Dear Dr Bruce,
First of all, please accept greetings from the Bhutanese refugees in various camps of Nepal.
I had an opportunity to go through an article in the Kuensel written by Rinzin Wangchuk on May 10, 2011, where you commented regarding Bhutan, its ruthless rulers and so-called political and illegal immigrants.
Besides you, there are a number of people, politicians, diplomats and journalists who are highly paid by the demagogic rulers of Bhutan on various occasions just to praise and appreciate their way of ruling the nation.
Dr Bruce, you must be knowing that Bhutan remained as one of the poorest countries of the world until late 1970s. So the question of our fore-fathers migrating to Bhutan due to economic cause is more than super lie of Bhutanese rules as they were there in Bhutan even before the Treaty of Sinchula inked on November 11,1865 between Bhutan and British-India. Of course, political migration from Tibet to Bhutan was there time to time, even founder of modern Bhutan Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal had to immigrate Bhutan as refugee in 1616 from political strife in Tibet.
Is it your own census record that reflects population of Bhutan to be about 670,000? You must know the total population of Bhutan was 1.2 million, according to the Bhutanese authority, that was declared in United Nations in 1971 while Bhutan became the member of United Nations Organizations. The same number was suddenly reduced to somewhere 500,000 in 1990 after evicting the southern Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity. And, 25 million population of Nepal and 17 million population of Nepalese ethnicity of Indian states of Assam and West Bengal is nothing to do with the bonafide Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity. The Bhutanese refugees in eastern Nepal are from Bhutan and not from those countries. You are welcome to clear your doubt, if any, by visiting the camps and verifying their documents. So we request you, for God sake not to carry the childish version of the perpetrator rulers of present Bhutan.
Dr Bruce, we do agree that our country Bhutan is really pristine where we lived and like to live but due to ruthless rulers thousand of bonafide Bhutanese were evicted to become refugees for so long. So how can you say the rulers are taking care about their people? Are you talking about only for ruling elites and their ‘yes people’? There are still personalities of our ethnicity in high-ranked positions inside Bhutan, which we always accept. However, their inside and outside are different. As you look at the faces of some Nepali-speaking ministers in the Jigmi Y Thinley’s cabinet, you may see them as people of southern Bhutan, but they have Jigme Singye inside them since they were compelled to act in that manner.
As an outsider to Bhutan, you must know that the border of Bhutan was closed long before the eviction of bonafide southern Bhutanese. Can Bhutanese ruler able to protect northern border with China? Do you also know that the descendants of the citizens since much before 1958 were declared to be so-called illegal immigrants, as they did not possess the land tax receipt as their parents did because the land was not in their own name? How can you say this is not an ethnic issue when more than 100,000 of Bhutanese of Nepali origin were evicted from southern Bhutan?
Tricky Bhutanese rulers seem smarter than diplomats of US because only with formal relationship they were made to agree to resettle unjust Bhutanese in the refugee camp in eastern Nepal in support of Bhutanese regime. I think, this must be very much clear to you. Someone, non- Bhutanese briefing Bhutanese history is really going to be history of Bhutan because such a person can only brief the history that briefed by the rulers of Bhutan without the true history in the content.
Further, it should be known to you that the autocratic regime turned into a constitutional monarchy in the name of unique democracy where people are not allowed to practice their democratic rights. Consequently, more than one hundred thousand of bonafide Bhutanese were not allowed to say anything on this democracy.
The much trumpeted gross national happiness in Bhutan, if any, depends on supply of India and is not only loving street dogs, finding snarling dogs as smiling in Thimphu and neglecting the cry of more than exiled Bhutanese for returning to their homeland, but creating happiness to a few elites inside the country. Ever agonized Bhutanese will never be happy merely with nationwide road constructions, electricity supply and car loan.
Yes, the Government of Bhutan will keep on organizing such talk programs and seminars just to make the organizers and the speakers to say the rulers of Bhutan are unique but the subject of Bhutan are economic migrants, disgruntled terrorists, anti-national and illegal immigrants, and even Indians.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to write this letter.
Dr Bhampa Rai
Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee