A girl of class ten who is rated witty and pretty intellect approached and threw me this question:
“Excuse me sir. Can you share your feelings on Politics and Democracy in Bhutan?”
After donning with an uncomfortable smile in the public spectacle, I refused to propose any of my ideas instantly. All because, I was on strict regime of apolitical medication. I knew the girl wouldn’t turn away without deriving some dosage of my expression. So, I eyed for a space quite far away from the crowd and probed the cause of her query.
With a brief chortle, she took few steps backward. “Our English paper is scheduled day after tomorrow. I am ready for a battle with the grammar and language specifics. And now, I am inspecting some probable themes that might suit the essay writing questions” she said sternly.
Before an attempt to fuel some more logical cause, I interrupted her, “Who said that such issues might probably make up as your essay questions? Or what gave rise to think that politics or democracy might be in the menu of your essay questions?”
“Many of us are either engulfed with the tentacles of ignorance or gobbled up with complacency over such issues. I feel we are still political infants even after five years of democracy”.
Dem’s words literally made my throat suffocate and fatigue the hamstrings. I could not disagree with her because she’s of the kind that moves parallel with the current affairs. To me personally, Dem’s a synonym to a walking dictionary of both national and international broadcasts. The scribbles on any homepage and social Medias are never escaped from the grip of her scrutiny.
By talking politics, we have moved almost an additional two hours on the clock. By then, we preferred sitting in front of Thu Drub Gang lhakhang, a temple built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, believed to have appeared meditation manifestations in the protests of Lam Kha Nga.
As we sat down, she hesitantly posted me another leathery question. “Sir, given the chance, will you opt for politics, either now or in the future?”
I was heavily dumbfounded. In the pretext of thinking, wrinkling my forehead with the left hand rubbing over it, I reacted, “Do you believe in my capacity to do so?”
“Certainly sir, but….”
“Like I used to alert you all in the class, whenever good point is followed by the word ‘BUT’, it denotes that something unpleasant is attached. So, what’s that BUT for?”
“I read newspapers and keep abreast of happenings in the social Medias. I can still see the same scene of politics during debates even on the screen of our national channel. It’s a dirty game”
“Politics isn’t a dirty game, said Shive Khera, players are” I added.
I never took interest in debating more on politics with my student. Hence, I declined to bulldoze more reasons why she said politics is a dirty game. I narrated the stories of demonstrating the worst consequences of politics in other countries but these fables proved no magic to shake her floor of approval.
Dem had scores of reasons for the disapproval. It spoke in volumes that she wasn’t a political infant anymore. She shared the ignominy shadowing the recent public debates of candidates in the national telecast. At the same time, I was not surprised to see her dissatisfaction on candidates who proudly took charm in trading verbal blows on personal issues.
The humble bonafide Bhutanese politicians fail to portray a true picture of Bhutanese democracy. Before their speeches, they vow vertically to an angle of His Majesty the Kings’ portrait and to the public very seriously. And this, to the spectators like Dem, she feels that aspirants places insurmountable weight of faith in achieving the noble aspirations of our Kings’ and openly taking an oath in serving the people. Their speech speaks otherwise, she lamented.
What made Dem more confusing is the substance politicians chew publicly. While one proposes, other disposes. Some argue it can be done, it’s a royal prerogative, opponents confute. Should nobody draw a clear set of lines for party’s doable, it isn’t wrong to think the real bewilderment of our innocent illiterates, while it already spurred a political tumor in a literate infant like Dem.