Human beings are the only creature blest with the biggest brain and because of this, we are far more advanced than other animals in terms of our capacity to think, judge and act. We have moved carefully and consciously through every stage of human civilization and our experiences have made us a perfect social animal in the world today. We are the only animal capable of understanding and respecting others’ emotions. We are biologically wired to show compassion and love to those who are near and dear to us. Indeed, great masters say that when we are born, we all are born with Buddha nature in us. But as we grow up with modernization, it seems some of us are losing those human values we have been born and brought up with.
Every action comes with responsibility. When you indulge in an act, you must be well prepared to face the consequences and if you don’t have the courage and strength to take responsibility for your own action, it would be better not to proceed with it at the beginning only. I know many young people still engage in unprotected sex not realizing the consequences if the girl gets pregnant. Sex is not only for fun and sensual pleasure. It too comes with a huge social responsibility. When you ask a girl for a date, you are asking her to give you part of her life and if you don’t have the heart to take it with love and respect, I think you don’t socially fit to be in the world that emphasizes so much on human and social values. As human beings, we can never afford to be monsters and that too in a Buddhist country that puts so much value on human life. I don’t know if it’s due to our liberal attitude towards sex, but the incidents of abortions, abandonement of newborn babies and lack of care for children born out of illicit sexual relationships are becoming common in Bhutan over the recent years.
My heart literarily bleeds drop by drop every time I hear about a newborn baby being abandoned by the mother. I can’t even imagine with what kind of heart a woman can dispose off the baby which she had groomed for nine long months in her womb. Just a few days ago, there was a story in Kuensel about an abandoned newborn baby being found by a woman in a park in Thimphu and this news froze my heart with grief and pain. This baby was lucky because the couple who found her have now decided to adopt her. Likewise, even one of my wife’s training-mates at Gangjung Driving Institute had told her that she had also found a newborn baby-boy a couple of years ago in a bush and that one of her friends has adopted him. In both these cases, the babies were lucky because both of them found their adoptive parents although their biological parents have left them forever. But not all abandoned babies are discovered on time. As a result, some of them die a terrible, slow death in the jungle or drains where they are vulnerable to ants, dogs and other predators. Last year when a newborn baby was found crying in the nearby bush in Trashigang, the baby was found covered with ants and if he was not found on time by the villagers, the baby would have died a painful death. Those girls who do not find a suitable place to dispose off their babies alive have even attempted to kill them and dispose off their bodies. Some years ago, Bhutan Times was fined by Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Authority (BICMA) for publishing a graphic picture of a newborn baby thrown off from the building in Phuntsholing by the baby’s mother who was working as Maid. The trend like this is really alarming and calls for urgent attention from the concerned authorities. How many times shall we keep on counting the number of newborn babies being abandoned or killed by their mothers just because they are born out of wedlock? It’s very sad that such innocent babies are becoming the ultimate victims of unintended pregnancies and casual sexual behaviours of those individuals who do not even deserve to be called their biological parents.
Just yesterday, my sister-in-law called us from Paro asking if we know anybody who would be interested to adopt a baby girl. She told us that there is a 2-year-old baby who has been left with a distant relative by her mother and she has never returned to see her. The family that looks after the baby is my sister-in-law’s neighbor and that the baby has been in a very pathetic condition with no proper care from her guardians. The mother of the baby works in a Drayang in Paro and that the baby was born out of wedlock. So, she neither has mother nor father at the moment. My sister-in-law told us that she often feeds her and buys her cloths and she feels if somebody who does not have children could adopt her, it would be a real blessing for her. I know there are many more stories like this one which we have not yet heard.
I don’t know whom to actually blame for such a sad development in our society. Despite the constant efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan to educate youth on teenage pregnancies and safe sex practices, the cases of young girls getting pregnant are still common in the country. I think unless each and everyone of us take responsibility for whatever we do, nothing can be changed to save our community from such demoralizing behaviours of our people. In the first place, I think we all need to be a true human being and only then, things can take a positive direction. Both boys and girls have to take equal responsibility for such trends in our society. As young men and women, let us all respect each other and contribute towards creating a safe environment for our children in all the times to come. Let our innocent children not suffer for our carefree lifestyles. Always stay safe. We have only one body per life-time, so we must take good care of it. Life is too short and we must focus most of it on good stuff. God bless all!