Have you ever asked this question? People might think this as an easy question. I bet this is not as easy as you think? Until you are asked to explain it to a foreigners you will never know the depth of this question.Unique identity? Gho and kira? Culture? That’s the first thing that’s comes to our mind. Right? So what? Does just wearing Gho and kira make you a Bhutanese? Or having unique culture and identity make you a Bhutanese. Will you be able to explain why you wear gho and kira apart from the answer of it being a national dress? When you think it that way, the question becomes harder? I believe that being Bhutanese is more than just wearing gho/kira and speaking dzongkha.
Knowing our history. History is one of the most important tools that can track the story of our existence (in this case as a Bhutanese). Spiritually, understanding who we are might be a big question. But it’s not uneasy to understand yourself historically. Who has all the time to read history? plus documentation is poor in Bhutan. Find other ways, we have lots of wisdom in our older generation! Simply knowing our history will help us appreciate our identity and build a sense of pride of who we are
Understand why our Dzongs stands rather than knowing just the names. Dzongs played such a significant role in the history of our country. Without it, we wouldn’t have survived as a Nation today. Just knowing their importance shows our gratitude for our forefathers.
Not just waiting for the government to do everything for you. But making our little contribution to the community we live in. Small deeds matters. For a while, move away from the kidu culture mindset and start making little difference. This could make our lives lot more better!
Just knowing the definition of GNH is not important as living by it. Our society is on the phase of transformation that we even do not know who our neighbors. Do we? Little deeds like having courtesy to say hello to your neighbor makes you happier than dancing all night in an unknown space.
Not just going to a Lhakhang or religious gathering because you are force by someone (or you feel odd by not going) but knowing why you are going there. Most often we go to ritual or preaching just because everyone does. Do you question on such matters? Learning to question is not rude, it means you are thinking differently .
Kira and Gho. Of course, you know why we wear it. But do you know, how/when did it emerge? Who designed it? What each part symbolize? I never asked anyone. Have you? Now, don’t you think it’s important for us to know it being the citizens of the country.
Do you know dzongkha both written and spoken? I mean at least basic for those who went to schools. Now a days it has become a trend for people to proudly say I don’t know dzongkha (I mean the literate ones, sorry for being judgmental) . I don’t blame you, it has already become a trend, but at least don’t infect your children with this cliche. Teach them to be proud to speak and write it.
Collective efforts in times of crisis and not be divided by religious or political ideologies. Like in the recent earthquake in Nepal. I was truly moved by what a collective effort can do.
In the end, who are you if you don’t know anything about where you come from, about your origins, your family, your language, your own culture -Kelly.E