Currently, the Tibetan Diaspora is in the grip of election fever.  The democratic system is being taken advantage, to the fullest I may add, by those vying for power (whether overtly or covertly, if you know what I mean).

There is also a parallel discussion, sometimes serious and at other times shallow, about the nature of Tibetan democracy. People have their own respective interpretation of how the democracy has to act. Oftentimes, western-centric standards are applied to judge the Tibetan system. Similarly, at the other end, age-old cultural and traditional norm are challenges to people in their need to think outside the box.

It is under this atmosphere that I would like to draw your attention to an article in the Bhutanese Newspaper Kuensel, Building democracy from below – The Bhutanese context by Tshering Chophel, which appeared on September 19, 2010. I thought the article touches on several aspects of the nature of democracy in Bhutan and the situation is similar in the Tibetan case at many levels.

The opening sentence will have a familiar ring to Tibetans. “The poor turn-out of candidates registering for the local government elections is not unexpected.”

However, the food for thought is in the second sentence that says, “The reason could be found in the contextual reality of our social and cultural milieu to accommodate such new political openings, rather than attributing it to mere lack of information and awareness of the process with the citizenry.”

In our own discussion on the nature of Tibetan democracy we may want to consider some of the issues raised here.

I am taking the liberty to repost the article here. Continue reading “The Nature of Tibetan Democracy, by looking at Bhutan”