It was with these expectations that I made my first visit to
Bhutan recently, to find
out more about ’s
hydropower plans. I returned with some memorable experiences and apprehensions
of Bhutan ’s
future – of its GNH. Bhutan
The taxi driver smiled most of the drive from the airport in Paro to
Thimphu, the capital. He stopped to
refill his water bottle at a spring, to give a ride to a local schoolteacher,
stopped to buy doma (betel nut leaf with lime and half an areca nut),
and chatted with other drivers on the way. He was a picture of happiness, of a
slow relaxed life. Even the policeman understood when he stopped the taxi in a
no parking area to buy doma.
In contrast, bureaucrats, elected representatives, consultants to the Royal Government of Bhutan and NGOs were all extremely busy either travelling or in long meetings. But they did all make time to meet with me, at relatively short notice. They were clearly responsive and bureaucrats immediately responded to subsequent emails. This was refreshing when compared to Indian bureaucrats who seldom, if ever, respond.