Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bhutan's Road to Democracy: I

Day-before-yesterday, during the Common Forum of Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro, I saw the PDP candidate Mr. Ugyen Tshering brandishing a paper - supposedly a copy of the Times of India article titled “Bhutan’s road to democracy leads to China?”. Mr. Ugyen Tshering made the point that, according to the article, Indo-Bhutan relations now stand imperiled.

I am aghast! Even if it were true, this is not something that a person should make a public proclamation about - particularly not by an aspiring Parliamentarian. The reason is simple: the enormity of problems associated with a fall-out in the relations between two neighbors with very special geopolitical realities - such as those of India and Bhutan - is simply mind-boggling. Every Bhutanese and, for that matter, every Indian should be worried - of such an eventuality.

I logged on to the Times of India website and read the article. I have never read an article more hollow and amateurish than the one that was now becoming the PDP candidates’ much-celebrated talking point on the Common Forums - from Paro to Kanglung to Zhemgang. I cannot understand why an article of such poor content and authorship is kicking up hysteria of such maniac proportions. Consider the following.

The author of the article is someone called Sachin Parashar. I called up a friend in the Indian media fraternity in New Delhi to find out who this person was. He hadn’t heard of the reporter. When I made mention about the article, the friend said that he was indeed aware of the article and had infact discussed about it with one or two members of the Indian “Think Tank”. In his view, given that someone unknown and unschooled had authored the article, it was inconsequential. He said that although the said reporter had, at times, written on foreign affairs and foreign affairs related news, he had never before written an analytical piece on Bhutan - it was not his area of expertise. The only news articles he did on Bhutan were limited to two pieces he did in December of 2009. The friend said that although the language was good, he felt that given the poor arguments presented, the article is more likely to be a “plant” from Bhutan, rather than something the author wrote as a serious piece, of his own accord.

The friend mentioned that had such an article been authored by the likes of Salman Haider or Indrani Bagchi, there was need for concern. More importantly, he opined that the article is not an official view of the Government of India and thus, it should be ignored. In his understanding, the government of India is satisfied with the explanation offered by the Prime Minister of Bhutan - subsequent to his famous talk with the Chinese Premier.

Certainly, the news of Indo-Bhutan relations being strained should be a matter of great alarm for the Bhutanese people. However, in this case, given the standing of the reporter and the ludicrousness of arguments he presents to substantiate his views, there is no need for us to be unduly worried. It seems like mischief is intended and, unless one is a complete dullard, one can see that there is nothing substantive in the article - does not seem like this is something over which we should lose our sleep.

…………… To be Continued


  1. I wish Our Politicians discuss and debate more on their manifestos, their dream for better Bhutan, cleaner election, transparent government and happier Bhutan and not about Indo-Bhutan friendship. Its indeed alarming....

    Something really seems amiss with Bhutan's prospective parliamentarians.

  2. Hey Yeshey,

    Times of India is the legitimate reliable source of the information and how dare you say that it was authored by unschooled author. If you are not the recipient of the DPT's authoritative style of governance, why you are so alarm with the fact arises in the Indian media?.

    I agree with you that its not the view of the Indain government, But, no country will reveal its own intelligence and only media can speculative and there will certain elements of truth behind this saga. However, having said this, I have my own personal view on this important issue. JYT exploring alternative options if Indian tends to master the tiny kingdom is a sign of long term vision and farsightedness. But, JYT should be doing this behind the scene closed door without any media coverage and should maintain as the top secret of the country.

    1. I don’t quite agree with your wisdom of doing things in secret. When thing are done behind closed doors, as always it becomes fodder for speculation, which our own media would like to blow it out of proportion. When done in open you don’t have to explain to anyone. Besides, who doesn’t want to have more friends? Our friendship with India should not be treated like marriage whereby soliciting for mistress is a taboo. We are at liberty to have more friends and that is what India would like us to do as well.
      As about Times of India being legitimate paper, I agree it is. But don’t forget there are rouge elements in every institution. We cannot pass this as mere storm in the tea cup- not when it infringes on our internal matter. I don’t know about you but I found it hard to digest.

    2. Please tell us why a reputed paper wrote this story one year after our PM met the Chinese Premier, I think this proves that some of their journalist don't have ethics too.

    3. Hi Anon,

      When I said doing secret things, it does not mean that government can allows the loopholes for the media to blow out, any country has top secret be it national security, sovereignty or identity. Its is the complete failure on the part of JYT meeting with Chinese counterpart.

  3. I would not discount the displeasure of the Indian bureaucracy with the Rio meeting, and efforts towards more sovereignty and diplomatic contacts with other countries including the bid for UN Security council seat.

    Regarding the "planting" of the story, i think it is more likely that someone from India planted that rather than someone from Bhutan. Think about it. No Mr. Goodpath was not at TOI. They could be planting more stories online as well......

    1. What makes you think that someone in India planted this story, any concrete reasons or are you just shooting your mouth off, everything thing indicates to someone like goodpath planting this story, the timing of it tells us that. And why would a reputed paper like The Times of India publish a story on 26th June about something that happened nearly a year ago. I think the people at Times of India goofed up badly by playing this blame game, most Indian are happy that Bhutan should forge ties with their neighbours.