Wai! Celebrating an occasion in one’s career, from birthdays to promotion, has become inescapable these days. Until very recently, forget about celebrating birthdays, most of us weren’t sure of the exact day on which we were born. For many Bhutanese, especially for those in the rural areas, the day of birth did not so much matter. All that mattered was the year. Many of us belonging to the older generation, therefore, have as ‘date of birth’ the date magnanimously dealt out by the census department.
In towns, people have now taken to celebrating scores of days from Christmas to Valentine’s Day.
Celebration of any kind is a happy occasion. It is good to celebrate and be happy. But when zealous celebration becomes part of even the high-principled, the maroon-clad elites, it becomes more confusing than amusing. We have seen umpte times the celebration and the endless convoy of expensive multi-utility cars that follow the promotion of a senior monks to some respectable posts.
Everyone, no matter what social class one belongs to, has the right to be happy and celebrate the happiness one has earned. But when religious figures indulge in things that are associated with ordinary masses, there really is something amiss.
For one, they are the torchbearers of the philosophy of detachment, which the common people try hard to understand and emulate. Can we say it is detachment in practice when they parade in expensive cars with big wheels? Is it also detachment when a grand party is thrown in jubilation where the main course of the meal is meat? It is a little perplexing.