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"Distory" of the Bhutanese people evicted by the regime

Started by sharmanarayan, May 28, 2022, 07:17 PM

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sharmanarayan

Some scholars have begun using the term "distory" to represent the phenomenon of the "distortion of the history" of a people. The case of the Bhutanese refugees, a majority of whom are resettled and have acquired citizenship of their country of resettlement is a typical case of "distory." The regime in Thimphu not only persecuted the citizens it considered different, it expelled them and continues to distort their history. During its efforts to stigmatize the expelled citizens, the government began a sustained propaganda to distort their early history of their advent to Bhutan. From branding them illegal immigrants to calling them a mercenary race to classifying them as criminals or even terrorists, the regime in Thimphu employed every tactic in its book to stigmatize the refugees while invariably propagating itself as innocent and helpless regime of a peaceful hermit kingdom. Of late, there are efforts from within the refugees to project the King, whose regime perpetrated the exodus, as being innocent. Any thoughts on this?

TP Mishra

You brought up an interesting topic for discussion. It is for this very reason that we should do everything we can to archive our side of the history without fear or favor to anyone. Our seniors in the community have so much to share, whereas there are fewer efforts to record this history. I am glad to be part of the Smithsonian Institution that aims to capture at least 25 oral history interviews of former Bhutanese refugees in the United States.

BTD

Quote from: sharmanarayan on May 28, 2022, 07:17 PMSome scholars have begun using the term "distory" to represent the phenomenon of the "distortion of the history" of a people. The case of the Bhutanese refugees, a majority of whom are resettled and have acquired citizenship of their country of resettlement is a typical case of "distory." The regime in Thimphu not only persecuted the citizens it considered different, it expelled them and continues to distort their history. During its efforts to stigmatize the expelled citizens, the government began a sustained propaganda to distort their early history of their advent to Bhutan.

What a thought-provoking and interesting post. This was a technique mentioned by George Orwell in his fictional work, '1984' in which he described the dystopian society of Oceania. Two paragraphs stand out as being relevant to the concept of 'distory'.

Part 1, Chapter 2

"The diary would be reduced to ashes and himself to vapour. Only the Thought Police would read what he had written, before they wiped it out of existence and out of memory."

Part 2, chapter 5

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped."
"The function of journalism is, primarily, to uncover vital new information in the public interest and to put that information in a context so that we can use it to improve the human condition", Joshua Oppenheimer

RP Subba

A very remarkable example of this de-historizatiion is the renaming of the Nepali speaking southern Bhutanese people as 'Lhotshampas' after the 1970s. This is a term that is superimposed by the State and it does not speak of the cultural heritage of the people who live in the south. Another, example is the renaming of villages, rivers and landscapes in southern Bhutan into Dzongkha names, an attempt at wiping out the historical existence of southern Bhutanese. The term 'Lhotshampas' exemplifies an outlook of the regime towards a new nation building under the fold of Drukpa cultural nationalism. Ironically, some intellectuals within the community have now accepted the term and have been using it to identify us as 'Lhotshampas' which is absurd. Who are these intellectuals representing when their voice replicates the same voice propagated by the Bhutanese regime? 

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