One of the senior professors of Kathmandu-based Tribhuvan University (TU) has ruled out existence of any signs of democracy in Bhutan.
Professor Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai, who had also taught Nepali language for a few years in Bhutan in early 1970s, expressed that “the country may have peace, but it lacks democracy”.
“There are no any signs of democracy in Bhutan. The citizens lack right to practice their own religion. The media have not become independent,” Prof. Bhattarai told Bhutan News Service during an exclusive interview with him by journalist Binod Dhungel.
According to him, Bhutan has always curtailed people from enjoying their right to speech and expression.
“The citizens are compelled to accept the fake democratic practices which have been totally imposed by the state authority,” he added, expressing some hopes for true changes in long-run.
He further said, “I am optimistic that true democratic practices would prevail in the kingdom. But, they won’t appear immediately. I fear that citizens’ sufferings may continue for a longtime.”
In another context, Prof. Bhattarai blamed exiled leaders of lacking sincerity and dedication towards the ongoing democratic struggle in Bhutan, saying it was their mistake to opt resettlement in the west.
However, he expressed his hope that the Bhutanese diaspora would keep on pressing the regime through various means and mechanisms.
Prof. Bhattarai is the author of famous Nepali novel ‘Muglan’ that he had written at the age of 21 in 1974. Its English translation has recently appeared in the Nepalese book market.
The Muglan features pathetic lives of lead characters duo (Sutar Kancha and Thule), who are tricked into working for a local contractor believing that he would get them enrolled in the British Army. However, they find themselves as road workers constructing a road from Paro to Haa, where they work for some years in appalling conditions before they decide to run away.
The novel has clearly depicted sufferings of Nepali-speaking Bhutanese and their contributions in bringing Bhutan to the present stage.