The flapping of the dragon flies and the huge sound of Dirmung river triggers the poor villagers to nurture and nourish their magnificent land (now no more), which is a half day expedition from their hamlet. Drenched with rain, Pema, a son-in-law of Meme Chenga would reach few households to borrow oxen, plow, and other required things and reserve at least a family member to be present to help him. By this time, he would have already covered half of the households informing about his time to nourish the land. Gradually, others would follow him visiting village prophet and each fixing a good omen day for them to work, so that there are no clashes for different landowners. They would do in a rotation basis and for few; they do in collaboration with their own neighbours. Definitely, one could observe more numbers of different owners mending their own land during auspicious day foretold by their prophet.
They would completely devote in various sequential processes of completing the cycle of the task and one would certainly witness the last owner struggling to cover up his own share after a complete exhaustive month or two. The final sigh breaches only after their last management of the cultivation.
Never in peace, almost all the owners would be seen aside of their plot making a temporary hut and for some, the sky is their roof and the grass is their bed, in order to safeguard their miniature herb from the consumerists and other fortuitous as well as persistent destructions. They would stay till it’s a time for them to reap what has been sown. One could clearly witness few people dragging each other for the share of water their land needs. Few would not sleep for the whole night as they would be busy diverting the water to their plot.
The green slowly vanishes but replaced by some other habitual colour and sweet odour. Most of the dragon flies would be already gone and Dirmung river dwindling in size and shape. The indication for them to reap their product draws nigh. All of them would love it. Like the bee-buzzer, they would be in their own plot to acquire their outcome. The melodies could be heard from each corner while some cry in ecstasy. “Our yield would never be less than the previous year”, Aum Khandu would burst out loud. She would still continue, “this land is indeed a splendid land gifted by the god to us Drepongpas and few others from Mongar. We were so fortunate to be one amongst many to earn this land and it needs to be sustained as same for the years to come. I have no doubt that all of us receive good yielding than the previous year. If anybody’s product is reduced than the previous year, do share to me”. Another from the corner would add, “we would surely starve if this land gets snatched by someone else in future”. “Who would snatch it?” It would be a complete augury, what an insane words from your torn mouth”, elders would fire him in an angry mood. “Oye…, never utter such muddy words on a dry land. Who would dare to drag it unless we barter or sell it,” few questioned him. An elderly man would say gently rather in a reluctant mood, “we never know what happens next. Anything could happen the following day as the country advances and many developmental activities booming everywhere, however, we need to devote and tune our silent prayer to the divinity.”
Allmost all would be fully satisfied with their outcome, although few who did not dare to nurture and care appropriately. When others hustle and bustle to venture back to their village packing and loading on the horse, Ap Chenga and Abi Choezom would be snail. They do so, for they reside in their temporary shed and would travel the following day or after. They would slowly measure and finally gulp a deep breath and pronounce, our outcome measures only drey (wooden receptacles) more than the earlier year. “Our yield gets increased year by year and that is due to our earnest effort and the proper care that we delivered, above all this land itself is a god gifted land. This is the only turf that we can rely and my life entirely depends on you, hope you do not leave us”, said prostrating to the land. “What you need to do is just plough and put constant water and it’s definite that you reap a good product, above all, this land itself is a wonderful land.”
Ahh!!! The sigh and the prayer of the elderly people did not last as the Kurichu project crept to the area and the rumours of snatching the land was filled in the air. No sooner they heard the news they were baffled, while few considered half-truth and others a damn-bullshit. I was 12 years then, a half-deaf and not much of knowledge on it. But, after a month or so, I heard that the owner of the land got transferred without much a consent and deliberations. My mother represented my family. We waited till she got back. Finally, at dusk, she appeared. She handed us gifts and other household items. Then she said, “these are which I could carry, no more, and half of the amount has been exchanged with these items”. She did not reveal the actual amount our land received or no one dared to enquire including father, as she (mother) seemingly looked different than what she appeared before but of course filled in grin. We certainly felt there was some mixed mode feelings deep within. My grandfather was murmuring something but I could only hear that “you people are ill luck, the land did not happen anything during our time, and the land loses to others during your tenure. Aye…, I did not think to witness such nuisance, forget about seeing in a dream.” I was scared if mother heard – then a quarrel would arise but did not happen as I thought. I believed she overheard what grandfather said. Certainly, she responded slowly rather reluctantly, “what to do? We do not have any options. Of course, we feel it as a huge loss, same as the loss of treasured relics, but we could not save it. We generated from you and it is a great shame that we could not pass to our sons and daughters. They will never get an opportunity to smell the varieties of odour as they receive today. Yes, here is the replacement of our land, may be this is only the amount our land deserves”. She then kept an amount on the floor. “We received Nu 10,000 but I finished around Nu 2,000. Here should be 8,000.” My grandfather came closer and after a long glance over it, said, “Only 10,000 !!!!! How comes, Nu 10,000 for a 68 decimal (not exactly sure) of land?,” then, in a subtle way, for how long this money would last?, I don’t bother how much you got and never bother to enquire about it but I want you to buy prayer flags to be hoisted for all the sentient beings next time you visit to the town. “It does not matter, what has been done is a past, now we have to wait what it happens in future. I am sure, if we are blessed, we might receive kidu from the government or otherwise, hear that this land has been hijacked by our immediate authority but not by our king and the government. We will die but you will hear the undisputed case and the news of this land being scattered to the whole nation. Jang gi Mo Matophai goma doen thongla (I could feel the real before I go for the prophet), saying this phrases he moved towards his bed. Still on the bed, I heard him mumbling few things with his elder brother (a big grandfather of mine) who is next to him. My father also did not say anything or enquired but rather smiled and was happy with the amount. He collected the amount and put in the iron box located in the altar room. Father is simple rather shy and never tell anything or argue. Others can easily trick him, even children too. But they never do, rather they would love the simple grin and a childish act of my father.
With full of lust to know what and how it happened, I thought of posing few questions, but seeing her wrathful face, I could not, rather I was trembling myself. I definitely thought few conversations would arise while they go for bed. I quickly rushed to my bed and pretended to fall asleep snoring in a high pitch but actively listening deep within. My two younger sisters were already between them (father and mother) taking a sound sleep. They never bothered or maybe they were too young to know, I thought.
The whispering sound began…
Father: Are you sure that our land received only 10,000?
Mother: I was true. It depended on the amount of the land. Those who possessed more were reciprocated with huge amount.
Father: Aye, I am not sad with this amount but our small land which I think needs to be given to our children is now lost. We acquired it from our parents but we are so unlucky. What Meme Lungten pronounced the earlier was true, indeed, it happened during our time only.
Mother: Right, but that was the order, I believe.
Father: It’s so disheartening. The land is no more to us now.The trouble to us and the oxen has also been ended. Anyway, let’s be positive and see what happens in the years to come.
Mother: You seem happy as you no longer need to trouble with all the work. Tell me what to do with this huge cash.
Father: Money is nothing. You have finished more than quarter today itself. Worry not; I think we can manage it.
Mother: The huge amount received was Azhang Chenga. I am sure he possessed more than 100,000, the highest amount amongst us.
I could not sleep and thought of asking our relatives the next day but was so shy and could not get any information other than the total amount they possessed. I did not believe as they might have said the wrong amount than the usual amount they received. But I dared dare not and still today, I was wondering how the land got transferred and how this land again being issued to the other vendors who came to our land from different parts of our country and settled there with small bars and shops.
It is almost a decade. By now, the landowners of Gyalpozhing market might have cleverly earned a lot more and few, might have even possessed luxurious materials but what could the poor of Drepong village benefit? I can vividly remember what my grandfather said. The dispute has now aroused and the people of Bhutan should be the mediator and see how the land has been transacted and snatched. It is not late that the Anti-corruption Commission Office has been found in our country. We are very much happy with the kind and benevolent resolutions being furnished by ACC. We want all those involved in the land transaction and misuse of their power to be legally penalized and put behind bar. They breached not only the national norms but misused their power by treating the poor villagers like a beast. The High court and the Office of the Attorney General need to provide a legitimate judgment so that it is in pursuit of happiness and in line with the constitution.
Contributed by Drepongpa using our anonymous system.
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