How has democracy changed my life?

Personally it has changed nothing for me. I am still who I was and used to be before any election happened in Bhutan. Yet why do people get so excited about the whole thing? For ordinary persons it’s something that had happened in Thimphu and to the upper section of the society.

So many lives have changed overnight, so many got patangs and kabneys. The only people benefited by the democracy are the bureaucrats, politicians etc. Their lives have changed drastically. Overnight they have become ‘dashos’ from not so ‘somebody’. For them democracy is good because it means good earning, fame, patang, blue kapney, vehicle allowance and many many more. And who wouldn’t want that?

But for an ordinary farmer in Zhemgang, what does democracy changed for him? Nothing. For him it’s just an event that has happened in Thimphu which is not of his concern. For him it matters not who the leaders are because for him nothing significant is going to change. For him miracle hasn’t happened before nor does he expect it to happen now.

Democracy is on the lips of all Bhutanese people irrespective of their educational background. For most illiterate farmers in Bhutan, democracy is just a word they like to talk about constantly. The word is used often by all the section of the society but it all die down once the initial phase is over. School children today consider, electing their class representatives through a voting system as democracy but democracy is much more than that. Democracy is not only about choosing a leader but also the leaders being aware of their mandate and being accountable to the people who elected them.

This way the government is always under the scrutiny of the media and people in general. The people need to remove the leaders as well if the representative is not doing a good job of people’s voice being heard in the parliament. The bi-lateral relationship should be healthy and not biased.

The question that always dwells in my mind is: what has democracy done to me? How has it changed my life? Well there’s no concrete answer to that. So far, it’s done nothing nor do I expect it to change my life in the near future. The same case applies to the ordinary people all over Bhutan. By this, does it mean democracy is good for only the upper section of the society?


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