Begging ‘in The Name’… is common place everywhere, I suppose. Elsewhere they do it neatly dressed all prim and proper, in properly designated locations, some do it under huge and well established banners, the flagship of which you submit-to graciously, and you are compelled to give till it hurts.
Back home, the culture ‘robes’ itself in colors we are tuned since birth, to associate with sanctimonious accord. Add to it the familiar scent that paints the picture of renounced-worldliness (although in-reality the striking smell would plunge you down from any level of nirvana).
So, What would you do if you hear a door bell ringing veraciously early morning, every morning? What would you feel while shelling-out a few bucks from your thin wallet; to that figurine robed in red, perforating the very (un) heavenly aroma, chanting words he barely understands and sounds exotically alien to you.
A good Buddhist that you are, you will probably hold-out until a fine morning when you can no longer play-ball with your patience. You explode into a tantrum; compassion is a remote concept then.
Fact here is not about A Buddhist’s endurance or compassion, it’s a social ill imported and exported internationally. Now, It is here in Bhutan. But maybe it’s always been here.
Simply writing against this is perhaps ‘Blasphemy.
Realization has landed in many heads, and why not? You see the same faces robed in a different red, you notice them loitering cinema hall complexes, you see them employing the luxury of modern entertainment at the expense of the good giving-people.
It is sheer outright profanity, termed under alternate nomenclatures – fraud, deception…
Latest development among the righteous beggars; they have a set-rate beyond which, your contribution will be turned down, with a kick on the door, a steely gaze or a distorted rap on the bars of your gate at the exit.
So much better back in the days, your folks will tell you, when they would accept worn-out clothes, Mismatched gumboots, ribs of a cow with barely a scrap of meat on it… pretty much anything. But they would sincerely say the prayers genuinely from the book.
Government is always concerned about rural-urban migration and agricultural fields that are left barren. I would suggest concerned authorities to check this issue seriously. A Big ‘pie’ from youth unemployment here!
(The writer is a reporter with the Bhutanese)