FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The lows of living in the highlands
Posted:May 10, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
It is not everyday that those who live in the highlands are remembered. When they are, it is often driven by events or visits of important officials. Festivals are held to showcase them, their culture, attire and life. They adorn tourism brochures and postcards and are marketed as an exotic community where nature nurtures their way of life.
 
What do not seem to be captured in the frames of these moments are issues that worry our highlanders. The celebratory spectacle of pastureland, grazing rights and yaks and sheep appear to have obscured the fact that rice, like the rest of the country is also the community’s staple diet.
 
It is an irony that the people of Sakteng, who were provided sheep and power tillers a day before had to draw lots to buy rice. Many had to return home empty handed for want of luck, not money. It is sad that the road to the community, which is used to transport ration remains blocked while politicians fly in and out in a helicopter. It is worse that the stock of rice was saved for guests who are yet to arrive but is not available to those who need it the most.
 
Bhutan is known as much for its hospitality as for its belief in the roll of dice or draw of lots. Cultural norms such as luck and karma are often persuasive in informing and, to an extent, convincing a community of their problems. But such a rational for rice or any other food would be stretching these norms a bit too far. If politicians and chillies can be airlifted, bags of rice could also be transported to Sakteng. If the highlanders are Bhutan’s pride, their lack of access to available rice should be our shame. The shortage of rice in Sakteng belies the fact that it is located just miles away from the so-called rice bowl of the east.
 
It is hoped that the issue receives attention of the policymakers. Besides reminding us about Bhutan’s dependency on imported rice, the rice shortage in Sakteng tells us about the challenges of living in the highlands.
 
Our communities in the highlands are more than distant exotic cultural exhibits to be displayed in brochures and postcards. They may be afar but they are one of us. Their problems are ours and ours entirely to address.
 
Kuensel Online, May 11, 2017
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image During the visit to Vietnam by Modi in 2016, economic cooperation was highlighted as a strategic priority in the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” between the two countries
 
read-more
The UN will require Sri Lankan troops to undergo “enhanced screening” for human rights violations going back to the final years of the civil war before they can be deployed as peacekeepers.
 
read-more
Video Gallery

 
see-more
Is it the Modi magic or Modi cult propelling the BJP to new heights with the opposition pulverised and decimated by the split vote banks of these parties in large parts of India? The BJP has gained five states in the assembly elections but lost Delhi and Bihar, writes Lalit Sethi
 
read-more
The ice that has gripped the government’s policies on Kashmir is beginning to melt, but what it is revealing underneath is confusion.
 
read-more
Recently, quite a few stories have appeared on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in both local and international publications.
 
read-more
What a week it has been for the Middle East! People of Iran came out in droves to re-elect Rouhani as president for another term.
 
read-more
Let’s face it: We are turning into, literally, a species of killjoys. The prime examples of this evolutionary trait are those that comprise the Islamic State or Al Qaeda and their adherents outside the West, or even India for that matter. Their latest outrage, in a repetitively numbing pattern, was obviously in Manchester, target
 
read-more
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive