally, we knew each other quite well through telephonic conversations. So one fine day, I took all the guts in me and dialed his number. I explained to him the kind of predicament I was in and that I needed his help as a matter of urgency. I remember fumbling with words in between but I made my points clear to him. I told him to talk to the ward lady and bring the curtain of my case permanently down. Although not so reassuring, I sensed lot of positivity in his words. He said he would do his best.

But, it was nonetheless disappointing to hear from him. He told me that the lady was still cold and cruel as ever and wouldn't even listen to him. In fact it was through him, that I came to know that the lady was preparing for a court case against me. To some extent, I felt that my repeated pleas had in fact emboldened her to act against me with more intensity.

After that the days elapsed to weeks and weeks to months, But there was nothing forthcoming. Everything in my life was normal except that ward lady who was eating away my mental peace. By then I joined my office too. My little daughter was recovering from her jaundice and was doing fine. Again deep deep deep inside, I was mentally gearing for the first court case of my life. A book on "criminal proceeding in Bhutan" by a Judge named Lungten Drupjor came in Handy! I read it from top to bottom and bottom to top.

And Finally after more than two months, I got a call from a strange and unusual number.



To be continued...............
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Remembering My First Court Case, Part Two

Nurses on duty were unusually quite and wouldn't speak a word to me. But in between the lady started calling the Police.
Continued......

Inside, the Nurses were busy attending to Kinley and outside some strange, rather unexpected things were taking shape. From no where a group of Police showed up like those Pizza delivery boys in India. I was soon called out. As expected, they interrogated me and I gave my full co-operation. It was then, I came to know that a lady was a ward lady, whose duty was to clean up the wards and maintain a required sanitary level in the wards. 

She was adamant and she insisted that it was a case of battery. She also insisted that our case needs further attention and hence needs to be taken to a appropriate place for settlement. For her, appropriate place meant one thing, -Police station. But however the the officer on duty rejected her case, for she couldn't produce any on-spot evidence nor any reliable eye witness. The officer told me to behave and he left the scene. 

For once, I thought to myself that we have police officers who were more humanely and homely than people in the Hospital. I also thought to myself that I came to hospital seeking much needed help and support, but felt thoroughly harassed in the process. I felt disheartened to the brim. It was even more bitter feeling that our referral hospital lacked people who were trained to deal with human emotion and anxieties. Even nurses weren't any better that night. Forget about sorting out the things that went miserably wrong, they all sympathized the ward lady. Worse, one nurse was my former school mate. It reminded me of a adage; wolfs  will support only wolfs in the den. 

By the time I was done with police, my wife gave birth to Sonam. I walked in with tears rolling down my cheeks. I could fell my heart panting and my lungs running short of oxygen. I took a long deep breath and continued walking in. I felt sorry for not being the first person to touch my daughter, but nevertheless, I felt overwhelmed all over that my wife was safe and so was my daughter. I thanked god and I personally went to thank those nurses on duty. 

But next morning, It was yet another surprise. I got a call from Police station and I was asked to report immediately. At that moment, I felt the ward lady was really up-to something. I got myself dressed and immediately rushed to the police station. I was greeted by a young lady officer. She offered me a cup of black tea and after which she took my statement.  She told me to come gain the next day. But I insisted that our case be resolved within the earliest possible time period.  To this the officer told me to to either wait or compromise the case between the two of us. 

I felt her idea worthwhile and suddenly I found my self begging the ward lady to withdraw the case.  I told her I would compensate her with a cash. I remember making several pleas to her only to be turned down abruptly. It appeared to me that, someone from behind was guiding her all through. I saw her worn out phone being over burdened that day. So I also told her that I would give her a brand new phone, if only she could consent to my plea. I did this not because I would be proven guilty but I needed more time to stay with my new born daughter and  my recovering wife. 

After 2 days, I was again called back to the police station. The officer had a good news. She told me that Ward lady's medical report came out clean. Of course I was relieved to hear that but I refuted the officer by saying that she should have a medical report taken immediately on that day and not after 2 or 3 days. But the officer told me to calm down. As she could not charge sheet me to the court for the lack of evidence, she told me to leave. I felt immensely happy to hear that. 

As I walked out, I told the ward lady to carefully weigh the pros and cons of getting herself entangled in her futile act fueled by nothing, but greed. I felt more confident and more bold. I approached the ward lady, one more time and told her that she wont gain anything from this enterprise and that I would make myself available anywhere any time to defend my innocence 

But she was even more determined to take the case further on her own. 

To be continued......................

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