When it comes to accomplishing amplest forms of fundamental rights, freedom or democracy, courses of struggle by the victims are advanced accordingly toning change in time and situation. We, however, strived it through same fashion even though the situation at times had sought more stronger and reliable tactics to wrestle with Thimphu peacefully.
By now, this writer is convinced that our mode of struggle—as said to be a ‘struggle for democracy’ in Bhutan, however, has not advanced. Beginning early 1990s and until the posting of this piece, we have envisaged and upheld the same mantras—no matter whether they are already achieved, yet to be attained and or are completely unachievable.
If one weighs in the changes taking place in Bhutan diligently, you can ascertain that most among the 13-point demands placed before then government by the Bhutan Peoples’ Party (BPP) on August 2, 1990, nearly similar to that of the Communists Party of Bhutan (CPB-MLM) in 2004, are already met—some partially and some fully whereas some appear attainable inevitably with the course of time citing the positive changes taking place in Bhutan. Other exiled political parties’ demands, not to an exception, are not much different. This stance, however, in no way was meant at backing-up those who had played crucial role in exiling tens of thousands of its own citizen. What it does, though, is to point out the need to consider changing the course of our struggle and work more effectively.
We must admit that some of our demands appear entirely unreasonable until people from within the country rise-up to seek them. This scrutiny in itself is abundant in pointing out the need of shifting the course of our struggle; if at all it is a must and that there exist one, for ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’ The political uproar in our neighboring Nepal & Afghanistan and the ongoing unrest in various regions of the Middle East clearly indicate that no major political transformation ensue in a country overnight. We should by now understand that Thimphu is not an exception to this.
During years’ struggle for bolstering our call for democracy and freedom in Bhutan, we placed ourselves against the backdrop of the imprecise courses—up to the point that we never realized what could be done next when one approach fails. And we kept on failing one after the other attempts. Our all-time key demand—dignified repatriation—never became feasible. Although not a single refugee has returned home, at least until the posting of this article, a good number of refugees camped in Nepal are likely to wait for the day. It is, therefore, time to let these folks know that the option of repatriation is getting thinner every other day and that it is time for them to think of securing a better future. In actuality, it appears that the beginning of the third country resettlement process also marked the end of repatriation.
We have always pointed out fingers at a handful of leaders for this big failure. Have we ever questioned if we (public) pondered our responsibilities? Answer: probably many NO(s) Vs. few YES(s)! Whether or not you accept it, the fact is we lacked, have been lacking & will continue to lack visionary leaders. We almost never upheld united voice and those who had the caliber to make it either advocated the issue singly or washed-off their hands completely.
Evidently speaking, yet not to be mentioned here in detail though, it is mirrored time & again that many of our forefront leaders slogged in without applicable & long-term strategies: thus the failure. Past is past. We should not always consider beholding retrospection. It’s time to look forward and keep moving. It’s time for healing. It’s time to build-up stronger, prosperous and united Diaspora first even before thinking of continuing to advocate our issue should the need still exists at all. Once a united voice and or a stronger Diaspora is established, we should then wisely map out course of our struggle and spend some good time to sketch out strategies. I see that we have only two options: (1) consider advocating national reconciliation and or (2) challenge Bhutan government more strongly before international arena with well-documented facts on its atrocities carried out in 1990s. The latter, however, might not yield expected results at the end of the day as its costlier and time consuming.
We should also be very clear that Thimphu is always efficacious to lure the world’s affirmative courtesy towards the perception of its concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which in return has candidly contributed in cloaking its atrocities carried out in early and late 1990s. We, thus, should have some prodigious strategies & plans, in future if not now, to overcome this situation.
Former Chief Editor and one of the current contributing editors of Bhutan News Service, Mishra is majoring in “International Studies” at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He blogs at www.tpmishra.com. Opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.