: The Bhutanese Lhotshampas form the integral community of Bhutan, both in theory and practice. The Ngalungs are immigrants from Tibet, who had settled in the northern Bhutan believed to be from the seventh century. They are now the ruling elites. The Lhotshampas are immigrants from Nepal and India settled in southern Bhutan, migrated into Bhutan before 13th century. The Sharchop community is another important community living in the eastern Bhutan even prior to arrivals of Ngalungs and Lhotshampas.
The arrival of monk Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal from Ralung of Tibet to Bhutan is considered a watershed moment in the history of Bhutan. He even proved beyond doubt that Nepali-speaking community was living as citizens of Bhutan before his arrival. Zhabdrung defeated all his rivals and established his authority in Bhutan in 1616 AD. He even visited king Ram Shah of Gorkha in 1624 AD and officially requested for Gorkha settlers in Bhutan as architects and to defend the southern frontiers, thus immaculately recognizing the southern belt as home of the Lhotshampas.
Bhutan is composed of these three major ethnic communities migrated to Bhutan during various periods. All three communities have their own languages, culture and social behavior. In Bhutan, to be unquestioningly fair, out of three languages, Nepali is more commonly spoken because of its simple and motivating vocabulary. Dzongkha and Sharchop (Thangla) are also popularly spoken by different Bhutanese communities. Dzongkha, mostly spoken by the Ngalungs, is made compulsory in the schools and declared as national language by the regime, though not popularly admired in many ways. We have accepted Dzongkha language as our national language but, we take into consideration that other popular languages should also be respected and recognized as national languages. In whatever level it may transpire we share all three languages in our daily life. However, we find that even the government-run media have not been using Nepali language in the way it should have been used, may be to show to the outsiders that it is not popular and deny its recognition.
Whatever may be the unsympathetic approach of the regime, we ceaselessly believed the Buddhist king, and even accepted that the Wangchuck family is guided by Buddha’s preaching of peace and love for the mankind, non-violence and peaceful co-existence. For this reason, all the citizens had highly regarded the relation. We never had any type of enmity or discontent towards royal elites and function of its government. We never showed our resentment for how much the autocratic government and its elites were anarchist in fulfilling their own wellbeing and happiness. But, today the Lhotshampas are called illegal immigrants and with various synonyms of this kind. We find ourselves cornered and made to face politically motivated callous strategy of the regime to continue remain in its den. Surely, some Lhotshampas, Sharchops and even Ngalungs who yearn for justice may possibly be evicted from the country by egocentric rulers to establish their regulation but, without doubt such rulers have to vanish in complete forever since, for all the Bhutanese it is fundamental to save Bhutan and get rid of Anarchists. We are confident this testament will go into history, as it is the reality we Bhutanese irrespective of our racial backgrounds, religion, culture or language understand and awesomely desire. And, this is our broadened harmonious foundation of the Bhutanese identity.
I am not writing immigration account of different communities in Bhutan as I have not found reliable and comparatively written books about this nor I am making my own chronicle but, I am wording the simple facts which can be experienced even now. To be very acceptable, the Bhutanese history of immigration is not recorded in the correct way it should have been by the writers who have written about Bhutan. Some rulers, who invited foreign writers to write the country’s history, orchestrated them to believe their own version of account and those writers have written books to suit the interest of t rulers. But, truth cannot be distorted for long time nor can be defeated by writing own make-believe history.
The Ngalungs, who live in the northern part and claim to be original citizens of Bhutan, never visited the southern belt until the 19th century, as they knew barely about geographical location of the country and also due to fear of malaria. Whereas, Lhotshampas who for centuries lived in southern part toiled and sweated hard to make the malaria infected lands suitable for human settlement and cultivation are today being questioned for their existence in Bhutan. They were mercilessly evicted and made to suffer as refugees. The fact Lhotshampas were in Bhutan since centuries is also proved by the names of places, villages and rivers in old southern Bhutan. The names of places, villages, rivers and districts in southern belt carry our lingual, ethnic and cultural identity. This is the testimony to the historical facts of our existence in the country. Maps of Bhutan with these names are available to testify the account today. Surprisingly, the shameless rulers today have started renaming places and rivers aimed at erasing our existence in the country and blindfolding the world.
Editor’s note: Facts and views presented in the article are entirely based on author’s finding and do not necessarily reflect the official stance of the Bhutan News Service.