Many roads one destination: Bhutan


N B GiriIt is difficult to believe that men can be so spiritually or mentally dead as to have no love for their native country that had cradled and nestled them to be the real sons and daughters. It is equally insulting to realize that we even do not picture our martyrs in our gray matters who gave their today for our tomorrow. Politicking for decades, we failed to create even one noteworthy way to repatriate refugees and get justice. And, now resettled in third countries we have very nearly forgotten our mission, the cause for which we have been made stateless, homeless, jobless and helpless refugees by the mono-ethnic oriented government of that moon-yul land, Bhutan. We have engaged in unproductive work and overlooked to undertake meaningful approach to restore our lost heritage and national identity. Un-patriotism has set in and if such trend dominates our existence then we will never inspire people to celebrate us in their death-less songs. Such attitude towards nationalism will not help us to win fame during our life-time and when we die, we will die in a double sense. Our body will return to the dust whence it came, and our name will be forgotten. None will weep for us, none will honor us and no patriotic society will keep our name alive in their immortal poetry.

Runnels of tears roll down our freckled faces to realize the unholy act of that holy land, the custodian of which had mercilessly butchered the people on grounds of fabricated treason. People’s voice for seeking justice received severe backlash from the government with the utopian dogma of ‘one nation, one people’, branding the popular voice to be against Tsa-Wa-Sum. It came in a package of deprivation of nation, citizenship status that also included corporal punishment and life imprisonment. Capital punishment was undeclared, the detention centers turning to death squads like that of Nazi holocaust. Before breathing last they wrote on the walls of the prison with blood “We Want Justice.” Their soul wandering in the wilderness of the blue firmament for want of justice might be cursing us as cowards. Every drop of their blood then, invigorating us to rise and meet the call of the land irrespective of the consequences thereafter have been a total failure. The same feeling for nationality over the years has evaporated from our minds and the time is not far away when we would forget to spell Bhutan.

Mother and motherland are the greatest assets of mankind that stand as a heavenly gift. These two gems give us inspiration to survive as human beings. The robustness and the guts to cope up with the issue of challenges and the wishes of our martyrs and our own wishes are desirable. The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go away before I sleep, and miles to go away before I sleep— is the cornerstone message for us to ponder upon.

We tend to believe that the responsibility on ‘refugee-issue’ lies with the leaders and we simply become the followers. Instead, we all are equal partners to bear that responsibility. We should therefore, ponder over this aspect of being responsible for the task of which we are equal stakeholders. We need just about 6 x 2 feet land to rest when we bid adieu to this world, and hence, it must be our endeavor to identify with Bhutan and have that much of land before we perish. Kings are not born kings and the poor people are not born poor, it is the destiny which makes them to be the one. Nobility of birth and exalted rank of which we so proudly boast are mere illusions and quickly pass away. We cannot protect our bounty of possession from the common fate of all mankind – death. Even kings, like the meanest of their subjects, must die, and in the grave the poor peasant is equal with the haughty monarch.

Material greed and jealously – the root cause of any trouble have started to set in within us. We have become rather myopic to see things; our views do not extend beyond what is seen right away. We see but in part, and we know but in part, and therefore, no wonder we conclude wrong from our partial views. Perseverance, not lack of ability in us, is the cause of our failure. Instead of sticking to one goal until it is realized, we hesitate, get discouraged at every small rebuff, change from one aim to another and so create such a series of difficulties which we cannot overcome. Even a stream carves out a channel simply by constantly flowing. The architectural monuments we praise and wonder are instances of non-restrictive force of perseverance and diligence. It is by this art that quarry becomes pyramids, and that distant countries united by camels. Thus, art of perseverance is what seems to lack in us to uphold our cause in Bhutan.

Bhutanese refugees have opted  the ‘third country resettlement’ as best avenue to protect our generation, make them able and worthy to campaign for the just cause. We must remember that we are not made refugees as a result of natural calamities and other obvious reasons, but we are uniquely made refugees, we are evicted from Bhutan with the challenge to redefine our existence and rights in Bhutanese soil. If we fail to establish our rights in Bhutan even after years of resettlement we will be belittled as cowards and cowards have no place in any country.

We talk of our martyrs and leaders of past just to co-relate with them as to have belonged to those brave persons who laid down their life for our cause. In the right earnest, the martyrs would have deemed it an act of betrayal of their deeds had they been present among us. They had shown us the way to live boldly and a way to die a heroic death. If we fail to understand their sacrifices, it would be better that we forgo our false association with them. The only devoted tribute is to follow reverently in the path they showed us and to do our duty in life and in death. Year 1990 is gone, decades have passed, refugees have left the camps and resettled in third countries; yet the impact on the lives of the Bhutanese refugees cannot be easily worn off. The year 1990 played a very significant role in reshaping the image of Bhutanese people and Bhutan. Events take place and are forgotten but their effects remain in peoples mind. The Bhutanese destitute are denied definite destiny but only time will tell us as to how many of us are the real sons and daughters of Bhutan.

This article shall complete in two series. The author is former army official with Royal Government of Bhutan. The views expressed are solely of the author and does not represent that of  BNS. 


  1. it seems the dream of all the people in the camp at one time or the other is to return back to their mother land,bhutan. still there is dream to continue to struggle the return of refugees with dignity. it is inddeed a difficult situation when the interested refugees are not allowed to return back. however, the third country resettlement project has taken most of them to the third countries and many of them started getting permanent resident cards/citizens. when people were in the camp they could not unify and put up a proper fight. many leaders who tend to reap fruits of opportunity emerged. one faction led by one and so on. the leaders wanted to lead a comfortable lives whereas the people in the camps were suffering in hell. finally leaders opted for third country resettlement made things impossible.
    i very much doubt whether the refugees can really put up a genuine fight to return back. people are now divided by one continent to another. although the communication through electronic media gives all the advantages still fighting from another country may prove illegal.resettled people have to follow the rules of that country.
    to look back the 90s it was a big mistake to leave the country. many had to leave due to security reasons as everyone started looting each other. this was done by our own people. some of them got caught and some of them got killed. so the genuine fight for democracy was marred by this type of incidences. many of them had to leave to due to threats from overactive leaders especially chettri bahuns, coercing all other communities to leave the country. i don’t blame one but they should have realized the truth. and almost all of them signed the paper stating ‘we are leaving the country of our own will’, and took the cost of the land. they should not have taken the money or signed the paper. people were inspired by the few thousand money offered by the govt.
    the other mistake is why people went to nepal? they should have made a camp in the bordering indian soil. this would have solved the problem a long time ago. went to nepal looking for brotherly assistant but in the end people had tough time to get stepmotherly assistant. they did help us but could not push for any thing when indians and bhutanese govts. talked.
    therefore the fight may go on but the bhutanese govt donot remains botherless. all this type of talks happen outside but hardly matters to the bhutanese govt.
    there is DNC and other democratic bodies trying to influence from outside. but what can they do? you should all combine into one umbrella and approach genuinely surrendering yourself. many of them have left as criminals as well. is it spelt in the categories of people once done.
    put your effort to make your wishes and dream come true.