Fined for Refusing to Participate in a Village Festival

Sherab Dema, the daughter of the-once Dropon (lead dancer), was fined Nu 100,000 in Sept 2017 for refusing to participate in the village festival. The villagers would not have it that Sherab Dema’s father is now too old and physically challenged to be able to perform at the festival.

 

The preservation and promotion of culture is becoming increasingly difficult in rural Bhutan. While we continue to give special importance to the cardinal pillars of Gross National Happiness, our changing society is grappling with new challenges.

Some communities which lie far away from the dazzling lights of the cities are today facing a serious shortage of people to perform cultural dances and songs.

Last month, in Kamdar, Lhuentse, a family was sued by the community members for refusing to participate in the community’s dance festival.

The festival called Drochhung had faded away quietly. The people of Kamdar, Tangmachu, and Phagedung tried to revive it. Local leaders argued that preserving and promoting local cultures and traditions is important.

However, the family that the communities sued did not see it that way. They, the members of the family, felt that they were bullied.

Sherab Dema, the daughter of the-once Dropon (lead dancer), was fined Nu 100,000 in Sept 2017 for refusing to participate in the village festival. The villagers would not have it that Sherab Dema’s father is now too old and physically challenged to be able to perform at the festival.

Nu 100,000 is no small amount for farmers. Sherab Dema has agreed to pay the fine. What this tells us is that the family really had no other options.

If the preservation and promotion of culture should come to this, it will be very costly for the people in the future. Young people are increasingly leaving their villages and going to towns and cities to seek better lives and economic opportunities.

Aging parents back home can do only so much. While some cultures are dying quietly, many have already vanished.

As our society progresses, culture will inevitably evolve. Our unique national dress, language and some common cultures will be all that will define us in the long run.

Efforts to preserve local cultures are important, but changing times as such comes with unique demands of their own. Making each member of a community contribute to reviving our tradition is not feasible and sustainable.

Today, this happened in Kamdar. Tomorrow it could be some other villages. Community vitality can only be nurtured, it cannot be forced.

What about individual rights then?

(This article has been edited for the Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared on Kuensel.

 


Related Posts

Preserving Bhutan’s Music and Traditions

“Bhutan is developing at a faster pace; traditional customs are not. We need to balance these developments. We are...

Sep 28, 2017 11:28

Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a...

Oct 06, 2017 18:29

Patterns of Happiness opens in Thimphu

With 71 paintings by various Bhutanese artists, a competition exhibition named Patterns of Happiness opened at the...

Sep 28, 2017 07:07

Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow...

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Aug 08, 2018 16:09

Bhutan Marks World Ranger Day To Honour Women Rangers In The...

The day, themed ‘Stand with the World’s Rangers’, was aimed at recognising women rangers in the country. Today, the...

Aug 02, 2018 17:53

VAST – A Champion Of Contemporary Art In Bhutan

The Founder of VAST, who is fondly known as Asha Karma, has devoted his time to promoting contemporary art ever since...

Jul 30, 2018 18:42

Latest

News

Bhutan’s Satellite Deployed From ISS Along With Limited Edition Stamps Launched To Laud Event

Live-streamed on YouTube, representatives from various countries and institutes gathered at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in...

Aug 11, 2018 16:08

Daily Professional Fee Proposed For Tour Guides To Boost Tourism In Bhutan

Such an initiative is also thought to help boost the image of the profession in Bhutan and retain senior tour guides.

Aug 10, 2018 12:09

Features

Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow And Arrow

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Aug 08, 2018 16:09

Bhutan Marks World Ranger Day To Honour Women Rangers In The Country

The day, themed ‘Stand with the World’s Rangers’, was aimed at recognising women rangers in the country. Today, the forestry department has...

Aug 02, 2018 17:53

Sports

The Myriad Of Sporting Facilities Constructed In Bhutan To Promote Healthy Living

The government in its 11th FYP report stated that it undertook the development of various infrastructure and institutions to promote sports...

Jul 29, 2018 08:33

Adolescent Girls In Bhutan Learn About Health And Sanitation Through Weeklong District Cricket Championship

The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent girls to be a critical...

Jul 21, 2018 16:29

Business

Start-up Centre In Bhutan Held Session To Provide Advice On Doing Business For Entrepreneurs

Guidance was provided during the first session on starting a business held at the newly established start-up centre at Changzamtog, Thimphu.

Aug 14, 2018 12:06

SDF To Develop E-Commerce Platform And Support Start-Ups In The South Asian Region

The SDF has already achieved and disbursed US$ 47mn for 12 cross-border projects.

Jul 24, 2018 09:03

Travel

About 91 % Of International Visitors Intend To Revisit Bhutan And 85 % Want To Recommend Nation Of Happiness To Others

The majority (80.4 %) of the international visitors expressed that the culture and traditional charm attracted them to Bhutan.

Aug 13, 2018 12:11

DrukAir To Fly Between Bhutan And Singapore Via Guwahati Starting Sept 1

The new flight will connect Paro to Singapore via Guwahati.

Aug 09, 2018 10:37

Lifestyle

Gokab – The First Dance Studio To Be Registered In Bhutan For Dancing Enthusiasts

Gokab, a youth group comprising of mostly dance enthusiasts, has seen a healthy growth of membership numbers since its inception in 2015.

Aug 12, 2018 15:44

Red Rice Is Bhutan's Staple Food And This Brewery Has Turned It Into Its Flagship Beer

Namgay Artisanal Brewery is the new kid on the block and it’s got everyone talking about its red rice lager.

Aug 03, 2018 14:04

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!