Trashigang’s Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) has arrived at a decision to forward to the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs a case involving two men who have been for significant while now posturing themselves as reincarnate religious figures. The DT has asked for an investigation concerning their acts. Their stories are being shared on the social media platforms. With differing views, the debate is picking up in the public forum. What is urgently needed is an intervention from the ministry. Left on their own, a situation like this could become deeply divisive.

As a country that is steeped in culture, tradition and religious beliefs, our people have deep and natural reverence for anything cultural and religious. We tend to accept a lot of things without questions. As a society that is fast evolving, some of the values that have held us together as peaceful and contented people are up for sale. We are today confronted with myriad such challenges of the modern times. Where there is money, anyone can be anything. Fake lamas and trulkus galore we have seen. Recently, some have been forced to go into quiet hiding.

In 2005, the National Assembly resolved that the formal recognition of trulkus and lamas born in Bhutan would be made according to Bhutanese traditions and the rules of procedure framed according to the resolution of the 83rd Session of the National Assembly. A high-level committee was so established, chaired by the Dorji Lopon. The members were Drabi Lopon of the Zhung Dratshang, the Zhung Kalyon, Lam Kinzang Wangdi, Sungtrul Jigdrel Kunzang Dorji Rinpoche, Dasho Sigay Dorji of the Royal Advisory Council, Dasho Penden Wangchuk, and the secretary of the Dratshang Lhentshog, Dasho Sangay Wangchug.

But the story is rather very old. According to the 30th Session of the National Assembly, held in 1969, Bhutanese trulku or lama living outside Bhutan could choose to renounce Bhutanese citizenship. The concern was one of political then. Today, it is about Bhutanese posturing and deceiving the people. More and more such people will show themselves up to deceive the people. It is time the recognition committee – Druk Menjong Trulku Ngoezin Tshogpa – acted more actively and urgently.

The problem with the people who posture themselves as someone is that they will always find supporters. When their acts are unbecoming of who they posture as, the problems become serious. This is exactly what is happening today. One of them used to be a lecturer at Sherubtse College who the college had to show the door. People accuse the two, Karsang (Lama Neljorpa) and Yeshi Dorji, for many inappropriate acts.

We call on the Druk Menjong Trulku Ngoezin Tshogpa to authenticate the legitimacy of the two individuals. The sooner it does, the better – for both the tshogpa and the people. Otherwise, we could be sowing the seed of disharmony in society by turning a blind eye to such deceptive practices.