Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Setting The Right Precedence

Whether spoken with all the best intentions or merely to make an impact, one cannot help but detect a tinge of pomposity when someone utters the words “setting the right precedence”. Even worst, if one were to go by the recent examples of “setting of right precedence”, it is quite obvious that some select Bhutanese people and institutions suffer from a severe case of - Cognitive Dissonance - distorted perception.

Some seven years back, as a member of the SENetwork of the UNDP, I was invited to write my thoughts on “How to be PREPARED for rural-urban migration” by the Consultant working on a report to suggest ways and means to battle rural-urban migration. I offered the view that “being prepared” was taking the defeatist attitude and that the better way to solve the problem was to propose ways and means that would aim at “How to PREVENT rural-urban migration”. My views did not fit in with their scheme of things, so my article was not published on grounds that it was too radical!

About 3-4 weeks back, someone in the BBS TV invited me to be a member of the panel in a discussion titled “Is Corruption Getting Institutionalized?” being anchored by Dawa in his very popular TalkShow - “Dawai Kudroen”. I thanked the person for the honor and the opportunity to come on board the TalkShow but made my excuses on some pretext and did not participate in the show. The reason was that I would have been a willing participant - if the question was “Why is Corruption Getting Institutionalized?”.

Corruption getting institutionalized is old hat - the more pertinent question to ask is - WHY is corruption getting institutionalized?.

By the same token, the question to ask is not whether we are setting the right precedence but what exactly is the right precedence to set?

Today a large number of Bhutanese believe that with the advent of democracy, there is a sea change in Bhutan. As far as I can see and understand, other than the parliamentary elections and the local government elections, the change has been constant. This is how it should be. For, it is my belief that good and useful change must be tempered by continuity.

In my view, the biggest danger facing Bhutan is that some persons and institutions may take their powers too far. We need to caution them that the police officer may be given a gun to carry around but he does not have the licence to kill. Certain powers are designed to act as deterrents rather than as weapons of murder.

............... to be continued