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Friday, July 2, 2010


Idealism sounds like a bad idea in today’s practical world filled with practical people. And virtues like love, spirituality and loyalty are scoffed at; people who try to hang onto their principles and salvage the last remnants of sanity are ridiculed, considered freaks or simply considered as lagging behind in the process of human evolution.

In a world where heinous crimes are committed without batting an eyelid and where countries rise against each other, where the poor are exploited, the innocent made scape-goats and the already terrorized are hunted down, I would not be surprised to witness a conflict of interest or friction between political parties and other such divisions but what I witnessed at the Wagha Border in Amritsar, the border town between India and Pakistan during my recent visit there was something which not only thoroughly disappointed me but even drove me to the point of despair despite being aware of the fact that this is a practical world.

I was perturbed by the open hostility displayed by the Indians as they howled, shouted and jeered to show their disdain and contempt for the Pakistanis on the other side of the border as soon as they had finished their ostentatious show of gyrating to loud and supposedly patriotic music. Most of the dancers were young women and a few were really flaunting their stuff. It appeared more like a vulgar night show in a disco than lobbying for the good name of your country.

And what disgusted me more by this so called “program” (as the Indians there called it) was that, the authorities organizing this “program” was the government. There were the soldiers parading, strutting, and kicking into the air while the head or coordinator (whatever) of the whole thing who looked very much like a well educated, civilized man was encouraging and driving the already wild and angry mocking crowd to fever pitch agitation by gesticulating and shouting for more noise, roars and claps. Sick.

I could not really see how the Pakistanis were acting in the situation but it seems even they were holding a similar “program” of their own in an open show of ill-disguised ire.

After all the diplomacy and sweet dialogue of friendship shared by the two countries and advertised so aptly by the media you would expect them to show the same tact in reality which sadly was missing undoubtedly in this shameful scene.

If the authorities who can turn the flow of public opinion and thus change the tide of events themselves resort to such cheap gimmicks, I really can’t imagine to what extent the future generations especially the easily influenced sections of the society like the illiterate people and youth would go to.

I could not help wondering if the authorities brainwashing these people were at fault, whether the people themselves were completely free of blame because they had managed to fan and keep alive the fires of communal discord even after so many years, so many lost lives, lost homes and after so much blood-shed and tears.

And I ask myself whether we in Bhutan will also come to face such a situation one day- the signs are already there- we derogatorily call each other “Bhoteys” and “Bjaghas." If a Lhotshampha or Drukpa causes us some inconvenience, we promptly swear and take sides depending on which ethnicity we belong to. It is as if just because we have different ethnic or racial origins, we are superior or inferior to each other when first and fore most-we are just human beings. Simple human -beings. Vulnerable human beings. Mortal human beings. And above all human beings who need each other to survive happily.

And at the end it is only that which really matters.

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