Ever since the religious text was fortuitously found, this village has been blessed
Heritage: Despite being isolated and having no major source of income, the village of Zawa is prosperous and the people do not complain.
Unlike other villages, Zawa in Athang gewog, Wangdue, suffers no water scarcity, wildlife attacks, or any natural disaster.
Its residents say there has never been a day when they have had to knock on other people’s doors for food or clothing.
Their only income comes from their fields. They claim that, even without manure, the soil remains fertile and the yield is always good.
They attribute their prosperity, self-sufficiency, and well-being to a religious scripture in their possession, Gyeltong-Selm-Sel-dri-chenma.
They believe that the 322-page gold-scripted religious text is the source of their good fortune.
“There has not been a day when the people of Zawa have had to knock on another’s door for food or clothing, not because we’re rich but because we are and remain self-sufficient,” said Tshering, a villager.
The religious scripture is believed to have been found by a family member of Tsagay, 66. It is in Tsagay’s house that the script is stored in a box.
Since the script was brought to the village, four generations have passed, explained Tsagay.
“When I was young, my grandfather used to tell us a story about how the golden scripted text came to our village, and how it was found by some great grandfather from my house,” said Tsagay. “One morning, when the great grandfather went to reach cows beyond the river, he found the golden scripted text lying on a huge boulder on the river side of the present day Kamichu area.”
While no one knows how and from where the religious text originates and why it was left on that boulder, villagers believe that it was a blessing for the people of Zawa.
The Athang gup said that, a few years ago, the husband of one of their residents, who was from a different gewog in Wangdue stole the text. But the villagers caught him before he could leave and handed him over to the police.
Following which the Wangdue court declared that the religious text was the property of Zawa. The husband was sentenced to five years in prison. That was the first official recognition the village received of the text.
Tsagay said that, since the scripture was in a deteriorated state given the age of it, they flattened and put additional edges with desho paper to preserve it. There were cases, where some choeps (local religious performers) rubbed gold dust from the script, which faded the writings on some pages.
To preserve the golden script and have a proper place to retain the religious text, the village is planning to construct a lhakhang, for which they have already demarcated a plot of land.
Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue