Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Gross National Happiness II

Serious writing is energy sapping business and in writing 3 parts of my article to counter the anti tobacco control lobby, I have been drained of energy and spirit. When one feels so powerfully about something, one tends to pour out every bit of passion one has. In the process, one can be drained and I felt totally drained upon completion of my third part - yesterday night. After all that outpouring of passion, I was in doubt if what I write will make any difference and that doubt made me feel a little sad.

This morning I woke up and logged on to the net to check my mails. And there, I see that a friend had forwarded to me the following mail which touched me deeply and enthused me all over.

The writer of the mail is a wildlife photographer from India who was introduced to me by the designer of my book: BHUTAN BIRDS. I spent few days with him showing the sights and sounds of Bhutan. I spoke to him about our culture, our environment, our tourism policy and everything else. The photographer went back to India few days back and had apparently written the mail to his circle of friends.

What he writes about Bhutan is so encouraging. My GNH is that I was a part of the experience this photographer had in our country. It makes me feel that our country is still a worthy cause to fight over. So I am not going to lose hope. I will revise my third part to make it sizzling HOT. I will post it either this night or tomorrow morning:

Dear friends, 
I first went to Bhutan in 1994. Now in 2011 with coz. Cuckoo and Pushpa it is the second time. The country has changed. So called 'progress' tends to change all countries. Africa,which I visited also for the first time in 1994, has also changed dramatically. Change is inevitable. But when it takes away the inherent spirit of the land it leaves behind an empty flavour of what it was.

Bhutan, till now has somehow, while keeping its character; its magical spirit, been able to keep that unique balance of a land steeped in its culture yet endeavouring to provide  the discerning visitor the amenities he is used to in modern tourism. 

We have been lucky to have been guests of a prominent local family, friends of my cousin Cuckoo. Also, I was fortunate enough to meet up with a fellow photographer. Both were instrumental in showing us their country from the 'inside'. If we had gone as regular tourists I don't know if we would have returned with the same indelible impression. 

This is a country that measures progress not in GNP but in GNH (Gross National Happiness). This is no marketing cliché but the vision of its last monarch who had endeavoured to take Bhutan through the tough process from a feudal monarchy to a parliamentary monarchy. Jigme Singye Wangchuck born 11 November 1955 is the former King of Bhutan. He was the fourth Dragon King  of Bhutan from 1972 until his abdication in favour of his eldest son in 2006. He is credited with many modern reforms in the country. 

There are 5 Aman resorts in the country and even the formidable Mrs. Ong has a super luxury resort there. But this is not the reason to come to Bhutan. This is a country for trekkers and panorama fiends; for mystical experiences and Mahayana Buddhism and primal Hinduism. Where the pace of life has not lost its way into the monotonous desert of hedonistic experiences. 

Truly, it is an experience different.




  1. “……… To be continued” This is a breath of fresh air. It literally saved me from total disappointment. With a great expectation of finding a valid and legitimate argument, I was carefully going through your posts, scanning every word but to my utter disappointment there wasn’t a single sensible argument made in support of the TCA. It was a classical ranting of a deluded soul. You did vent out a deluge of your anger and frustration. No wonder you are drained out. I hope you feeling better now. BTW I’ll be scanning your third post too to see if it merits a decent reply.

  2. Sir, May you breathe a sigh of relief after all your rant and raving la.

  3. Yeshey, don't be so forlorn. And unlike Sonam Tshering, people like me do value yours posts on such important issues as the TCA which shed light on so much that we don't understand. I suppose it's only the deluded souls who will not comprehend or appreciate your arguments.