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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bhutan’s March to Democracy 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or more pithily, Vafadaar ke khoon se baaghi paida hota hai. As Bhutan voted, the world cowered as a tiny nation showed how it’s done. And as in most places, a collective call to arms by the populace was scarce the reason why a compact monarchy chose to metamorphose into a democracy-that zenith of human plurality, and seemingly by of and for the people. It has been the (seemingly) unilateral decision of its king King Jigme Singhye Wangchuck who after abdication has left the transition of the Oxford-returned King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, his 26 year old son.

It’s not without its foibles—the steadfast move to a democratic system is itself patently undemocratic ( as it was in India ) , a pathological pristine culture bordering on xenophobia is dangerously fragile, little fanfare or canvassing/begging for votes and certainly no pebble-counters to go wrong by a hundred percent.
Instead what we have is a comical strictness of approach that had not one but two mock elections where the denizens chose between non-existent parties divided by colour alone, a fastidious Election Commissioner and a commendable insistence on a university degree and a crime-free background.

Almost a School election where nameless entities canvassed for two hours beseeching for votes in favour of causes that had not existed till the previous day, and would promptly sublimate once the results were announced.


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