Thursday, May 28th, 2015 - 9:56 PM
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Pilgrimage to Bodhgaya: An experience

I returned from a 10-day pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, the holiest pilgrimage site for Buddhists. I have been fortunate to be able to visit this holy place a number of times in the past. I would like to share my experiences and observations from then and now. The juxtapositions have been quite enriching as well as revealing. The number of Bhutanese pilgrims going to Bodhgaya has gone up exponentially. Some days almost half of the people circumambulating the sacred choeten were Bhutanese. Many were proudly in [... Read More]

Digital Privacy: Issues and Challenges in Bhutan

UntitledThe official website of Royal Bhutan Police was hacked in April 2011 (Source: ThimphuTech)

Introduction Web based technology is increasing growing. Internet and social media is a great place to share news, connect with friends and do online shopping. The speed of the Internet has led us to be flexible and changing in life style and how we communicate with each other. Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website.  It makes easy for us to connect, share and maintain contacts with family, friends and colleagues. According to the Social Media Hat (2015), there are 1.39 billion monthly [... Read More]

What will it take to civilise us?


A four-part tongue-in-cheek attempt to ferret out the distinctive features that validate an educated person Part III The three ‘C’ steps of a civilising process JUST as enlightened beings have thirty-two ‘excellent’ signs, so do civilised mortals, their less grand peers, own a more modest three.  Unlike the Buddha’s, though, these latter emblems are not bodily marks, but symbols of a subtler sort. To cut to the chase, the three c-for-criteria to attain civilised status, in order of increasing import, are courtesy, civic sense and [... Read More]

International Women’s Day – picture an equal world!

On every 8th of March since 1975, thousands of events have been organised on International Women’s Day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women all over the world. But this is not merely an observance; it is also an opportunity to call for greater equality. International Women’s Day in 2015 is celebrated under the theme “Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” We are asked to envision a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices about her body and [... Read More]

A Malady Called Rural-Urban Migration: Part IX

TurnipFarmers need quick and economic means to access markets for their produce

If we are serious about reversing rural-urban migration, the priority should be working towards creating a conducive atmosphere for income generation. We take pride in declaring ourselves as an agrarian society yet, we have allowed our farmers to be totally disenchanted with farming turning them into consumers, from their traditional role of producers. Food self-sufficiency is said to be at the core of our development planning for the past four decades. Allowing our farmers to abandon their farms and villages isn’t the best strategy to [... Read More]

A Malady Called Rural-Urban Migration: Part VIII

Solar-FencingSolar fencings are effective in guarding crops from wild animals

The series of articles on the subject of rural-urban migration – numbering seven so far – have mainly focused on the principal causes that contributed to this malady. While a number of other causes have aggravated the problem to a lesser degree, clearly the principal causes, in order of severity, can be attributed to: 1.  Predation by wildlife; 2.  Poor access to markets; 3.  Education system; and 4.  Lack of support and leadership in tackling the problem. Predation by wildlife: This is the biggest problem [... Read More]

A malady called rural-urban migration Part VIII

MacaqueEnemy number one: Macaques are tormenting farmers

I have been often cautioned to refrain from being “emotional” when writing about important issues. People say that one fails to be “objective” when one is emotional. But the case of Goongtongs is a very, very emotional issue. I cannot believe that unless one is extremely callous, one cannot help but be emotional. The suffering is just too great, and the apathy of the elected leaders and the bureaucrats even greater. Something fundamental has to have gone wrong with the Bhutanese society if a section [... Read More]

A malady called rural-urban migration Part IV

Stuffed-Tiger-3Desperate or clever? Many farmers resort to using stuffed toy tigers to scare monkeys

Undoubtedly, the proliferation of the malaise called “Goongtong” in the Eastern dzongkhags has been mainly caused by: Wildlife predation and, Youth abandoning village homes in search of better livelihood. However, there appears to be a number of other players that aggravate the problem further. They can be identified as:   Zhabto Lemi/Goongdung Woola Poor access to markets Puritanical/Dogmatic religious beliefs Baby sitting Divergent census Vs real population figures   Zhabto lemi/goongdung woola: You may call it Goongdung Woola or you may choose to call it [... Read More]

A malady called rural-urban migration Part III


While the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules and Acts may be the cause célèbre that encourage rampant predation by animals on human crops and livestock, the principal cause for Goontongs, there appears to be other causes that contribute to declining rural population and disenchantment with life in the villages. The inordinate implementation of the commitment made at the 1990 Jomtien World Conference on Education for All, seems to have played a significant role in the annual migration of rural population to urban centers – particularly [... Read More]

A Malady Called Rural-Urban Migration Part II

A-Village-Home-2Abandoned? A goongtong in Tongmijangsa, Trashiyangtse

In recent times, the media – particularly Kuensel, has been reporting on a brand new social malady called Goongtong – the apathetic case of abandoned households in the rural areas of Eastern dzongkhags. Other than arousing a mild sense of curiosity generated by the term itself, the tragedy that is Goontong does seem to have created much flutter among the authorities. If it did, there is no sign of it. Goongtong is a term derived from the combination of two independent words: “Goong” meaning household, [... Read More]

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