for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wangdue Dzong Tragedy

        A 400 years old fortress is razed to nothing...It is but a tragedy beyond mere thoughts.

 24 June,2012, a normal sun-day in a perfectly normal Bhutan. However, the evening brought upon one of the greatest loss to the nation. Wangdue Dzong was razed to the grounds. A spark must have been the starting of the great fire. Only god knows the source. People gathered at the scene but were helpless.  It all started at the dawn of a beautiful dusk but the cool wind of the approaching dusk escalated the fire. Even worse, the entrance to the dzong was blocked before the fire spread to the other sides of the fortress, making it impossible for people to penetrate and contain the fire. Fire brigades were helpless too. The Dzong is one of the oldest of its kind with many sacred relics contained in her. We heard of oral news which stated of  most nangtens or relics being saved. 

The gathering crowd gathered memories and chanted prayers, asking god to save a four centuries' old history. Our kings reached at the site to assure the people, to motivate the firefighters and to help the situation. A national mourning day will be observed on Monday.

Fire is a disaster which is preventable but too hard to contain once it is in its full might. The tragedy at Wangdue is a lesson for everyone to look for preventive measures of fire before another dzong is turned into ashes. The government might feel it is too expensive for  her to to built structures which are less vulnerable to fire or buy fire proof containers to preserve our relics and other important documents. It will be expensive but it has a price tag. However, the relics we have are priceless. 
Another thing which always comes up is the electrical short circuit. This has been the real or the assumed cause of most fire incidents in Bhutan. If the same is the true cause then we must review it strictly. Is it that we are using substandard materials, like some people point out or Are we deficit of skilled technicians?  
Bhutan boast of growing media but the information or news is not passed on at the earliest time. BBS is the only TV based news agency and they boast of branch offices along with complete crew in all parts of the country.  But what happened yesterday was not how the only TV news office should operate, according to my observation. I am sorry to state that BBS failed to inform the general public about the great tragedy. It happened only after the news spread on its own like the fire at the dzong. First hand news was not present and the news broadcast was but information collected here and there from the locals. We have seen in the global scenario where some news channels helped the public to  save or be saved from disasters akin to the our tragedy at Wangdue. Yesterday is gone but we need to be on track for tomorrow.  

Bhutan lost one important historical monument under the deadly claws of fire. We can do nothing but sit-watch-talk-blame-forget. It is a lesson for all of us which shouldn't be forgotten easily.I think everyone of us need to be pro-active. 

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