Thursday, June 18, 2015



I sat at the stall after I was done distributing the brochures and promotional books to the visitors. A young girl approached and lingered around the tent touching the books with hesitation. ‘choe ya goni ya?’ (do you want a copy?) I asked. Shyly she said ‘ong ashim’. I gave her a copy. She happened to stay there and kept smiling at me for whatever reasons. Finally I asked her where she was from and if she was a student. She told me she lived around but said she is not a student. 
To my surprise she said she is a mother of a child whom she delivered a month ago. Gawd ! she looked like a kid herself. Lo gamchi mo? I asked her, surprised. Khay chi chi (21). 21!! My age! Why did you marry this early? Did you drop school? What does the father of your kid do for living? My questions were too many for her to figure out which to answer. But the only answer I got left me shaken. 
Without any hesitation unlike the moment when she wanted a copy of the book, she said, ‘I was raped by a monk on my way back to home after school. I had repeatedly refused to entertain him but he won’t listen and a day came when he forced me and for this I had to bear all of these consequences’ my mouth literally dropped open. How can this be, I told myself. Gelongs are supposed to be pure and humble.
In the midst a staff mate of mine came and I summarised the conversation. We told her we would like to have a look at her baby. The baby looked fine and healthy. My staff ashim told her we should approach the consultants from RENEW who were there during the event and out of sympathy we even gave her some cash. 
However, her story gave a different angle when the consultants from RENEW whom we approached said she cooked up the story and whatever she said was a lie.
Now the issue to be concerned is not regarding who was speaking out the truth and who was not.
The thing is, what we can do to stop letting young girls fall victims of such incidences. The girl might or might not have spoken the truth, God knows but everyone is equal under the law of Tsa-Wa-Sum. The father of the child needs to be identified, I felt and still do. Who is to blame? Speaking of GNH, lets practice it and not just preach!!

 Picture source: Teenage pregnancy in Bhutan

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