The Call of the People

The Newspapers rightly call it The Dance of Democracy; our 2014 elections are being quite the spectacle – a step to the right, a twist in the left, going round and round at every turn, it would give any Bollywood dance sequence a run for its money. And there is social media, where everyone has a view and a picture with ink on their fingernail. Yes, it was very kind of you to vote like 1 billion other people did. Sarcasm aside, we are glad you voted.

Such a wave of euphoria is natural when it comes to democracy, one such swept Bhutan recently when the country formed its first elected government. There is something about ‘the will of the people’ that does that. Lily Wangchuk, Mihir Sharma, Dago Tshering and Pavan K. Varma will be discussing the very same on the first day of the Bhutan Literary Fest: Usha presents Mountain Echoes 2014 on the 22nd of May.

Lily Wangchuk is the first woman president of a registered political party in Bhutan, Druk Chirwang Tshogpa; while, Lyonpo Dago Tshering has served the Royal Government of Bhutan in a number of capacities from a former Home Minister to Ambassador of Bhutan to several countries, including India. His counterpart Pavan K Varma once served as India’s ambassador to Bhutan and has been awarded the country highest civilian award The Druk Thuksey; and all of us of who read papers do know Mihir Sharma as the editor of the opinion pages of the Business Standard.

On 25th May, Umesh Anand, Dasho Kinley Dorji, Kesang Chuki Dorjee, Bernard Imhasly Gandhy in conversation with Siddharth Shriram will discuss the role of civil society. Siddharth Shriram is the Chairman of Mawana Sugars Ltd., Honda Siel Power Products Ltd. and Co-Chairman of Usha International Limited. In 1994, at the founding of the Delhi Policy Group, a non partisan private sector Think Tank addressing issues of National Security/Nuclear/Regional Conflict resolutions/ Domestic Societal issues, he became its Managing Trustee.

Dasho Kinley Dorji is the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications Bhutan; and Kesang Chuki Dorjee is an independent film-maker whose documentaries address social issues of women and children in Bhutan.

Right after the Indian elections it would be interesting to hear what Umesh Anand has to say. He is the co-founder and Publisher of Civil Society, an independent monthly reporting on social and economic change in post-reforms India.

How far has our current elections come since independence and Gandhi? That’s a question I am sure Bernard Imhasly Gandhy, will have an answer to. The anthropologist, journalist and writer whose book Goodbye to Gandhi?: Travels in the New India examines how the choices that India made as an independent nation have shaped the country’s politics, its culture and its people.

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