Friday, November 26, 2010

He is not a man if he beats a woman

Yesterday, 25th November, was International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. It is, indeed, a great honour for me to help eliminate domestic violence from our society. I write this article to work along with women to fight against the prejudicial harassment and unending abuse on them.
         Photo: Beng J.

Domestic violence, as Wikipedia defines is a “domestic abuse, spousal abuse or intimate partner violence”. This means a husband beating his wife is domestic violence; boyfriend hitting his girlfriend is domestic violence and father kicking his daughter is domestic violence, or vice-versa. And in our society of alcoholism and high rate of promiscuity, the incidence of domestic violence is very rampant. But who are the victims? Mostly weak, disadvantaged women and children!

Most women in relationships where domestic violence takes place have no escapism from the abuse. Factors like children, money, alienation or absence of family or friends who can provide support weigh heavily in a women’s decision to attach to it

Why men beat women?

"Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.” Quran 4:34

Don’t Bhutanese men have stereotype mentality that they are “superior” to their wives because they work outside, earn and feed their wives? Women can’t work outside and earn like a man. That they can only stay at home, cook and nurse the kids, dependent on men for wealth. My neighbor was an orthodox who always demeans his wife. “Shut up! Don’t talk and act smart being a woman and kid,” he states whenever his wife shares her views on issues concerning the family. He drains the self-esteem of his wife, a woman, comparing her to a kid.

Like Quran states, Bhutanese men have this perception that women are supposed to be inferior and “obedient” to men and if they misbehave or show a slight act of denial or revolt “beat them” ruthlessly. It is in men’s blood to beat their wives because our ancestors have been doing the same! Many men treat their wives as their sandbag. He has an affairs with another woman, he returns home. He finds a mistake that the rice his wife offered him is too hot or too cold. He bashes up her untill she faints. This is only way to chase her out of his house. But she can't leave as she has no where to go. Such ingrained practices should be removed.

Empowering women with providing education, jobs and making severe law for the wife beaters may eliminate domestic violence, but we see even some office-going women are beaten so frequently. Now let's propagate a culture that a man who beats his wife is a coward. Such men are to be proclaimed as sub-man or sub-human because they can’t find a real man to beat on.

Men’s excuse!

Men claimed that the reason they beat their wives is that women are “nagging” and talk “rubbish”. It is just a lame excuse of yours. Men, you should have the endurance to withstand the nagging. If you can’t, you should not have married her. Once you hit a woman, you have no justification left. Because they don’t have the strength to provoke violence from you, so there is no way you can claim self defense. If she raises a weapon against you, then, she is insane. And take appropriate steps.

Next time even she hits you or throws things at you, just endure. They are weaker sex, delicate. Even her ten blows is just a fall of peach on your shoulder from its tree.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Close of Autumn

That the beauty of Autumn begone!

Look into your garden, you will see flowers withering!

Look around your house or office, you will see tree leaves turned yellow, dry and falling on ground!

Monday, November 15, 2010

As lonely, as weird, as extraordinary as my name

I was a lonely and a shy lad when young, certainly companionless and lacking self-esteem. I had no pair for my name, Riku. When I was first admitted in a primary school I found scores of Tsherings, Sonams, Kumars and Lal Bahadurs. Moreover, they were plenty back in my village and often heard in movies and radio. They are very common and admirable, though. But I have never heard and met a person of my name. This singleness of my name dislocated my stand and detached me from our society. 

Furthermore, my own name had isolated me from my family. My father and all my four big brothers are Bahadurs. I felt, at times, I was an alien or adopted.
In the schools I earned all sorts of humiliations and harassments due to my ludicrous name. My teachers and classmates pronounced my name differently from the way my parent say it. My teachers always pronounced it Rudu and they laughed. I was bitterly angry to hear my name being pronounced so mindlessly, incorrectly. Again my classmates jeered at me during the breaks, “Kuri Kuri!” which in Nepali is, “Shame on you! Shame on you!” Every break I was trying to avoid such nasty remarks and embarrassments.

I passed Class IV and was admitted to Class V. My new class teacher was a Dzongkha lopon, a strict disciplinarian. We again went through the same ritual of introducing ourselves. After the first row had finished, the second row started and ultimately it was my turn. I was nervous; my name is so weird and hard to understand.

Hesitantly, I introduced myself, “My name is Riku enla.” The lopon went mad instantly. He jumped at me like a ferocious tiger shouting, “You are kidding me? What’s your name lo? Tupu lo?” Oh God! He misheard my name. Tupu, he heard, meaning very dirty part of women’s body. As he ran towards me to bash, I dashed out of the classroom. Later my classmates explained him about my name. Tears springing to my eyes, I went to my parents that evening and asked why they gave me this wicked name. I told them that I hate this name and wanted a new name, a good one. But they told me that my name was given by my grandpa who died right after giving me the name and they can’t change it. But they consoled me saying that I am always Kaley (my pet name) for them.

Riku started sounding ridiculous to my ears. Like this name, like its oddness, I too felt very absurd and ostracized. I started hating writing my name at the bottom of my applications or essays or painting I made. I felt awkward to say “Hi, I am Riku”. I hate my name because it has nothing to do with who I am, that is neither Lhotsham nor Drukpa.

My name has been always a chronic pain for me. Every time I register my name while traveling or booking a lodge or visiting offices I undergo the same frustrating agitation. Whenever the officials behind the counter ask me for my name, experience had taught me to take out my CID card and show it to them right away. Because every time they ask my name, I always have to make them understand the name first, then to pronounce it correctly and spell it correctly. It requires quite energy to complete the task.

Attending job interview was also discomfiture for me. I was attending RCSC viva voce, several years back. There were four panel members led by a head. I prepared hard for the interview, was very confident. But as soon as I introduced myself to them I lost all my confidence. The panel head tried uttering my name, “Ri…tu”. He stressed on “tu”. Other panel members started giggling; however, the head of the panel suggested addressing me as Mr. Subba for the interview. Nervous, I forgot everything.

In another incident, I met a minister in Thimphu. He inquired my name. I replied him courteously, "Riku la." Angry, he responded, "I am not in a mood to joke. I didn't ask for your nickname." He gave me a sarcastic wink and left.

The bizarre of my name never stopped demeaning until 2008, the year of Coronation and Centenary celebration. I took part in Tarathon, a 30-day marathon race from Trashigang to Thimphu initiated by an English couple, lecturers at Sherubtse College, to mark the glorious celebration. At the end of the event, the Tarathoners were received by HRH Queen Mother Azhi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck at the Druk Hotel in Thimphu. After a banquet, the Queen Mother awarded the merit certificates to us. When my name was called, Queen Mother glanced at my certificate and said to me, “Your name is very extraordinary. I think you are as extraordinary as your name.”

These two majestic inspirational lines from the Queen Mother invoked by my name (which has been debasing me) brought immense gush of delight and revelry in me. For the first time in my life this infamous name made me so extraordinary and ecstatically proud.

That moment I looked up in the heaven and shouted at my grandpa, “Thank you, Grandpa!” and I exclaimed in excitement, “Is this what you mean from the extraordinary name you gave me in your deathbed?”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Every dog has its own day

Today you were in southern Bhutan or any Hindu land and you call someone "Kukur" or you just kick a dog or chase it away, you will be brutally bashed instantly.
Because today is the kukur (dog) tihar-Tihar and Dogs (2nd Tihar Day). In sountern Bhutan and to all Hindu countries, Kukur (Dogs) are adorned with flower garland around their necks, red tika on their forehead, and are offered great meals. They are the king of the day!

On this day, people pray to the Kukur to guard their homes. Usually there are lots of Kukur running around in the streets in search of a loving home. You can find them on streets and in your backyards, but on this day, even the most unsightly Kukkur will be treated like a king, everyone has a day.

Tihar is also about breaking the boundaries only men created, "The Good", "The Bad", "The Ugly", and all but same to the mother nature! In Hinduism it is believed that Kukur guard's the underworld empire just like it guards our everyday homes!. Tihar is about loving Kukurs too!

Women playing khuru brought bad omen to our country?

Written on kuenselonline, the author of this story blames the recent national natural disasters are caused due to women playing khuru. Check it out how logical is it? Or is the author too superstitious? This is certainly very funny. A misogynistic view, I must say. But may be coincidental? Anyhow I love this!


This is not against any individual or organisation, it's just my simple opinion. Bhutan is a country where most of the people are superstitious. The women who are playing Khuru spoke to BBS and other media say that they are playing Khuru to show that there is equal rights for both men and women. It's true that you (women) have every rights to do whatever you like but remember that because of your bad deeds, you have brought bad lucks to our country.

Firstly when the Khuru tournament was started, there was continuous rainfall for several days which damaged thousands of tons of harvested rice in Paro. Secondly there was a dreadful disaster of fire in Bumthang which killed to people and left hundreds homeless in such a cold weather. The rainy season is over and in the past we never had rain in such a dry season. This year we are experiencing abnormal rain because our local deities are unhappy and angry with us for showing very blasphemous or odd behavior. (Other misfortunes may be storm at Nanong gewog in Pemagatshel, car accidents). And some women argue that they are playing Khuru to preserve our culture and tradition.

Let me remind you that, women playing Khuru is neither our culture nor our tradition. Our rich culture and tradition was there since hundreds of year but never heard or read that women played Khuru. This is totally against our culture and tradition.

Our Bhutanese sports are very sacred. That's why they should be kept the way they are and played the way they are. I am not against any women. It's just that i can't see our people suffering by the bad deeds of a group of the foolish feminist and don't want to see such worse misfortunes in future. And this is my plea to concerned authority, to look into the matter seriously and do something to preserve our rich culture and tradition.

Lastly i beg your forgiveness if i have hurt anybody thought it is not my intention.

Mourning the fall of Chamkhar Town

We moved stealthily into a small town built of woods, roofed with black slates and planks. This town was encircled by a small collection of farms and scattered houses occupying a lush valley. Lakhangs and dratshangs were perched on the mountain cliffs which beautify spiritual valley and the serene town. Only a few buildings were concrete. Evening, I called it, as the Sun sat atop mountain in the west. It was March 9, 2001.
Unbearable cold outside and snow clad grounds and house roofs held me inside the car. Frozen to numbness, I was lost in a sheer oblivion and amazement until my uncle shouted at me, “Hello! We reached Chamkhar town, Bumthang! Come out for tea and momo before I drop you at your hostel.” Tomorrow, then, March 10, was I to admit at Jakar HSS.
First time, in my life, I traveled all the way from hot Gelephu to cold Bumthang as a school placement. Thus, first time in my life was I seeing the wonderful snow fall and had experienced the minus temperature.

I moved out of the car lazily and went to a restaurant to have tea and momo with my uncle. A hard wood hit on my forehead from the top of the entrance door as I was entering the restaurant. A blessing! I looked up in a bursting anger. I found it that hit my forehead, a wooden crafted phallus hanging atop the restaurant’s entrance door.

Embarrassment slugged me. However, to avoid my inevitable blush, I turned back and looked around the town but shocked to death, again, to have found that thing everywhere-every shop and building at the town has wooden phallus dangling from its entrance door top-some painted red, some brown varying in sizes.

Even more shocking was that extremely big dicks were furtively painted on the walls of each house. I only read about the significance of the phallus and Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the ‘Divine Madman’ in the Bhutan history text books but seriously I have never seen these things in my life. Mind you, not a single house was then in Gelephu had such things.

The restaurant cozy and bhukari heated, was ran by a Tibetan family. My uncle handed me Nu 5 note and asked me to buy doma from the shop. I went to a shop and asked for the doma of Nu 5. The shopkeeper told me, “We don’t sell doma for Nu 5. You can take this packet of Nu 10 doma.” But my uncle gave me only Nu 5 and I thought I would try another shop. I asked the next shop only to receive the same reply. After trying the fifth shop I realized that no shop at Chamkhar town sells doma for below Nu 10.

My uncle dropped me at the school hostel, then.
October 26, 2011 at 1:45 am, two days ago: The Chamkhar town was razed down to ashes by a dreadful fire. More than 66 houses and shops were burned down. The disaster killed two people and left 266 inhabitants homeless.

During four years of my school education at Jakar HSS, the Chamkhar town became very familiar to me; I knew each and every shop and the shopkeeper.

Every weekend or sometimes right after the class, I used to flee to the town with my bunch of troublesome yet can’t-do-without friends despite repeated beatings from the hostel warden and have written several statement letters to the principal. As usual, it was to drink alcohols or play snookers.

Another funny reason we used to frequent the town was that one of my friends, the best looking among us, had a girlfriend at the market. She has a shop at Chamkhar town. Real intention of this love story-was for materialistic gain only. It was not him who wrote the chit to this shopkeeper girl, but we “proxy” his name and sent the epistle without his knowledge. Immediately, she accepted it. Since then she became our “sponsor”, who had fed us with pocket money, foods and sometimes garments too.

But a bad luck has been awaiting for us, sooner. A dratshang monk has also been trying on her for the past several years. When we were drinking at a hotel bar of Sonam Hotel, we encountered this monk who was drunk too. He was with his five other monk friends. We had a dreadful fight. We were beaten mercilessly and thrown out bruised and hurt. At Chamkhar town, you know, monks are very much feared gang fighters and they are also snooker “champs”.

Later on I made friends with many boys and girls from this town. Some, still, I have good contacts. After the disastrous night of October 26, I phoned them and found them down and in grief. Some of them are planning to discontinue their studies from abroad after hearing the bad news.

There was a divorcee woman from Samtse who ran a small pan shop in the middle of the Chamkhar town. When I was preparing for the Civil Service exam last year, I used to visit her shop to buy newspapers and packet of doma for my sister. She used to tell me that she came all the way from Samtse, the poorest dzongkhag, to earn little here and give her three children good education.

Now I look at the wretched pictures of Chamkar town, rubble, the only remaining of the town disheartens me. Though the town was razed down to ashes, I still have the rich memories of the otherwise lively town. I still recall the moment vividly when I was hit with a hard phallus at the restaurant’s entrance door, the shop of our “sponsor” girl, and the divorcee selling doma and newspapers. The same Sonam Hotel where we fought with the drunken monks was the hotel where a man traveling from Thimphu to Trashigang was burnt to death. Alas! They all went into ashes.