Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pedestrian Day: A step in the right direction

~The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step~

Most of us today will see petroleum and other conventional energy sources run dry within our lifetime. By the end of the next couple of decades, our current way of life will come to an abrupt end. Our children will see diesel automobiles only as exhibits. We will then have no option but to revert to employing our physical faculties like our not so distant forefathers.

However, there are changes that we can make in our life style now so that we can keep at bay this dire scenario indefinitely .The conscious steps that we take now will also help us prepare for this eventuality so that when it does come, its impact would not be as disorienting and debilitating as it will otherwise be.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Natural Order: People’s Faith and Environment Management in Bhutan

After centuries of uninterrupted peace, stability and prosperity, Bhutan woke up to the changed realities of the world after a series of unprecedented natural disasters struck in quick successions bringing untold destructions and with it, a feeling of insecurity, uncertainty and anxiety among the Bhutanese people. This paper will try to briefly deal with the sense of security that the Bhutanese drew (and continues to draw) from their sustained faith in the power of the natural order that has been embedded in the country’s long Buddhist and naturalist traditions. The paper will also deal with how this belief in striking the right balance of the natural order resulted in the country’s unique conservation efforts. A study of the country’s largely intact natural environment will show that a small effort on the part of an individual nation can indeed show the way forward for the rest of the world.

Immortal: The story of a bull

@ google
This is the story of a beloved bull who lived long before the monstrous Japan made power tillers displaced others of his kind from their position of pride as a Bhutanese farming household’s chief preoccupation. His name was Bjan Ka Zeb (bjan dkar dzerb), named after the white furs that lined his dewlap and brisket. He was bought by my grandmother from a herd of bulls that was put up for sale by cattle traders from far east Bhutan who periodically came for such purposes to the villages of Sha (shar) and Wang (wang).

A Preliminary Study of Lo-ju – Invocation of a Warrior Deity

Lo-ju[2] (blo ‘gyur) is an ancient Pazap (dpa mdzangs pa) festival celebrated every three years across the villages of Shar valley in Wangduephodrang. This study focuses primarily on its Chungsekha version.

This ritual of propitiating the Dra-lha (dgra lha)[3] is conducted for the wellbeing of the Shar community and the nation at large by invoking and appeasing the pantheon of Drukpa protective deities in the martial traditions of the yore. At a glance though, it would seem like a throwback into a warlike past with an enactment of a battle scene by the village pazaps.

New-Age Tertons: Prospects and Challenges of Archaeology in Bhutan

@ Google
On one fine day when the sun was shining brightly on all sentient beings, a man who claimed sainthood jumped and immersed himself into the burning lake of Mebartsho. His retinue of followers were awashed with a mix of awe, wonder, guilt, fright, anger and some with sheer disgust. Choekhor Deb, the undisputed ruler of central Bumthang had ordered Pema Lingpa to retrieve a Terma (Dharma treasure) as a vindication of his claim to the Terton status.
The Deb chose that particular spot for the lake had the notoriety of boiling as if on fire and would consume anything even remotely disrespectful, leave aside someone who with absolute disdain dived into its very depth. He knew that if the claimant was an imposter, he wouldn’t make through this ordeal which was, of course, so much better for the charismatic Pema Lingpa was by now gaining considerable sway over the people of his prefecture.

Folklores of Bhutan: Origin, Forms and Thematic Significance[1]

This paper tries to identify the origin, types and some recurrent themes in the Bhutanese folklores through the exploration of literature whose publication has proliferated since the late 1990s. It posits Bhutanese folklore as an important national identity with an innate value system that nourishes the very soul of this tiny Kingdom amidst giant neigbours at a time when everything we have achieved so far could yet be lost. For being a vehicle of transmission of time honoured national ideals and standards, the paper proposes the preservation and promotion of Bhutanese folklore for all times to come by bringing out its thematic significance and the artistic treatment that it has received in each of the folk genre, which in itself is of much value[2].