What is wrong with the Dasho system in Bhutan? I remember explaining to some of my friends in India what the whole system was about, the whole story about scarves, ranks, titles. I was surprised at how against the idea some of them were.
A lot of my indignant friends said that the whole system encouraged “inequality”. They compared it to the titular system in United Kingdom, which unfortunately, I know very less about.
Perhaps I was not able to explain the system to them well. But I have my excuses. The thing that my friends opposed the most was that there was such a system at all. What they opposed, in essence, was that in our society, we do not hesitate to pick out one man among others, and make him the “Dasho”, or the best among the rest, if I may say so. This is what they found to be inherently wrong. They refused to accept that some people could be counted as better than others. I don’t blame them; they have been brought up and educated in a world where “equality” is a grossly distorted and misinterpreted word.
So, are we all equal? Of course not! It is a matter of simple logic. How can any one man be exactly equal in his intellect and abilities to another man? If we were all equal, why are some of us successful while others are not, why do some of us pass in our exams while others fail, why do some of us invent things while the rest spend our lives trying to figure out how to use it?
We are not equal. Some of us are better than the others. This is a truth, and no matter how we disguise it, obscure it, circle it, it will remain so.
So what if some of us are superior to the others, you may ask. Nothing, much really. Only, we, in Bhutan have evolved a wonderful system, where we reward the most useful, talented and best men, by naming them Dasho, the best among others.
If a great man was forced to be “equal” to his peers, what would he have to do? Renounce his scar, perhaps? Pretend that he is no better than his peers. How? By doing nothing worthy, by not doing anything extraordinary. What would he be then? Sure, he would be equal, but at what cost?
And by not acknowledging them, by not rewarding them, what will drive these great people to be great? What would they aim for?
The scarf system is actually a wonderful one. A man always begins with a white scarf. Then he earns his way to the top. His achievements are there for all to see, slung across his shoulder in a bold strip of colour. The son of a Dasho does not automatically wear a red scarf. This is not a class distinction. Children of a Dasho do not receive any distinction; they are not “lady” and “lord” by default. The title is for every man to earn himself.
Before west, with all its fancy newfangled ideas crept into us, we had a reasonable, sensible society. Now, we have all kinds of rights that are not really rights at all, they are just a breach of somebody else’s rights. By what right do we claim the “right” to be equal? We are not equal. If were equal, we would all be a murky mess of insignificant people. Equality is not something to strive for. If you do not want to be less than equal, there is only one thing left to be- and that is a Dasho.
What do you want? A people who are equal, but worthless, or a people who may not be equally great, but there are some gems who shine out of the rest?



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