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

Impact of Regional Tourists on Bhutan’s Tourism Policy

Regional tourists, especially from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries do not have to...

Dec 15, 2017 09:22

RENEW, Empowering the Disadvantaged

The organisation, which works towards renewing the dignity of women, addresses the issues of gender inequality through...

Dec 14, 2017 11:04

Solar Fencing Proves Effective in Kangpara

Farmers said that they had to take turns to patrol their fields in the rain. Bumden Zangmo, 24, recollects how she has...

Dec 12, 2017 10:08

Latest

News

Youth Consulted on Sustainable Development

Titled ‘Young Bhutan Network: The Spirit of Youth’, the guideline is expected to streamline the operation of networks and to strengthen the...

Dec 16, 2017 14:55

Education Ministry Working on Providing Lunch in All Schools

There are 301 schools under the school-feeding programme out of which 147 schools provide three meals a day while 154 provide lunch only.

Dec 10, 2017 10:23

Features

Impact of Regional Tourists on Bhutan’s Tourism Policy

Regional tourists, especially from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries do not have to pay the USD 200 to...

Dec 15, 2017 09:22

RENEW, Empowering the Disadvantaged

The organisation, which works towards renewing the dignity of women, addresses the issues of gender inequality through awareness, education,...

Dec 14, 2017 11:04

Sports

Athletes Seek Insurance to Cover Injuries

According to him, there were incidents in the past where an athlete had to bear his own expenses for injuries suffered in the match. “When...

Dec 13, 2017 07:06

​Bhutan to Face China on Dec 11

Bhutan will play China for the second time in five years on Monday. The two played for the first time in the same place in 2012 during the...

Dec 09, 2017 10:06

Business

Fuel Price Drop to Spur Economic Growth by 1%

“The drop in the prices will stimulate the economy by lowering the cost of transportation, resulting in a drop in prices for consumers and...

Nov 27, 2017 10:48

Ac​hieving the 100% Employment Pledge

The government has spent Nu 1.156 billions for the unemployed youths by involving them in trainings, workshops, internship opportunities for...

Nov 26, 2017 09:04

Travel

Journey to the Fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Chimi Wangmo, based in Thimphu, traversed through beautiful landscapes to witness the fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya.

Dec 07, 2017 09:18

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are centred around religious...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Lifestyle

Indulge in Awesome Japanese Food in Bhutan

On our various visits to the first ramen joint in Thimphu, we have seen Japanese diners as well as Bhutanese families stopping by for a...

Dec 06, 2017 07:40

Savour a Bit of Switzerland in Bhutan

The restaurant owners are a Swiss-Bhutanese couple who hail from Bumthang, where their family owns the Swiss Guest House, Red Panda Brewery...

Dec 01, 2017 08:29

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!