Other day I was watching the BBS television and there was a news about a place called Khanduthang. This was the first time I heard a place by this name but soon it appeared to be a very familiar surrounding. Few seconds later I saw my home and my relatives speaking on the BBS!
This is the story everywhere in south today. Barring the main Dzongkhag names (only spellings changed: ex. Chirang now is Tsirang and Samchi is Samtse), most places are rechristened. It had started even before 2008 but with delimitation the ECB has almost virtually given so called Bhutanese names to all the southern Bhutan villages with a prefix of –thang. Perhaps there are over one hundred villages with names ending “Thangs” in southern Bhutan now.
Often the translations are direct from the former local names but are long, uninteresting, too common and not at all easy to remember. While Bhutanisation may be the justification given (I am only assuming), but ignoring the age old names which have links to the places’ history, culture and the sentiments of the inhabitants is a direct contradiction of the provisions in the constitutions. Not to mention that the locals (resettled people included) are unable to remember these new names and continue to use the old names, except in the official conversations. At the end of the day they need to reach their right destination!
Is there any good done by this change? Are we not ridiculing ourselves in front of outsiders as a very narrow minded, non-accommodating and orthodox society?
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