The campus seen in this picture is of Goshi Junior High School (GJHS). I dedicate this article in memory of honorable teachers of this school late K.G Nair, B.B Biswa and N.P Regmi, former headmaster, English and Nepali teacher respectively. May their sacred soul rest in peace, may god grace the families of these departed souls the power of endurance to bear the loss. My profound love and respect continues to other teachers who taught me during my kindergarten through junior high schooling in this school.
Goshi school construction began in 1963. The building was completed and first batch of students enrolled in primary classes in 1965. Since then, thousands of students acquired education in this school, over 500 graduated from this school, after twenty six glorious years of remarkable success, it closed the door effecting from September 26,1990. The Royal Bhutan Army occupied this campus on November 5, 1990 and turned it into an army base, a detention center. Till today the army occupies it. During those glorious years it was a temple of knowledge, the seat of Goddess Saraswati, one and only heart and soul of people of Dagapela (a sub-division in Dagana district,Dagapela stands for confluence of Daga and Pele river), but today there is no word that is fit to describe the misery of this shrine.
Goshi is the name of a village in Dagapela sub-division, the villages in proximity to and including Goshi village is named Goshi block. So the school built in Goshi village was named after the village. This picture is taken from the east, landscape is sloping down towards north. The U- shaped building seen among cluster of three red roofed buildings facing each other is the main school building built in 1965. The two storied building in front of the main building is the additional classroom built in 1975;cottages seen on the hill west of playground are teacher quarters; red roofed one storied building seen on south east of the ground is the hostel; white roofed house seen behind the main school is the ancestral house of my beloved teachers D R Gautam and Keeran Gautam; white roofed house at northeast corner of the ground is the house of Phendua Kaila. Red roofed house seen further west of main school building is the house of late Bisweswor Lakai who attained martyrdom in 1990. To the west of main school building and north of Lakai’s house there used to stand a traditional house, where my late mother was born. Unfortunately, that house and its occupants which meant everything to me seems couldn’t withstand the brutality. Villages seen in this picture are parts of upper Goshi, Majua, Gadmala and Bhaleygaun villages and the majestic hill seen in this picture is Deorali Danda.
One can behold entire view of picturesque Dagapela from Deorali Danda; Tashidin, suntoley and Goshi block in the east and Emeray and Dorona block in the west.In fact Deorali pretty much divides Dagapela into two halves. Deorali witnessed the welcome of first Nepali speaking settlers by Daga Penlop (provincial governor of Daga) in the second half of nineteenth century. It beheld the civilization flourish over a century, it watched the mass slaughter of language, culture and society in the eighties and nineties and it is observing the slow slaying of remaining generation today. Under the cover of fake happiness and sham compassion, hatred and discrimination lingers on the land, fear and intimidation looms over the sky, plea for justice is unheard, heinous crime against Nepali speaking citizens continues.
When this school was built, Goshi was a three days walk from the nearest motorable road head which was in Kalikhola. During 1963 and 1964, every single household of Dagapela sub-division contributed 15 days free labor at the school construction site and carried one back breaking load of building materials from Kalikhola every year. Where the playground is today, it was a marshy paddy field then. One can see 25 -30 feet cut mud walls on the south and west side of the ground, and can imagine the volume of soil moved to level this play ground. The whole of the cutting and leveling of the wetland was done with bare hands using only the traditional shovel, pickaxe, spades and chafla (improvised bamboo stretcher used to move soil ). To drain out the water source at the south end of the ground, a mini tunnel was dug out underneath. On the north end of the ground they built about 30 feet high wall against the steep slope to make this play ground leveled. Every piece of rock, every crumb of soil, every slice of materials used in this compound is soaked with sweat and blood of people of Dagapela. All the sacrifice and volunteering by the community of Dagapela was to impart education to their children, but not to house the Royal army of the modern era. Housing camouflaged soldiers in a school building is not only an injustice to the living but also disgrace and dishonor to the dead.
GJHS was one among the first school selected to introduce OXFAM funded agriculture farming as compulsory co- curricular activities in the country. Until 1985 this was the best school of Dagana district in both academic as well as co-curricular activities and one of the top performing school of southern Bhutan.
SHRIG SAGA, A Centenary Tribute, published by Centre for Educational Research & Development , Paro College of Education, Royal University of Bhutan (RUB),to which foreword is written by Thinley Gyamtsho, as Trustee RUB Council and preface written by Zangley Drukpa, Vice Chancellor RUB, widely circulated within the country and to the donors worldwide reads history of Goshi School as quoted;
“Out of the fifteen schools in Dagana Dzongkhag, Dagapela Primary School is located in the centre. The school is four kilometers from the main feeder road to Dagana. The school was established in the late eighties but due to the problems in 1990s and some other unfavorable circumstances the school had to close down for three years from 1990-1993.The school was initially named Goshi Junior High School since it was located in the Goshi Gewog. Initially, there were 352 students and more than 13 teachers. Most of the teachers were non-Bhutanese.”
“The school was established in the late eighties …..”?? Pause !hmm…., I am stunned to go through this. How could a research document that is likely to be referred by hundreds of future academics within the country and donors around the world could carry such blatant lies. The institutions as well as persons involved in this despicable act must be made responsible for such a grave lie to freeze out and underestimate the people’s role in development of Dagapela.
Editor’s Note: Padam Rizal is one of the contributing authors at Bhutan News Service (BNS). This piece and/or his opinion doesn’t reflect the official view of BNS