Bhutan: truth alone triumphs, not falsehood

Rizal posing for a photo during Mission Pittsburg Conference held by Bhutan News Service in 2016. Photo/BNS.

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.

Teachers’ residence at Goshi Junior High School

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


  1. ……… Most of the teachers were non-Bhutanese.”
    Padam Bhai,
    Yes, Bhutan Government is a liar.
    But, we believe, “A lie on the throne is on the way to defeat.”
    You have well spoken to expose the true color and quality of the Regime of Bhutan. Your feelings for Bhutan shall be blessed. Thank you.

  2. By reading the real description of Goshi School and the names of passed teachers really touch my heart. padamji thank you so much for this article. I believe that “School is a Temple”, So the Government of Bhutan must know this quoted line and remove the Army camp and reestablish the school .

  3. Padam daju it bring a vivid memory of my early childhood schooling. I studied in Goshi for few years , I don’t have much memoirs but I remember all those places and teachers who taught us. I remember the last days of my school in Goshi. This articles brings me my childhood life. Your rice mill in Goshi bazaar , house of Punya, Laxmi Dhakal . It bring not only Goshi school but whole Dagapela in to light. Thanks for bringing our birth place to light.

  4. Rizaljee, I totally agree with your write-up. How cunningly the feudal lords wanted to hide the truth of the physical artifacts of Goshi Jr. High School. This is too unjust for the place – a neutral entity. A research cannot be that bias for the expected outcome which would jeopardize the impartiality. So let’s understand that RGOB and its agents serving as puppets to king are terrorizing the people at different degree and informing wrong things to the world. This is how the theory of Gross National Happiness began to en-route in the cerebellum of K- 4, a vampire trick that is more treacherous than Cacius.
    Goshi School valued more to us from its initial period till its nipped period than Nalanda University of India during 5th c BC to 7th c AD, Goshi’s graduates serving at different human capacity at all the sphere of mankind both nationally and globally. And I personally know that the present ‘Member of Parliament’ from this place has begun his schooling from this school itself. And to publish such wrong establishment date, a psychic fear to name the people who served the destiny there and mentioning most teachers who worked there were non-national extrapolate a stern disrespect to all the products of this school. Is this not a crime of a responsible institution?

  5. Hats off Padam ji. The legacy of Goshi Jr High School, Cambridge/Harvard to Dagapelians, is been ruined by the regime. Government has done injustice to this piece of history and to every single soul who has contribute to bring it up to this shape. Unfortunate and Sad thing.

  6. My sincere thanks to Padam Dai,Santi Ram Poudyel and the rest for bringing the stories of Dagapela and helping to keep the memories of the homeland vivid and live. It really makes ones heart heavy to recollect those days and places which is soaked with the sweat and blood of our ancestors.

  7. My friend, “NEPALESE” above still thinks a pond as his whole world. How dare are you to asked about, photos?

    Your thoughts and comments above reflect how illiterate, nonhuman, and uncivilized you are in the country of GNH. I believe you are still dreaming to keep Bhutan isolated from today’s progressive and technical world. Your dream is 100% creepy and de-humanized.

    By the way your uncles are working hard to preach the world about the designed GNH, and you fools are reflecting the truth it holds!

    Shame on you ethnic cleanser!!!!!!!!

  8. When something new, creative and worth reading stuff appears in your e-paper like the one above, some ” seemingly immature and rogue” commentators appear to creep in and bring their ugly stuff to the fore and ultimately, makes it a field to spit their venom. Looks like: exhibiting low-rated comments with grossly harping on negative, outdated and underfed ideas; shooting childlike tantrums and salvos at each other and trading ‘dirty linens’ in public have become the part of their lives.
    I think the entire editorial team of BNS should refrain from entertaining cheap, baseless and nonsensical arguments so as to make it more like a ‘voice and chautari’ for the entire Bhutanese. Most importantly, it should away from being a battlefield for silly “Robin Hoods and wind breakers”.

    Padam ji, your write up has sparked a wave of nostalgia to me. Excellent!

    Nashville, Tennessee

  9. You criticized the forward by minister but you did not mention what is the fact. Without saying what fact is, your criticism gives no substance and value. It just looks like criticism for criticism.

  10. To all my collegues who have given time to read my article and post comment on it and the ones who have taken time to call me.

    Thank you all for giving your time to read my article and posting comments on it.My article ” Bhutan: truth alone triumphs,not falsehood” runs in series,this is the first one,it was supposed to be printed ‘to be continued’ at the end it missed out while posting,my apology for the confusion.My effort in this series is to bring out truth and facts about Dagapela and make the world understand the circumstances in which 1800 families (12,600 citizens) of Dagapela were uprooted. Thank you for posting comment this time,i request you to continue reading my forth coming articles,i always welcome comments with open heart.please feel free to add facts and incidences if you know about.Together we can rewrite the erased history.

  11. Let us behave well and act in our own Nepalese way. Acting Bhutanese way doesn,t have any advantages. First we don’t know their cultures or anything else about them dhai. Let us forget it and get into our own ife. Iam sick of this idea. lrt us forget this lies.