Our ancestors have built dzongs. They have built lhakhangs and choetens that are still revered today and has become a symbol of Bhutan and places for veneration.
Those historical monuments, some built without the use of technology or a single nail are the pride of the country. There are not only important monuments, but also symbols of unity and reverence.
The historical monuments are built out of sheer belief and faith. There is no compulsion. The faith in the purpose garnered the support, usually in contributing labour while the rich contributed cash or kind. It was as simple as that.
Building religious monuments today is becoming complicated. With generous foreign devotees with deep pockets funding our projects, it is blurring our vision. Call it the ills of modernisation or development or mere greed, even religious projects are now seen as easy ways to make money or for influence.
We had people detained and implicated by authorities for embezzling or misusing funds, an action that was never expected when engaged in a religious project. We would offer thousands of ngultrum without asking for a receipt, we would contribute labour without expecting anything in return. This is the way we built our monuments.
Some people are warning media to not report on the corrupt practices or embezzlement cases associated with building religious monuments. The concern is that we will not find funds to build more.
While the concern is genuine, the issues surrounding the construction of religious monuments are becoming controversial.
In the latest case, the board of the Hindu Dharma Samudaya has filed a first investigation report with the Thimphu police on December 19. The Chairperson of the organisation has been suspended. The executive director resigned when the Choedhey Lhentshog began investigating the case.
Four more board members submitted their resignation letters towards the end of October. While the case is being investigated, forgery is suspected in attaining the highest post of the community.
Religion is a sensitive issue and not many make an issue unless there is something wrong. Given the impact of religion on society, people making issues or open discussion on the growing concerns are important. Some people could take advantage of the blind faith of the average Bhutanese for personal gain.
Out of reverence, not many people talk about the issues when religion is involved. But when the wind of change is not sparring religion that was taken for granted once. People are concerned.
The joke going around is that nothing on the Kuenselphodrang ridge is going well. The problem is not with the ridge but with people who are involved in promoting or preserving our spiritual heritage.