Sunday, November 26, 2023

A Goat In Place Of A Sheep

The proverbial storm in the tea cup is yet again brewing with the customary zeal – the spirited ado about nothing!

Bhutan’s fourth elections is days away and the nation is abuzz with a million inconsequential questions: Who do you think is going to win? Are you voting? Who are you going to vote for this time? Do you think Dr. Lotay is likely to come back? So forth and so on ……

The five political parties and their promises

Most offer the view that the PDP will most likely emerge as the winning horse. Their logic: people believe that the vote bank of their traditional rival – the DPT – would have been halved and quartered by the two new political parties entering the fray. However, they say that PDP had better pray hard that the DPT does not end up in the final round – the DPT emerging from their ten years of having been made to languish in the Bardo (purgatory) could very well curdle the milk for them.

Others think that the Southern voters will be the king makers given their astuteness and remarkable capability to think collectively - they think objectively while the rest of the Bhutanese tend to be sentimental about their choices.

As for me, I remain unimpressed – for me it would be nothing more than a goat in place of a sheep, or vise-versa. As long as the Captain of the Ship has the rudder firmly within His grip, things should trot along reasonably OK. My worry is something else.

In 2018 when rumor was rife that Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, the incumbent Managing Director of DGPC was joining politics, I gawked. I promptly went to see him. Sitting across the table and sipping black tea, I asked him:

“I understand that Dasho is joining politics. Is that true?”

He said; “Yes, you heard it right - I am told that such a rumor is doing the rounds in certain circles.”

“Are you? But why? I mean, look behind you. The Bura Marp and the Patang hanging behind you are the symbols of the highest honor any person can hope for. What more can you hope to achieve? What greater honor can there be – above and beyond that which you are already decorated with?

I agree that we need good and capable people in the political arena. But that is not to say that the bureaucracy should be drained of them. We need equally capable and dedicated people in the civil service – after all you are the ones who will implement the plans and programs conceived by the political leadership. We need people with strong character in the civil service – people who have the wherewithal to implement and carry forward the plans and programs; people who can ably keep the politicians in the straight and the narrow.

Why is it important that the smartest and the brightest must join politics? Isn't the bureaucracy important?

Afterall, when the dream merchants have dusted and gone – when the winning horse has galloped away with the booty, you will still be around - to try and mop up the bloodied floor and pick up the litter of carcasses - to give hope that there will be another day – a new day when renewed attempts can be made to mend and patch the broken promises – when new dreams can be dreamed, if only to be broken, yet again.

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