Saturday, 7 February 2015


Picture source: Google
Bumthang was a small sleepy town in the 1980s. The Chamkhar town is the assembly of all huts except for one traditional double-storied building near the round-about. The shops were mostly run by Tibetans who made Bhutan their homes following cultural revolutions in China.

I was still a student in lower classes in Jakar School when for the first time a group of fashionable young man came on the scene to grab the attention of the local people. These groups of men were young, energetic, stylish and fashionable men destined to take the town by storm. To a natïve, rustic and poor children like me, these trendsetters are nothing short of celebrity like film stars.

Some of these men had studied in Kalimpong and Darjeeling but, most were Bumtaps from Don Bosco technical school in Phuentsholing. They wore jeans and the so called gogo pants. They had long hairs, oiled and combed neatly. They spoke mostly English. We just opened our mouths widely appreciating and admiring these fashionable young men with admirations. Soon these men began working in mini industries started by Swiss expatriates in Bumthang.

They played football and the goalie used to catch slow moving ball by somersaulting. Small children watched in awe on their abilities. Back in school, we tried emulating the actions of those trendsetters. Some of these men worked in mechanical workshops while some began their career in the brown Swiss farm, some in hospital and yet some in carpentry workshops.

These young and energetic men formed a club called Druk Thuendrel Tshokpa. The founding members met often and tried their best to keep the theater open. They held many programmes and one of the programmes was on Hitler and the Second World War depicted in drama form. We got to watch the enactments of many other plays at the club house.

It was during the same period of time when some university graduates came to Bumthang to take up mandatory rural posting called the National Service. One of them was Tenzin Dhendup, the present day secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, Tenzin Dhendup. He was apparently a martial artist too as he demonstrated his skill s in a demonstration to the public at the club. One that I still remember to this day was breaking planks with his bare knuckles. That was enough to send a message to the audience not to mess with a martial artist.

Thanks to these young and trendy men, the club became popular in the town. It was a happening place in what was otherwise a sleepy town. I also remember having acted in a drama at the club. It was about Emperor Akbar and his wise minister Birbal. I played the role of Emperor Akbar.

The club apparently died long time back but, the memories of those days still linger fresh in my minds.

Gyembo Namgyal
February 7, 2015

11:30 PM.


  1. It is always good to remember past and go back to the times of how we were~ Nice to know about 80s Bumthang..