Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bhutan has a long way to go.

Last night I was chatting on Facebook with a Bhutanese guy who studied abroad and now has a job there. As a friendly commentary we got to discuss his pay and then he just added as a friendly whole commentary that he should stick out there for few more years and marry a blondie(Irrelevant to the topic but and we were joking). When asked for my opinion, I actually no no clue what to answer. And I thought for few seconds and told him this, "Given the current situation our country is in, it would be better if you lived out there and earn the hard currency, earn a little lot more and then come back to the country with the advanced expertise and of course the hard currency." (I did not advise to the blondie joke).

It wouldn't hurt if he is missing from Bhutan for a few years. As of right now the sky is falling in Bhutan and quite literally. Had anyone thought this day would come? And not so significant if looked from an foreigners perspective. But as a Bhutanese citizen we are in dire need of an eleventh hour Samaritan who would hand us over a billion Indian Rupees. 

Yes the country's source of everything is now slowly depleting. Because almost everything came from India and some other countries. Massive imports and so little of export. This day was of course then destined to come. Eighty percent of our population are engaged in agriculture and yet we had/have to depend on the imports from outside. Why is that? Why hadn't we not taken up to reinforcing the eighty percent of our agricultural potential in supplying our citizens the basic demands of life?

And of course the other basic demands of life- clothing and shelter. Everything comes from outside. Your t-shirts and your jeans are from Bangkok. Your sports equipment are from Hongkong. Your SUVs are all the way from Japan. And then your food and vegetables are from India.
Why are we here today? 

I will admit I have never studied economics in my life. But as an idiot I am, this mind of mine tells me that Bhutan as a whole has skipped a lot of those stepping stones of development. We come in one of the fastest developing nations of the world. What was Bhutan 20 years ago? There were no roads and people had to depend on the sturdy foot of their mules and horses. And there were no chemical fertilizers, but people worked hard and their plots flourished with vegetables and rice and those basic things that earned your survival.

And in these 20 years, the development has boomed so much that people grew indolent. The easy life was presented and people always choose the easy life. The basic necessities of life for which we did not need to depend on others before, we chose to just "import". And import more. After all the varieties from outside the country are always a bit 'exotic'?

We haven't seen people on bi-cycles and then graduating to Scooters and then finally to a small affordable car . Everybody wants a Land Cruiser. Pass out from college, enroll in a decent job and buy a Land Cruiser. On loan. (I am citing just one example).
What a waste! This unpractical approach to living has generated a nation whereby we have become so dependent on others. Because many citizens of the country drown in the vicious cycle of not being able to pay and then having to give up "what has been earned".

The youth are sprawling on streets of Thimphu and move around aimlessly as unemployed lot while we have numerous labourers from outside the country. The urban problem continues.

It is time we should now go back to the very basics. First would be of course the vegetables and cereals (funny as it may sound). There are ample land and human resources. Let us look to that. 
Minimizing the imports and minimizing those Land Cruisers too. Respecting blue collar jobs. Of course the economy of the country is not strong right now, and it will never be if we ignore these signs.
The Utopian nation we are trying to create by ideologies like GNH and 'One nation,one people' is not going to thrive long if we are unable to sustain our hungry stomachs. Let not the easy life fool you. Rather work hard and be somebody and earn for your country.

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