Bhutan Built Berlin Wall is Yet to Fall Down

The pull down of Berlin wall, in 1990, reunified East and West Germany. Many people returned from West Germany to East Germany with documents and evidences to claim the land, houses and properties they themselves or their parents owned as early as in 1925-1930. They, then, had to leave East Germany under duress of various types.

The physical unity was stiff and complete yet the barriers existed between hearts; the discrimination between East and West Germans are still bitter experiences for many. The division was forceful, sudden and unwanted and the reunification had a reverse trend. Two decades after the fall of the wall, the East Germans feel cheated and the West Germans feel they compromised for a loss.

At the same time when the Berlin wall was being bulldozed and souvenir hunters were rushing to secure a brick from the debris, monarch of Bhutan, a tiny Himalayan nation, was constructing a stanch barrier segmenting the people. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was the first man seen behind the scene doing everything possible to reduce his opposition. He wanted to continue chairing the government, securing the throne and his family rule.

On top of that, he wanted to apply his untested philosophies through verbal commandments. In an ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse country, he enforced to instill nationalism through doctrinal decree, according to which his tribal customs were regarded superior to others, hence a must for all to adopt in-toto, shunning their own. The partition obtained potency thereafter.

Those who supported him gained his side and others found themselves on the opposite side. All the people of the nation were classified into eight categories. The opponents were classified into seven files, popularly termed as F1 to F7, and the eight which was the list of the people on his side were above the file. People were registered into different files based on the ethnicity, census records, marriage and allegiance to the government or the opposition parties.

In a flash of events, people came out to street demanding democracy, human rights, equality and a change in the system of governance. The reaction was termed anti national activity; strict regulations were circulated to pin down the reactionaries. Brutal state sponsored terrorism engulfed the rural settings.

People were incarcerated and tortured, many died. With a hope to live a day longer, people fled from their homes. The first victims were the people in the southern belt which is the flat and fertile part of the country. The people, who were living for generations, fled leaving behind everything with a hope to return with the return of normalcy. Neither of the two returned. The land and properties left behind were fast shared by the royal family members, aristocrats and their supporters who carried out the maneuver.

The earlier owners, most of whom became refugees and are living in refugee camps in Nepal are longing for an early return to their homestead. The later owners are bestowed with the onus of protecting the border to prevent possible infiltration by the earlier owners.

Two decades later, the wall is strong, the will and effort from either side is weak to hammer it down. The separation of family members is sadly hidden by the members on either side just to let the other members on the enemy side stay unnoticed for safety. Almost every family in the refugee camps has their relatives behind in Bhutan. Their sweet dreams of reunion always dissolve into the bitter tears of harsh realities.

On the either sides of the wall, extremism are growing. The differences are widening in language, education system and the brought up. The integration of the two groups of people, if at all, shall be increasingly difficult with the delay in time. The ruler must face the challenge; go for integration now and inherit a harmonious society to the descendant than leave the war of integration on latter’s shoulder.

Even after seven to eight decades, the Germans claimed and got back their properties or compensations through legal struggle. This must be the source of hope and inspiration for struggle to the Bhutanese fugitives in exile to conserve their hopes alive and strong. The same must spur an intuition of wisdom in the present rulers to stop hiding their head in the sand, to rise up to face the realities, to break the wall and lay foundation to a trouble free harmonious society, before the situation compels them to jump into the abyss they themselves dug.