Posted on 22 October 2011 by editor
By Yati Raj Ajnabee
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Wangchuck,
Tashichodzong, Thimphu, Bhutan
I often used to think of writing to you since I was out on the run but I had no access to internet then and even if I chanced to get it, I could definitely not pour my opinion as securely as I am doing at the moment. The Allah in me wants clandestinely to whisper the long-eared Buddha within you an opportune lesson so as to prevent your ecstatic face from being grown long in the long run. I am really saddened to sadden you at this romantic time of your youth with this prosaic but noteworthy letter. I am fully aware that I should have offered you a bouquet of congratulations contextually but I have been left with no more choice than sending you a message of my tragic meeting with the creator, on the contrary. You might have already set out on a trip to India for a wonderful honeymoon when you receive this memo.
Stimulated by the events in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, remonstrations and demonstrations in opposition to my four-decade despotism had began only a short while ago and I am no more what I was and had been for years but more than one sixth of your country’s population have been evicted from their homesteads for more than a couple of decades. I tried a lot to hold back the rebels’ uprising and continued being hardnosed and was determined to reduce the rebellion to pulps but their stubborn resistance against my dictatorship was so strong that I am finally brutally killed one week right after your wedding, on the same day. I begged them to show mercy on me but they turned deaf ears to my plea. As we unquestionably fall in the same category, you must have taken the scene of blood streaming down my face to your heart. Death is inevitable, every soul knows it for sure, but I have to die at a rebel’s hands. When I die at the age of 69, I should not have undergone such shattering and disturbing passing away. You and your people must have watched my catastrophe and wild jubilations it has brought in the Libyan lanes via Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) telecast. People away from Bhutan stand agape when they come to know that Bhutan, the only nation in the world to impose embargo on television broadcast, has lifted the ban only for a few years now. Thank god the recently installed telecast service only accessible to the capital-dwellers for more than a year has been extended nationwide in the first quarter of 2006.
Educated in a London college as a student of International Relations and Psychology, the commoner-turned-royal, Mrs. Wangchuk, you obviously know the severity of the Bhutanese civilians’ suffering despite the fact that you were only three months old when people swarmed the southern streets in protest against the then King’s policy of One Nation One People, cataloguing of people into seven categories, Driglam Namzha and exclusion of Nepali language in the academic curriculum, in 1990. You can play a key role as an intermediary between the royals along with the royalists and the hoi polloi that hunger after multi-dimensional shift to modernism, sincerely taking note of the global tempo.
I came to know that your government has recently pronounced the groundwork of erecting a Hindu temple in Thimphu which the international community will consider it as an apt move to reflect that there is the existence of religious tolerance in Bhutan but the majority of the conscious Hindu souls within Bhutan and in the diaspora have taken this otherwise. They interrogate why not in Tsirang or Sarpang, Dagana or Samtse? According to them, this is another episode of Gross National Happiness (GNH) melodrama to pull the wool over public and international eyes that Bhutan is not what it has been reported as by the evictees. Why can’t you have the government build it where the Hindu worshippers’ concentration is high—in the south? They strongly argue that if the landmark with the same worth is put up in the aforementioned spots, the foreign visitors would get chance of feeling the people’s pulse and knowing the country’s reality. With this plot, it’s decided thus.
You are in the early thirties and twenties respectively. The gladdest thing is you have plenty of time to do without thinking about the torture and suffocations your immediate predecessor have imposed on the commoners and begging pardon from them and put real democracy into practice in the country.
It’s your high time to correct the past flaws committed by your progenitor and commence a tolerant, cohesive, inclusive and dynamic governance so that you should not have to run away and be caught like me in the evening of your life. Do not violate the people’s basic human rights. Repatriate those citizens still languishing in the refugee camps and create a conducive environment too to the resettled ones who opt to return to their native land with dignity. Reinstate the displaced ones, rebuild the people’s properties destructed by the government right after the 1990 protest, return their confiscated effects, reopen the closed schools and renovate the unventilated Tashichho Dzong to begin with. As a commonplace dead leader, I don’t like to bug a royal brain furthermore but be loyal to the diverse population of your country. I want you not only to count the beads of the wreath every morning and evening but also spare some time to work out the number of years Bhutan has lagged behind. I have nothing to do with your spinning of the prayer wheels but like you to find out the speed at which the world is changing its direction. I definitely don’t beg to differ with your mores of chanting these four holy words: Om Mane Padme Hum but would like to urge you at the same time to emphasize on these four significant components: Language, Costume, Religion and Ethnicity too which a fine-looking tapestry of prosperous community is woven of and with.
I didn’t realise that a ruler who strongly sticks only to his vested interest has to be inhumanely overthrown and put to death sooner or later. Had I implemented the way Hosni Mubarak, the second Tunisian President and the last Nepalese King did, I would have not only enjoyed the rest of my life but also got a chance to cleanse myself from those guilt and sins I have committed.
Finally, dear Mr. and Mrs. Wangchuk, listen to your people’s voice and never rule out their choice. Being the youngest Monarch on the planet, please do take this message from the longest-ruling Arab leader, who is even older than your father, seriously. By now, ruling a nation with an iron fist must have been a matter of what went before.
The writer is Editor of Bhutaneseliterature.com and blogs at http://yatirajajnabee.wordpress.com/