Monday, March 24, 2008

600 km to vote !!!!

Bhutan is a small insignificant country nestling in the eastern arms of the Himalayas and any event there does not capture the world attention. The current political changes happening there is no exception. Bhutan is holding its first ever general elections marking a transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.
While this is insignificant for the rest of the world, it seems to be an event of great importance to the Bhutanese. They seem to be very enthusiastic about participating in this "historic" event. Their enthusiasm is perfectly captured by this news article that talks about how a 65-year old woman made a 600 km long journey by foot just to cast her vote.
Apparently she suffers from motion sickness and does not prefer travelling by car (which she has done only one before in her life). So, she undertook the 600 km journey to her hometown by foot. She walked for 14 days just to cast her vote. People all over the country have travelled to the different corners of their rugged & mountainous country to participate in this historic exercise.
Bhutan is a very small country that thrives on subsistence agriculture, cottage industries, hadicrafts and such. It has a very low per capita income of around US$ 1,321. In spite of this, it is supposed to have one of the happiest populace. They've used a term called "Gross National Happiness" to demonstrate that the population is infact much more happier than the "advanced" western nations and have emphasized that happiness need not be directly proprotional to the western notion of "development".
Compare the enthusiasm of the Bhutanese to the situation in its gaint neighbour. Most of us do want to walk to the polling booth in the next street and stand in a line to cast our vote. Instead, we ramble about our lack of faith in the democratic machinery and the insignificance of our single vote. Of course, this is the first time Bhutanese are tasting democracy. Let's hope that their faith in the new institution is reinforced and they continue to be happy and prosperous.


Rainbow said...

:D Dude!
Dont want to infuse my cynicism on your optimistic note there...

Nothing will remain good for very long. Nothing.

Raj said... about obscure happenings!!
But for this post would not have even known about the entry of democracy in Bhutan!
600Km to vote...sheesh that takes a lot of patriotism to do that.
Talking about voting percentages the US is definitely the worst..lets see what the voting percentage will be this year!