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“SPEED THRILLS BUT KILLS”


My dear brothers and sisters of the Himalayan Kingdom—Bhutan,
As I suffer at the pain of my any Indian brother or sister, equally I suffer when a so called foreign national brother or sister fall in bad situation, especially when one is in the abode of Mother India, who has always given shelters and food to millions of homeless, helpless and foodless from different parts of the world in the time of their crisis. According to our Indian culture, anyone belongs to a different nation when comes to India is our divine guest, and deserves kind treatment and hospitality. We believe in the sacred philosophy: “Atithi Devo Bhava!” This means: Treat a guest as a representative of God. I am a firm believer and practitioner of this principle. Though needless to mention, still in all humility I want to share that last year in December(2015) when Mr. Tashi Dawa, a teacher, Wangchhu Middle Secondary School, Chukha, Bhutan,
studying at Himachal Pradesh University, India, was travelling from Himachal Pradesh on his winter vacation and reaching Alipurduar, an Indian railway station in West Bengal, at midnight, I along with my son spent the whole night at the railway station in order to receive him and to ensure his safe reaching to  his homeland, Bhutan. I share this humble gesture of love and humanity in order to nurture and nourish our faith on each other.  However, for several practical reasons and weaknesses, there occur situations when we fail in our duty that should not shatter our faith on the ocean of humanity. Few drops of dirty water cannot make the ocean dirty. The purpose of expressing my views and thoughts through this write up is to sensitize our Bhutanese brothers and sisters who use our National Highway 31 across West Bengal and Assam for your own as well as our Indian brothers and sisters’ safety. As winter has approached, I wish to see more Bhutanese vehicles plying the highway and pray to be able to cast a glance at every passing by vehicle from my office to wish everyone’s safe and enjoyable drive and journey.

I felt devastated to read the news that a Samdrup Jongkhar bound CHP employee’s vehicle knocked a student on the highway in Assam, and in reaction the driver was beaten and the vehicle was burnt by the public on December 5, 2015. Thank God that the ill-fated driver and the victim child are recovering to normalcy. To prevent recurrence of such incident in future I have the following suggestions and guidelines for our Bhutanese drivers.

SPEED LIMIT:
The best prevention against accident is to drive at a moderate speed. When the speed of a vehicle is limited we can avert many bad happenings. My new school in India, Sister Nivedita Convent School, is very close to the highway. As I have a lot of attachment to Bhutan and the Bhutanese for your gift of my glorious life and a brilliant teaching career in Bhutan, from my office many a time I keep on gazing at the speeding vehicles on the highway. I really find the speed very high. Speed needs to be minimized for safety of self and others. The good and wide roads are as dangerous as the bad ones because they ignite desire and temptation to drive fast.

EXTRA CARE AND ATTENTION:
The degree of care and attention we pay while driving in Bhutan is not enough in India. We should be more careful and more attentive while driving on Indian roads. Because the overall life situation in India is more challenging for the vastness of everything here: more population, more vehicles, more roads, more plains, more freedom, more hustle and bustle, more noise, more distractions, more diversity, more varieties of people, more politics, and more of every other aspect of life.

FREE AND OPEN ACCESSIBILITY AND APPROACHABILITY TO THE HIGHWAY FROM ALL DIRECTIONS:
As the 31 Highway runs through the wide plains of Assam and Bengal, unlike the Himalayan roads, it is so easily accessible and approachable to anyone and everyone throughout its course including animals that in a split second an innocent child, a drunk man or an animal can run onto the road or in front of a running vehicle which is not possible on the mountains for the different land features. A driver should be extremely alert and be ready to expect anyone to run or drive in wrong direction or violate traffic rules. We should take the full responsibility for our safe driving and secure journey. We should always be ready for someone’s wrong or ignorant practice and be capable of managing the wrong situations. I am giving an instance of myself: I had driven a scooter in different parts of Bhutan for many years. So far as I remember, I was so blessed that I had never hurt or injured any living being by my scooter. While driving or walking, I have taken care of even the ants on the road not to hurt them, and always advised the same to my Bhutanese students, my Little Buddhas. But now at my hometown in India I am failing to maintain the sublime principle which saddens me so much.

A few weeks ago I nearly killed a baby goat with my new scooter while returning from my school. I was driving fast as the road was empty. Unfortunately, the baby goat from a nearby bush ran across the road and I happened to drive over it. Pained and confused I stopped, examined the kid. Luckily it was out of danger. But I was surrounded by some people and blamed for the incident. Helplessly I had to accept their allegation. From the incident, I learned that I should be more careful while driving because here the situations are quite different from those of Bhutan.

DRIVING UNDER ALCOHOLIC INFLUENCE:
As I have seen throughout my life, I understand alcohol hampers the normal functioning of our body, mind, brain and eyes. So it is my sincere appeal to all my friends and brothers and sisters not to drive under the degrading and defiling influence of alcohol. Last year, at my hometown one morning two bikers under alcoholic intoxication rammed into the face of a Kalikhola bound Bhutan bus and died on the spot. However the bus travellers and the driver were safe. Throughout my teaching career in Bhutan I remained away from alcohol only with a fear that it might spoil the ability of my right thought and judgement and thereby mislead me in the discharge of my sacred duties. I received dozens of alcohol bottles from parents when I lived in the girls’ hostel of Nangkor HSS, Pemagatshel, and worked as a Teacher-Matron for eleven years. But intact and untouched all the bottles I stored in my room and distributed to others on my transfer to Chukha. Even at Chukha, I received so many bottles as gifts and good will token from friends and parents. But I was firm not to taste the content with a notion that alcoholic beverages might me from my path of living as a teacher. All the bottles I had stored distributed them to others on my final departure.


SPIRITUALITY IN LIFE AND DRIVING: Through my life, work and experience in Bhutan, I have found the tiny kingdom a SPIRITUAL GIANT, where Mother Nature is given utmost love, care and honour. And by virtue of this sublime policy and practice all living beings on Her lap live in peace and harmony and enjoy the supreme bliss of life. Though the kingdom does not have material might, she has spiritual might by which Bhutan has always been able to subdue all evil forces. To me, the best way of worshipping God and practicing spirituality is to protect, promote and adore our Mother Nature. In tune with many foreign nationals, I perceive the Bhutanese are the finest people on the earth. And if it is true, it is because of the kingdom’s spiritual light that radiates from the pristine NATURE’S might. In line with William Wordsworth, William Blake, P.B. Shelley and John Keats, I believe that NATURE has incredible power to guide us, safe keep us, enrich us and sublimate our life if we can invoke Her by our devotion, adoration and passion. Definitely, She answers and gives Her protective hand in our needs and calls if we have faith in Her. With the above philosophy I want to urge my holy Himalayan brothers and sisters to practise more spirituality in life, work and driving for spiritual protection in dangers. Even we need to honour every ant and every grain of sand on our way. We should have respect for the road we drive on and everything that appears on our way.  I firmly believe in the philosophy: All material things and ideas have a spiritual counterpart or basis. Lord Buddha gave us the following message on living virtuous life as compressed by poet Ramesh Chander Dutt in his poem ‘Buddha’s Death’ :
“……Men devout, women holy
Pure in life, in duty faithful
They perform the worship truly……”

NATIONAL FLAGS OF INDIA AND BHUTAN ON VEHICLES:
Every place on the earth can be turned into our home and every human being our family member irrespective of race and nationality if we can give good feelings in the mind of the people wherever we are by our manner and actions. If we earnestly cultivate that sublime principle we will receive human support everywhere even in our worst danger. And if we have the willingness for that there are so many ways to practice it. For the drivers who are driving along our national highway one of the simplest and workable ways to bear good will for the people around and the place can be to have the National Flags of both the countries fixed on the face of the vehicles formally, legally and in a dignified manner with prior approval from both the Governments. I believe it will work wonderful if both of the nations approve and adopt it.

POLICE STATIONS & PHONE NUMBERS:
It is important for every driver to know the location of the nearest Police Stations and their phone numbers. In emergencies and dangers, rushing to the nearest police station, contacting the police or seeking their help would always be the wisest idea.

These are the ideas and thoughts flowed from my heart in the well being of all my Bhutanese as well as Indian brothers and sisters. Beside these I have my sincerest prayer for everyone’s safe drive and happy journey. May God guide you at every moment of your driving!



Comments

  1. This is a timely and a wonderful post. A post written from genuine concern, goodwill and a humane insight. I agree with everything you wrote. Thanks for this. I really hope people using that highway will drive with responsibility. God Bless you always. Kadrinche!!!

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  2. Thank you sir. I fervently want our India and Bhutan to live in the supreme relationship. When India is my biological mother, Bhutan is my spiritual mother. Spiritually, I got united with Bhutan and the Bhutanese.May you all shine more and more.

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  3. Thank you sir. I fervently want our India and Bhutan to live in the supreme relationship. When India is my biological mother, Bhutan is my spiritual mother. Spiritually, I got united with Bhutan and the Bhutanese.May you all shine more and more.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Got the chance to read this only today my dear sir.. Its written very very sweet and logical ... I salute you and your small yet Happy family for the love & concern U have for the citizens of both the Countries... Proud to be your student sir... !!! Hats off to You.....

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    Replies
    1. Thank you my dear Thubten G Dorji. I am proud to have been your teacher. I am today what my students shaped me.My students are my living gods and goddesses. Grow you Chanda, grow to the height of Jomulahari and Kulagangri. Which classes are the children in? Educate them in my school, Nangkor HSS. Give the best and most care to the family.

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