Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Lesson from Nishoka

If there is one man that we must thank besides our great monarch for the development of Pangbang and making it what it looks like today, it is Mr. Nishoka – the Japan Sahib. The people of Pangbang in the early eighties were like nomads staying in huts and fully dependent on natural resources from the forest for their livelihood. The only agricultural practice that they adopted were shifting cultivation.
Mr Nishoka's Resident

The arrival of Mr. Nishoka changed all that. The flat area where there is school at present and known as Sonamthang used to be covered with thick forests as told by the older generation. It was him who taught the locals, how to make use of the fertile land and how to engage and reap the benefits from the labour of agriculture. He was also said to have used river Manas for traveling and transporting machineries and other stuff via India.

When I saw the dilapidated house with plantation of out-of-the-place trees growing in the backyard, I asked around about the story behind the almost ruin. He stayed by the side of the river overlooking the project that he was on. The project being agriculture(-izing) at Sonamthang and teaching people how to practice agricultural activities.
non native trees

The easy go lucky people, when they were taught to work and the rapid changes were brought in, they were obviously frustrated and they thought that the Japan Sahib was here to punish them and to spoil their happiness. The people in fact had to undergo many hardships of clearing the land for agriculture and making terrace for farming which can be seen even today. It must have been not so tough to sense the growing distaste towards him by the general public and he was said to have left for other part of Bhutan after sowing the seeds of development there.

The bridge connecting two sides of the valley was aptly named as Nishoka bridge. Right next to it a motor-able bridge is built now, the Nishoka bridge hangs relaxed adjacent to the massive bridge after having served the purpose for so long.
Nishoka bridge dwarfed - at the left hand side

If only the people of Pangbang followed the vision of the impressive man, it would have been different than what it is today. But then he left his mark there and most of the people appreciate his effort, in retrospect.

Diligence in work? We must learn from the Japanese. A Japanese visitors in Thimphu was surprised to see lots of people thronging near the Trowa Movie theater and asked, “What are these people doing here?” When it was told that they have come to watch a movie.

“They don't have work? When do they work?” Good question. When do we work? The work takes the secondary place, TBH

Development does not come without effort – a collective effort. We need to have a visionary leader (which we already have) and lots of integrity and diligence to ones own work and put in immense effort to move towards that vision.