Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The value of being a Bhutanese

When we think about millions of people across the globe who are bleeding with pain every day, it gives us a special reason to be proud of being born in Bhutan where we do not even have to worry about our next meal. With the blessings of our great leaders, we have been enjoying absolute peace and harmony for centuries. Although we are literarily sandwiched between two billion people, our strength lies in our unity and it was this special communal bond that helped us survive through even some of the darkest days in our history. The selfless dedications and sacrifices of our forefathers have led to the foundation of this great nation and today, we stand proud of our past as we continue our journey forward with a spark in our eyes. Our rich cultural values, pristine environment and the wisdom of our visionary leaders are some of the blessings that justify why we should consider ourselves lucky to be born in such a country whose economic progress is strictly measured by the level of happiness and wellbeing of its citizens.

Unlike the people of many countries in the world, we live in a society where we can freely roam in the towns and cities without the fear of being gunned down by fanatics or terrorists. We live in a society where our children can walk to and from school every day without the fear of being kidnapped or harmed. We live in a society where our women and girls do not have to worry about being subjected to so-called Honor Killing even when they indulge in affairs not approved by their families. We live in a society where our politicians and leaders can openly interact with the public without the fear of being attacked by enemies. When we look at the political unrest, violence and bloodsheds in other parts of the world, we can clearly see that Bhutan is a real paradise on Earth and we have our visionary kings to thank for this wonderful gift.

Considering all the blessings that we have today, we should be always proud of who we are. Just as we appreciate what we have only when we part from it, you will realize the true love of your Motherland only when you are abroad for a long time. You can feel the difference the very moment you enter Bhutan: the fresh air you get to breathe, the fresh water you get to drink and the pristine environment you get to see, all rejuvenate your spirit with new energy instantly. We may be a small nation, but we have a lot more reasons than many other countries to be happy about. When thousands of people in other parts of the world are waking up with tears every morning, we are waking up with a smile every day. This is the beauty of being a peace-loving nation.

A couple of weeks ago, I was deeply disturbed when I saw the news about the death of a 10-year-old girl in Somalia after being forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation, a brutal cultural practice in some Muslim nations to deprive women of their right to have a happy sexual life. What shocked me more was the way her father defended such a practice, seemingly untouched by the death of his daughter. I silently prayed for her to be reborn in Bhutan in her next life so that she does not have to go through any of such tortures and discriminations.

As a nation, we don’t have resources to compete with the rest of the world but more than our economic prosperity, we enjoy inner happiness and peace. There is so much in Bhutan we should be grateful for. Let us stop finding fault amongst ourselves. It is disheartening to hear some Bhutanese openly accusing ourselves of being egoistic, disrespectful and unfaithful. A few individuals with such negative traits do not represent the entire population of Bhutan. We all are goodwill ambassadors of our country and if we can’t appreciate ourselves, then nobody else will. I always take good stories from my country whenever I travel abroad and I share them with pride. There is so much meaning in being a Bhutanese.

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