Sunday, May 17, 2015

Official Vandalizing- Saving the fading future of Chortens




Bhutan is known throughout the world for our exotic collection of cultural sites and monuments. These monuments echo the prosperous root of Buddhism and we make no mistake in showing our rich culture.
Chortens were and are the most famous monument that dots all hills, passes, valleys, near rivers, villages, near the temples and Dzongs, cremation grounds and many more places. These various-sized stone monuments were built to ward off the evil spirits and bring peace to the locality. Some of them were erected after subduing the local demons and deities by great lamas.
These chortens hold a great significance as they are as old as Buddhism in Bhutan. They retell the history and the situation and believe our ancestors had.
The cortens were constructed with almost the same materials- mud and stone but their shape and size varied to suit the purpose and the financial wellness of the sponsors. These materials have become vulnerable with time.  
The unknown and the known reasons prohibited people of those days to record the history of the chortens in their timeline. Though some have, most chortens lack records when it was built and by whom. All we know it the rationale for the construction- for the wellbeing of the locality.
As we all know, chortens are useless if it has no inner relics some of which are very precious. Our ancestors sacrificed the most precious jewel they had for the benefit of all. These inner relics (as we believe) included cat eye (Dzee), religious texts and instruments, god and silver coins, religious vase and many more which, some of us have never seen.
Because of these inner relics, vandalizing of chortens can be traced town to the time the chortens were built (that’s what I believe). The precious objects inside have lured people to vandalize these monuments. And today after hundreds of years, people are rampant to try their luck at every chorten they can see. No one knows what is inside. All they can do is guess and bring down the walls of the chortens.
The people and the government are facing the toughest hurdles of the time to protect these monuments which are scattered through the country.
Now let us think of a WILD IDEA. Why not we vandalize all the chortens in the country? WHAT? People would think I am insane but let me justify my thoughts.
A chorten with a scare
The government can form a committee and vandalize the chortens- for a good cause. The committee can record all the relics with details and photographs and then secure them in a safe box and then seal the chorten with concrete because the recent concertized chortens are not vandalized. . This may sound impossible task for country like ours but I think it will stop if not reduce the crime. The government can trace the relics when they are vandalized and the pictures can help the police in nabbing the culprits with these relics.
  The records can also help the historians to dig out the history of our country. The local area officials and relevant stake holders can be briefed about the relics, so that they can help the government in protecting the relics.
It is very sad to see and hear chortens being vandalized. I have rarely seen a chorten without the scare of the wound. It’s time to think- be it a wild one.