The ada rachu debate

A public debate has ensued on the ada rachu rule.

The home ministry now requires that all women use only the ada rachu and not patterned rachus.

The rule is already being implemented in all dzongkhags.

The rationale behind the rule is that it brings uniformity and preserves tradition.

The home ministry is right. As all common men wear the white kabney, then it only makes sense, that all common women should also wear one type of rachu.

But whether an ada rachu is different from a more modern patterned rachu is perhaps another point of contention and one with subjective answers.

We’re a people with a rich culture. A culture that that must be preserved to ensure diversity in a world that is heading towards homogenisation.

A cultural globalisation is taking place. While this phenomenon brings with it many positives such as knowledge transfer and exchange, some argue that it also means westernisation or the import of a materialistic commodity-based consumer culture.

It is a powerful force to be understood and reckoned with, thereby requiring such interventions at preservation of tradition in Bhutan.

Not all of us will be aware of the market forces at work globally and the dangers posed to our culture and traditions.

As a result we may not recognise or be aware of the value of some of our traditional practises.

Therefore, when such a rule is suddenly introduced, there will be confusion, disagreement and there will be questions.

There have been many arguments made against the rule and the way it was agreed upon.

Some have questioned why other practises like the half kira for one, have not received similar attention from cultural officials if the intention is to preserve tradition.

Some have argued that by having men make the rules for women, it reflects a patriarchal society.

Some have expressed worry, perhaps unwarranted, that the rule could open the door to more such rules.

Some have wondered if they will be refunded.

These questions, arguments, and worries, should not be taken as defiance to the rule. It is simply an indication that other softer avenues of implementing the rule were not explored and pursued.

We are aware that many women and men already value the ada rachu for its simplistic pattern and quality. Some even say that it was making a come back in terms of use.

Perhaps if more public consultations on the rule were held, and the reasons for the ada rachu aired and discussed, and made known to all, there may not even have been the need for a rule to be introduced.

Aware of the importance of reviving the ada rachu, women may have willingly switched to using their ada rachus more often.

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