Literature: To encourage reading, a book review competition was held among college students of the Royal University of Bhutan on the books titled Depa Bondeypa’s Relatives by Rinzin Rinzin and Kyetse by Chador Wangmo.

Tshering Pem studying in Sherubtse College in Kanglung took the first cash prize of Nu 15,000. Deki Dolkar also from Sherubtse College in Kanglung took the second cash prize of Nu 10,000. Sonam Choden studying in the College of Science and Techonolgy, Rinchending, took the third cash prize of Nu 5,000. The representatives of the winners received the prizes.

Prizes were also awarded to the authors and the panelists that judged the book reviews.

The prizes were awarded by the Indian ambassador, Jaideep Sarkar, foreign affairs minister, Damcho Dorji, labour minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, economic affairs minister, Lekey Dorji and, works and settlement minister Dorji Choden at the Nehru Wangchuck Cultural Centre (NWCC), yesterday.

A panel discussion with the authors was also held, which was moderated by the Indian ambassador Jaideep Sarkar.

The discussion focused on some of the common themes found in the books such as the metaphorical usage of the idea of journey undertaken by the protagonists of the book, the recurring theme of superstitions and myths, and the idea of re-birth and karma.

Chador Wangmo said the reason for her using local superstitions and myths in her book is to let the young readers be aware of such beliefs.

“In the digitalised era, young people are losing this very way of our life. These superstitions and myths are a part of our culture and tradition, and it’s important that the young readers learn about them,” Chador Wangmo said.

Rinzin Rinzin said religion is full of myths, legends and superstitions. “Without them, our stories won’t be complete. Even our policies and laws are engrained with one superstition or the other. Young people should learn about it.”

Through the books, the authors also hope to preserve and document culture and tradition, and also address some of the social issues facing the country today.

NWCC director, Malkit Chand, said they received overwhelming participation from the students.

“We hope to continue encouraging students to keep up with the habit of reading and organise such programmes in the future,” Malkit Chand said.

Thinley Zangmo