Hidden in the folds of Himalayas, Bhutan is an extraordinary country. Her valley so beautiful comprising of the rolling hills, dense forest, and deep valleys steeped in Buddhist tradition and culture. Bhutanese culture is intrinsic and aboriginal. Culture is the beliefs, values, behaviours and material objects shared by particular people. Bhutan is best known to the outside world through its rich and unique culture heritage. This is a gift passed on from generation to generation.
With the passage of time, developmental activities in this hidden paradise have opened a new chapter. The lives of the people became more comfortable and tranquil. People are also developing new habits and their mentality had also altered and ultimately it leads to the change in the culture of our country. Amongst those people are the youths, who enjoy the luxury and comforts of the materialistic world. Modernization encouraged our youths to cope up with the changed way of the life. The youths and culture of our country are becoming contradictory. The youths are showing love towards western culture and adopting them, which today they associate with modernity. Our rich culture of Buddhist values are slowly giving way to the Hollywood and Bollywood culture.
While Bhutanese culture like Dzongs, architectural styles, games like archery and many others upsurge in fame worldwide because of its uniqueness, our non-material culture, i.e., values and beliefs,(our belief in local deities and faith in religion) language, songs and dances etc… seems to be diminishing in its popularity. Why? Because youths are not bothered. It is indeed very sad to learn that in this stage we hardly see youths speaking our own languages fluently. When observe them speaking our language, they at least use one foreign word in every sentence. Mixed languages have now become a nuisance. When inquired, our parents proudly says that they wore only our national dress in every field of work and every time but now, our beautiful costumes are neglected and youths prefer baggy pants and shirts, chains and bangles over their wrist, and earrings and bear long dyed hairs even by the boys. The boots measures twice their feet and bodies all painted or scratched with disgusting designs of tattoos. Is all these Bhutanese culture? These are not the aboriginal Bhutanese culture.
Drukyul is filled with hospitable man, who embodies love to all sentient beings, have loyalty and devotion to their motherland and possess a great faith in religion. Festivals were part of their life, from where they learn lots of good ethics, but youths of today are out of that vicinity. Given a choice between visiting a monastery and a discotheque, they would prefer the later. The former is ignored. Their lack of interest in our fabulous festivals and enchanting places cause deterioration and lost of its values. Actually the culture in which the youths are now stepping in are the much traveled path of barbarism where lives began with illusions.
The youths of today betray the belief that unseen spirits live everywhere- in earth and on trees, skies and water, rocks, forests and valleys and even in the ground under our feet, taking advantage of the bilateral factual scientific beliefs. In reality our own convictions in just mentioned perspectives are the source of peace and prosperity because when we fail to respect them or annoy them, they punish us with disastrous natural calamities causing great loss and bereavement. Moreover those beliefs have helped Bhutanese to preserve the country’s ecosystem and bio-network, offers landscape which is one of the biodiversity hotspots. The culture and natural heritage is the only asset of the nation and their preservation and conservation is one of the main pillars of fulfilling his majesty fourth kings’ philosophy of Gross National Happiness.
We the youths of today are the future leaders and citizens of the country. We need to pass down to our younger generations, the rich cultural heritage which was gifted to us by our forefathers. Time teaches us the desires, ambitions and dreams that grow up before we realize it, but let’s not blame the modernization for ourselves losing our culture. It is indeed our scandalous behaviour which leads to happen so. While promotion of these traditional values is the responsibility of every government agency and every citizen of the country, sole responsibility lies in the hands of the youths.
The value so called “Tha Damtse” the collective meaning for various values such as loyalty, gratitude, and unity, and “Lay Jumdrel,” the consequences of our thoughts and perform the sacred duty of rekindling the dying ambers of culture and tradition, thus to promote them so that in the process of modernization these values and national identities are not lost. This is one way of epitomizing our inner thoughts to the outside world. Let’s take care of every second so that hours can be cared by themselves, through the practice of values which are taught to us by our gracious teachers through physical education, career education, value education, etc.., so that the sun of peace and prosperity will shine till eternity in this land of Mystic Splendour.