All Bhutanese have a reason to look at the future with hope especially after being shepherded to democracy.We have now entered into a new era. We are at the threshold of building a prosperous nation which is also spiritually contended despite many challenges ahead of us. We are a brand new democratic country which has just broken the egg shell and come out after being contended inside the shell for so long.
However, while looking at the future, we are also looking at changing some of the old thinking in the wake of democracy and be renewed by the spirit of democracy and evolve to make it all inclusive by taking all sections of society especially the youths.
Most youths today are so uncertain in their attitude toward their own lives. It is because they all are on the edge where one age merges into another. They cannot live on in the age their parents lived some two or three decades ago to which all the parents and their grand parents are accustomed to and at the same time they are not yet qualified for twenty—first century world either. We never prepared them for that.
And for this very reason the schools in Bhutan today have a role to consider much beyond the daily curriculum. The schools need to understand the background and future of the students and their emotional functioning. It needs to offer help in the change from childhood to maturity. The school can show paths and the student would follow toward something of great value.
So the word “Renewal” is very important for all of us because we live in the era of constant change in all areas of lives. Bhutan has undergone many transformation since His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuk came to throne. In fact, the speed of the change has been very swift especially in the last decade and it is expected to come in full force from now on. Therefore, there is a need to look at protecting constitutional right and cultural identity.
Bhutanese have always been guided by the wisdom of the Kings until the last election and would continue to be guided but in the wake of new political changes, we are reminded now to stay guard and protect our rights. It no more guarantees the right automatically as is being believed unless one stands to protect and defend it.
Cultural identity is important not only at the country level but also at the village, household and individual level because people first are themselves before they are part of the family, village and country. However, the idea is not to distance ourselves but to respect the otherness of others and also make it more tolerant in terms of nationality, ethnicity and languages. In a small country like Bhutan, public recognition of the individual identity has great implications to define meaning of our citizenship. Being artist, singer, journalists, adventurer, explorer, social worker, volunteer, writer, etc, all add to individual identity. We learn to melt with the rest of the citizens by melting our own individualism and then become Bhutanese Artist, Bhutanese Adventurer, Bhutanese Singer, Bhutanese Writer, etc. The extent of this recognition can have great impact on the way we look at our youths.
Therefore, we are now looking at someone who can provide us not just heritages passed down from our great grand parents and parents but the new ways of looking at life. We today need multiple heritages like new form of arts, literatures, music, adventures and pioneering challenges. Only then can we define our basic freedoms as our democratic ways of life. We need an assembly not just of talking politicians who cannot live upto their own campaign promises but also of people who have creative spirits. It is time to look beyond. We need people who want to push forward the frontiers of science, culture and religion through exploration, adventure, challenge and imagination. Only then will the Bhutanese learn to share the values and beliefs that older generations dreamt and share. Today, many Bhutanese face the challenge of defining the democracy in its truest sense and not being able to reach to be responsible for the common future of all. We can only learn to accept the responsibility of common future if young people are shown world beyond home, television and school text books.
We are looking at that future where every man and every woman can find a place for himself or herself suiting his or her likings and capabilities. Youth’s idea of democracy is a chance to live beyond just three meals a day and place to sleep. It needs to be provided with sickle to harvest extraordinary abilities in many ordinary people and also be given the ladder to those extraordinary people to reach for the stars. Young generations today are suffocated under the weight of bureaucrats whose thinking have never changed ever since they joined their duty some three decades ago. Therefore, there is a hope that the democracy would provide for new ideas to live on and also create a new political tradition that we can all be proud of.
Bhutan shall never forget that democracy is not created out of nothing in the space. It is the result of priceless experience of a selfless monarch. Nothing can ever replace that piece of history and it would be a tragedy if someone cut it short to suit them and feed on it in the name of democracy which sadly is true and existing in many organizations across the country.
Only when we break from these barriers would the democracy be more meaningful. Being Bhutanese is beyond smiling at the tourist’s camera and claiming that we are happy. It is about finding creative heritage in youths. Then we can say that we are a proud Bhutanese in unison.