Wednesday, 24 December 2014


In a bush covered lonesome moorland,
A lonely old-timer watches his cattle grazing
From a mossy rock that is a vantage point.
He beams sending furrows deeper on his wizened face,
A bamboo hat on his head, a machete hangs on his hip,
A flute to serenade is tugged under the belt,
The belt that holds his threadbare Gho well above his knees,
And he shouts barrage of habitual commands to cattle in the meadow.

In the distance is a small hamlet,
Dark houses sprawl on the slope,
Till the place where no longer a home can stand.
Eerily silent the hamlet looked from afar,
Hardly is it different when you are closing near.

Dark are the houses and some in ramshackle state,
All bear sooty looks from ageless use,
Of ceaseless burning of woods in their hearth.
Though they stand as testimony of habitation,
There is no sign some are in use anon,
And the cowboy says half are empty and half on the verge.

This is the place where many herded cattle,
For generations and as long as he can remember,
Where they played traditional games in midday,
And in groups shared some of their rowdy jokes in rain,
Of their muscular heroics and tryst with fairer sex,
But it is he alone who come to the same place now.

His bones are aching from arthritic joints,
His muscles are wasting and eyesight failing.
One day he will no longer herd his cattle here,
And that will be the death of a tradition, his infatuation.

His heart laments on his emptying village,
The old are passing and young are schooling,
Learning how and why not come back to old ways,
The agile are drifting looking for greener-grasses,
People are becoming heartless like any other races.

But he leaves a message-what you are looking for is here,
He know it’s all futile and no one will lend ears,
No one is made to listen but to be egocentric,
He cries inside of what he is witnessing,
This village now is a far cry from what it used to be,
But, he must be subservient to the fate he is consigned,
To the day he is able; he will come back and herd his cattle here,
Until he is no more able or no more are his body and soul together.

Gyembo Namgyal
December 24, 2014
9:30 PM

Thursday, 18 December 2014


Picture source: Google
Attitude of indifference-dangerous
“Break the Corruption Chain,” is this year’s theme for the International Corruption Day marked on December 9. The theme cannot be more appropriate because if the fight on corruption is to be won, there is a need to break the chain. Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) also declared December 10 to 17 as National Anti Corruption Week.

The last day of the weeklong commemoration fell on December 17, our National Day. The timing could not have been more appropriate because His Majesty’s this year’s National Day Speech carried a loud and clear message on corruption and the dangers of Bhutanese indifferent attitude towards corruptions.

This attitude is dangerous because corruption can then become deeply entrenched in the system and if it does, rooting out will require herculean task. It is important that corruption is not allowed to take root in the first place. With His Majesty, calling upon the nation to change our attitude, it is expected to give a shot in the arm on the fight against corruption.

 His Majesty’s speech also made one thing clear that there is no such thing as big and small corruption. His Majesty said that perpetrators must be dealt firmly no matter how high or powerful someone is. This dispels the notion of people who are beginning to think that it is only those ordinary citizens upon whom laws are applied while the rich and the powerful remain untouched.

 Anti Corruption Commission under its capable leader in Dasho Neten Zangmo is doing a commendable job despite challenges. Bhutanese must appreciate what ACC is doing and offer support to make our society free of this scourge of corruption.

Despite efforts of ACC and stringent laws, there is a feeling among general people that corruption is on the rise and in more sophisticated form. This is a cause of concern for all the right thinking people. The irony is that, some people in positions could be exploiting loopholes in the systems to carryout acts of corruption. And when such a thing takes place, it becomes all the more difficult to detect corruption. They do it by bending laws and hijacking the authority they wield.

Corruption could be taking place in various government agencies and organizations but, it is thought to be rampant in construction industry. Nepotism, cost escalations, additional works, pending bills, awarding works without bidding, limited inquiries, etc all provide rooms for corruption and people are thought to be exploiting these loopholes rampantly. Corruption could also be taking place many other areas and our indifferent attitude is allowing it to take different dimensions.

After a series of high profile corruption cases in the past, people now eagerly follow the Lhakhang Karpo corruption case. People heard of this case but after the indefinite lull in the talk, people thought the matter must have been closed until mainstream media wrote of the Office of Attorney General (OAG) preparing prosecution.

There was a similar case in Yongla Gonpa re-constructions which the ACC investigated and the OAG prosecuted some engineers. What was surprising was that, the guilty accepted the charges and agreed to repay the embezzled amount. He was back in his job and in same position. People still asks, how this is even possible.

In the corporate world, the recent deliberation in the National Council on exponential raise of salaries and Bhutanese individuals owning fleet of trucks for transportation under Indian registration are new dimensions of corruptions and these may just be the tip of an iceberg.

Misuse of professional and positional authority to carry out acts of nepotism, bypassing existing laws also happen potentially for unknown kickbacks. A mining can be in the guise of land development. Quarrying can be in the name of surface collection. Local concerns can be superseded, so on and so forth, the list can become long.

picture: Google
How do we deal with this kind of corruption? I am sure; people who misuse their authorities and indulge in corruption must have listened to what His Majesty said during the 107th National Day. Hello there, you on the cozy chair, His Majesty was speaking to people like you out there.

Finally, let’s all make this pledge not to be corrupt and also shed this attitude of indifference because we all care for our country. If we care, we must dare and because we care we should dare too.

Thank you.
Gyembo Namgyal
December 18, 2014

07:30 PM

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


picture courtesy: BBS
“His Majesty, the Drukgyal Zhipa, the father of nation is a true manifestation of Rigsum Goenpo. In the firmness and decisiveness, His Majesty is the manifestation of Chhana Dorji. In compassionate form, His Majesty is like Chenrigzi, the god of compassion and in his wisdom and farsightedness, His Majesty is like Jampelyang, the god of wisdom,” said His Majesty, the King in his awe inspiring speech to the people of six eastern dzongkhag in particular and nation as whole during the 107th National Day celebration in Kanglung in Trashigang.

This year’s National Day was a special one for the country. It was for the first time, the National Day was held outside the capital in many years. It was a special occasion for the people of Trashigang and the five districts in eastern Bhutan to be a part of this historic event. The huge crowd that spilled out of the Sherubtse College ground braving the cold and overcast weather from early morning indicated the enthusiasm of people.

There were many entertainment programme for the day but, the highlight of the day as always was His Majesty’s speech. The highlight of this year’s speech was on the danger of corruption derailing the very foundation of the nation. His Majesty said that, there are no degrees in corruption such as insignificant ones or grave corruption. “Corruption is evil”, His Majesty said. “We must deal with corruption firmly with no fear or favour irrespective of how high or well connected the perpetrators are.”

His Majesty said, that there is even a graver issue to deal with than the corruption itself and that is the attitude of indifference and lack of concern our people have towards corrupt practices that will be even more devastating. This will have huge impact on the moral of those who are dedicated and honest people. His Majesty also spoke on the importance and the need to identify such people and bring them at the forefront and recognize them.

His Majesty explained on how exponentially each five year plan outlays are increasing and the challenges of corruptions confronting the nation. The importance of good governance in utilizing the limited resources available for equitable development based on transparency and accountability was also emphasized in no uncertain terms. His Majesty said that, there is nothing we cannot do. It is whether we have the will to do them that matter the most. His Majesty reiterated his resolve to dedicate his life in the service of the country and people once more.

Another important highlight of the speech was on meeting national goals and priorities with special reference on the need and importance of achieving food self sufficiency. His concern of migration and land fragmentation was also clear. His Majesty highlighted on the progress of ongoing welfare (Kidu) on land distribution and said that, the kidu programme that is ongoing right now is just the first phase and different phases of this welfare scheme will continue in the years to come.

His Majesty also facilitated different sections of the society with medals and awards during the day. They include farmers, teachers, and former civil servants along with other meritorious awards to distinguished individuals. He also informed people on His Majesty instituting some more awards for next year in fields like extraordinary services, innovations and creativity and, in the field of efficiency and cost saving.

This year’s national day must have been an experience of a life time for those who could attend in person. The disturbance of the broadcast was irksome at times for people watching TV who are eager to have a rare glimpse of His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo who people miss so much since his abdication some nine-years ago. The 107th National Day in Kanglung was certainly a watershed moment for the people of eastern Bhutan that will live in memories for a long long time.

Long live His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

 Palden Drukpa Lhagyello.

Gyembo Namgyal
December 17, 2014

Saturday, 13 December 2014


picture source: Google
“I have been working in project DANTAK for the last 35 years as a daily wage worker. And the last decade or so has been quite lonely as I am on my own,” said an unknown labourer working on the road widening works near Narphung with whom I struck up a conversation.

I was heading to Dewathang to bring home my son from school after he wrote his last exam on December 13. I had to wait for the road to open for traffic at an ongoing road widening work site. It was cold, and the overcast weather isn’t doing any better for the labourer working on the shaded side of the mountain. I took out some pieces of Doma-Paan and offered the labourer who accepted it gratefully.

It was a brief talk but, talking to him just reminded me on how lucky even those Bhutanese who consider themselves as poor are. Even the so called poor in Bhutan have a roof over their head and also own a plot of land. We are not poor at all.

This man whose forefather migrated from Nepal must have struggled to get a legal status in India. Despite having been born in India, he hardly had time to stay at home. He had to find a source of income to support his family. And without education, the only way to find even a menial employment was as a road worker in DANTAK and that kept him separated from his family for a long time.

“My wife died long time back when my daughters were still kids. And despite the struggle, they have now all grown up and left me all alone,” he said ruefully.

I learnt from him that one of his daughters was married off to a man in Kathmandu, another in Gauhati and the last one stays in another place, the name of the place just trailed off as he scampered to attend a signal from one of his friend.

The brief interaction made me realize how unkind life has been for him. He is ageing and he does not even have a home to go or any social security from an organization he dedicated his life to. Even today, he is a daily wage worker. He is worried but the road ahead is just a blank…why?
Picture source: Google

Little ahead someone flagged me down. Another Indian man looking dignified asked for a ride. I agreed to take him if he is willing to go till Dewathang.  I begin talking in English to ignite conversation. He spoke few words and then asked me if I knew Hindi. We begin our talk in Hindi. I wondered if my Hindi was any better than his English.

I learnt that he is an engineer working on the road widening work. He is going to Gauhati to meet his family where they have made temporary home to enable him to work in Bhutan. He is from Uttarkhand. We talked about the tragedy of flood there and the beauty of mountains. The image of tragedy is still vivid in everyone’s mind.

We talk about Indo-Bhutan friendship. He is a fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I think he will bring back all the black money and also root out corruption.” He mentioned some figure of black money but I have difficulty remembering figures.

I asked him what he thought of Bhutan. “Ah, this is a beautiful place, friendly people, clean environment and so peaceful,” he said. He added that Bhutan’s entire population of about seven lakhs can all become prosperous with abundant resources if the income is equitably distributed. I couldn’t agree more.
picture source: Google

He appreciated availability of organic vegetable for consumption and said that, there would be a niche market for Bhutanese organic fruits and vegetable in Gauhati as many affluent people are becoming more health conscious. This is what I always felt possible and if explored may provide our farmers a lucrative outlet for farm produce.

We would have talked a lot more but we reached our destinations. He said, it was first time he was travelling with a Bhutanese and it was an entirely different experience. “I thoroughly enjoyed this trip,” he said. And he asked me to drop at his place when I travel on this highway for a cup of tea. He asked my phone number and dialed a call back so that I can register his number.

Finally when I reached my destination little further from where I dropped my travelling mate, I checked my phone to see time and I saw a missed call. I called the number back thinking it must be important and the voice on the other end said, “Sir, hum haain…Sushil.”

Who Sushil? And then I remembered it was my travelling mate’s cell number and yeah, it is him Sushil, my new friend. I had to save embarrassment, so struck a short conversation.

“Haan Sushil…..gaari to milenga na?”
“Milenga sir,  zaroor milenga.”
“Aacha…tab to thrik haain.”
“Daaniya baad…thank you.”

It was an eventful day interacting with strangers. I urge, we need to talk more, break the ice and there is always something interesting to learn. Everyone has a story to tell like the labourer and Sushil, if you want to hear their stories, talk to strangers instead of shutting yourself closed inside invisible walls.
picture source: Google
Gyembo Namgyal
December 14, 2014
09:00 AM

Note: I am so sorry; my blogs are always becoming long. I know, you don’t have time to read them but, if you begin reading, I am sure you will read it to the end.

Happy weekend and HAPPY NATIONAL DAY on December 17.

Thursday, 11 December 2014


picture source: Google

It is winter, when the wind blows strong,
Lashing on your face like you are wrong,
You cannot see it in any form,
But it is there like it is the norm.

It is winter, on the high mountains tops,
Or the low valley gully drops,
On the high mountains are snow white caps,
In the low valleys icicles form on water drops.

It is winter, deciduous trees are stark naked,
Not a leaf stand, on the boughs all crooked,
Fast withers blades of grasses en mass,
Until the wind blows them away all in mass.

It is winter, when the smoke rises,
From the chimneys of the plush high rises,
And the smokes also bellows in thick plumes,
From crevices and over ramshackle huts, it looms.

It is winter, it is cold,
In the mugs brews are bold,
Buttered tea, espresso coffee,
Yummy porridge, devour feeling no gaffe.

It is winter, it is cold,
Thick clothes in vogue are sold,
High boots, woolen jumpers, long stockings,
In the discos wearers do the rocking.

It is winter, it is cold, and people pour,
Out of discos in twos and fours,
All high, even mild are first tipsy,
And the bold all fall flat topsy-turvy.

It is winter, it is cold,
For those soul that are old,
Under the thick of warm blanket’s fold,
They snuggle like they found gold.

©Gyembo Namgyal
11:30 PM

Haila….., it has been over a week. More than a week, perhaps over ten days to be precise since I last updated my blog. I am sorry, I was busy. Honestly busy. And the worse thing is that for the same period we had power outage during the days. I had to burn the late night candles to work on some deadlines and the updates had to wait.

I know I have obligations to the small but valuable circle of my blog readers, so I had to do it today; crude and raw as it may be perpetually. So have little fun reading this poem that was inspired by what is going through me as I begin working my fingers on laptop keyboard. Cold has enveloped me. It has to because this is winter and it is all powerful right now. Just feel, even the glowing sun has to cull its heat intensity….and who am I to be defiant?

Have a good night guys and may god bless you and love you all!!!