In Gorkha Dress With Our Bhutanese Kids

At Tenzing Sherpa's Park, Darjeeling Zoo

My Forestry Family At Darjeeling

Great Khasi Warriors of All Time

Black Hat Dance At Drametse Monastery

Taking The Evils Out Of The Courtyard

The Parade of Monks Chasing Evils

Together We Fight, Evils Always Loss

The Warriors Celebrate Victory Aginst Evils

He Makes Sure That Evils Don't Return

One Two And Three, We Are Next

Gather Your Men, Begin Your Mission

Make Sure You Have The Arms

Make Sure Your Arms Works

Thank God,We won Battle of Our Life

24/10/2015

Why naked dance if not naked?

In the bygone years, I have seen men performing naked dance in the hours of darkness during the annual festival of Korphu. To bury their identity, the face of naked dancers may possibly be masqueraded with concealing face outfits. The dancers would circumambulate around the bonfire in the rhythm of cymbals and drums. The dance may possibly be an entertainment for youths but a lady with no infant would witness in hope to have loaded with child by its blessing or expectant mother would see the dance for safeguard of her baby to be born, and others by way of trust that their sin of wrongdoings would get cleansed with the glimpse of the dance.

The naked dance was born in 8th century during the era of Guru Padmasambhava. It was first instigated by Lhachig Bumden Tshomo, one of the five major female tantric companions of Guru Padmasambhava to sidetrack the devil’s attention from causing chaos while constructing temples. Later, the folklore of nude dancing continued after having seen it in the crystal vision by the 15th century legendary spiritual treasurer revealer, Terton Padma Lingpa. Thus the term ‘Tercham’ is used for naked dance which means the treasure dances.

The dance though first documented to have been showcased in Nabji and Korphu in the history of man kind; it is at this time found to be well celebrated only in Jambay Lhakhang and Tamzhing festivals of Bumthang valley. In the year 2010, I visited my village (Korphu) only to discover the entire naked dancers modishly dancing with undergarments and the masquerading face outfits which is a shaggy dog story to the tradition of 8th century dakini who initiated the dance. 


Fig: Korphu, a village from where Naked dancing started 
When interviewed one of the dancers, he told that despite the fact they wear concealing face outfits, they are identified by onlookers through their body languages and physique. If under the moonlight the art of naked dancing cannot be performed in naked then what shall Bhutan do if it were to be performed naked under the sunlight like Naga Sadhus during Kumbh Mela in India. I watched the documentary film of the Kumbh Mela where naked Naga Sadhus with pride permit others to take their photography and they don’t even conceal their identity. Today, the Kumbh Mela is celebrated as biggest religious gathering of man kind with not less than seventy millions of devotees recorded this year in Allahabad, India.

When I cautiously studied the case of naked dancing, it is not really about the identity of dancers being known by spectators but festival being neglected at national level. The community of Korphu is helpless since most of the veteran dancers of the festival are retired and substituted by students who come for vacations. The juvenile students believe only to perform the nude dance as a mandatory norm of festival but do not care the quality of delivery. Once on having completed the studies, those students like me join the civil service and it is not easy to go back to village every occasion for dancing. Under such circumstances, every Tom, Dick and Harry joins the naked dancing without being really into naked state. At this verge, Bhutan rather than showcasing already well preserved common mask dances overseas like in Honolulu Museum of Arts or near the statue of Liberty in New York Harbor; it should focus into the corners of its nation to uplift the rare dances which are at the verge of fading or otherwise why naked dance if not naked?



Fig: Naga Sadhus Celebrating Kumbh Mela (Sharell Cook, 2013)

21/10/2015

Dussehra

Dussehra is a festival celebrating victory of good over evils. On this day Rama the 7th avatar of lord Vishnu defeated the ten headed king of Lanka who abducted his wife Sita. The Ramayana epic is like Vietnam War; if we look externally, it was a war by America for having attacked their USS Maddox and Turner Joy in the Gulf of Tonkin by North Vietnam but internally it was a fight to stop the spread of communism, and in the same way, Ramayana battle meant to free Sita from Ravana was external drama but internally it was a plot calculated by lord Vishnu to remove Ravana from the power as he was spreading ills over three anthropomorphic races of gods, men and serpents. Thereafter the defeat of Ravana, every year on the day of Dussehra, the effigy of Ravana is burnt in front of large assembly; reminding people of how good overpower evils.


Fig: Sita under Ravana's captivity (Photo Courtesy: S, Melissa,. A Year In Lanka-An Epic Women)
Some devotees however regard Ravana not an evil being as he was great ruler of Lanka with whose blessing even the poor during his reign had gold in their jars. He was also known to be follower of lord Shiva, and he also invited Lord Buddha in his kingdom to preach Buddhism. His ten head was said to be representation of his knowledge in six Shastras and four Veda. He wrote many books on medicines, Ayurvedi, and Hindu astrology. Thus, during Dussehra, the devotees at Ravana temple in different states of India celebrate Ravana as a renowned scholar and also as heart-son of lord shiva.

Again, Dussehra is also celebrated as victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasur. In order to defeat the demon, the creater Brahman, the maintainer Vishnu and the destroyer Shiva created Durga from the bands of lightening emerging from their mouth. The goddess then fought for nine days and nine nights with Mahisasur and on the tenth day she overpowered him. The festival then became the longest in the datebook of Hindus with fifteen days of celebration; first nine days signifying battle between the two, the tenth day marking the victory over the demon, and five more days of celebration of the victory.
Fig: Battle between Durga & Mahisasur (Photo Courtesy: P, Rajesh, 2012)
Now, let me come to the crux of my writing. Our farmers had finished harvesting their crops, and they deserve a fiesta but not in the manner they had been doing so far. If I’m not in the wrong, I heard that during the festival thousands of buffalos and goats are slaughtered near the temple to quench the thirst of goddess Durga. Is Durga really a blood thirsty goddess? No, I’m not attacking religion but hitting to those who rewrote it. Gods treat all the beings as their offspring, and who on earth a mother will drink blood of their heirs? Where is the victory of good over evils if lives of childlike animals are taken away in the name of religion?


Fig:Devotees sacrifice buffalo during Durga puja (Photo Courtesy: D, Javanta.,2011.IBTs) 
The best way to celebrate victory of good over evil is by remembering the warlord, the great Asoka. He adopted nonviolence and Buddhism on the day of Dussehra and became great dharma king. So, all who have been in the mistaken path are requested to change it like the great Asoka. Stop crime against animals in the name of religion, be sure and be pure in your path. DUSSEHRA MUBARAK KO!  



09/10/2015

Facebook Scams & Hoaxes

I was taken aback to see hundreds of our Bhutanese winning iphone in Facebook but I’m clear in my mind that those friends were dejected for having not received the promised prizes so far. Dear, sorry to say that scammers had used iphone as a bait to persuade our Facebook users into liking their pages and sharing their posts. I heard that once they gather a fat number of likes, these scammers put up their pages for sale in black to crooked marketers who might then rebrand the page and promote their products. If I’m not mistaken, the more likes a page has the more money it gets in the black market. If it was not a scam then whose company will go nuts to award eye-catching prizes for nothing more than hundred likes of their pages. On the other hand, authentic promoters will do the math beforehand and they will award economically viable numbers of prize, and shall also provide clear terms and conditions for claiming it.

Again, one more major hoax that hunts our Bhutanese Facebook users is circulation of pornographic videos to their friends and relatives without their knowledge. Our innocent users might have tried to play the footage during which the spambot automatically sends the hoax video link to user’s friends and thereby boosting traffic in its bogus website. Trying to open such attachments shall also harbour malware which affects functioning of your computer. Forget the viruses being downloaded; think about how uncomfortable your relatives would be to receive such pornographic links from you. These scammers in the mean time receive his share of money for having done his work.
Fig: Pornographic link circulated by Facebook Users

I’ve also learned that our Bhutanese friends are easy prey to emotional hoax messages shared in Facebook. May be such attitude defines how religious we are, or may be it points out how innocent we are. You might have partaken in circulating post which claims that Facebook will donate $1 for every like, $3 for every comment, and $10 for every share of a sick baby. Did you? Don't show your teeth, I'm not insulting you but us. The photo might have been shared by scammers for their own coldhearted gains without parent's consensus. So, Mark Zuckerberg will not at all throw a penny for such irrational efforts you make. Remember, the mentioned sick baby will not be treated but you are treated as a baby to fall into scammers trap.

Fig: Hoax Message about Sick baby

There are many hoaxes in Facebook meant for looting you or just posted for pleasure but remember not to agree if bogus pages asked to share your information with third-party marketers which if permitted makes you flooded with unasked marketing emails. It is said that for every time you share your personal details, the scammers earn a commission from such websites. Most Importantly don't share your mobile phone number to fake websites or otherwise you may land up paying huge bills for every SMS the scammers send to you. 

Sorry, this article of mine is not to undermine the knowledge and intelligence of thousands of Bhutanese Facebook users but to strike a chord for some who are victimized now and then by scams and hoaxes. After reading this article, if you felt that I’m making sense then don’t forget to share to you near and dear ones, and save them from the online hunters.

Note: Being amateur writer, I ask forgiveness for all the grammatical errors made. Your feedbacks shall be taken constructively to improve the page content.