By Dr. DNS Dhakal Published: October 1, 2017
Immigration to US opens up a world of opportunities. Children could dream about admission at Harvard or MIT if they are brighter. Transformation from rag to riches is possible if one works hard to become a successful entrepreneur.
In fact one gets a gift check of US$ 50,000 on the day he or she enters the United States of America legally. One can lead a productive life, enjoy a secured and healthy retirement, and have access to Medicare in perpetuity.
Despite such opportunities why are the resettled Bhutanese committing suicide? Is it due to cultural shock, work stress, lack of community support, or issues specific to resettled Bhutanese community?
Obviously, a 100 years jump in the standard of living is a difficult transition. It requires handholding for building the confidence in navigation of the modern socio-economic structure. There is a need for counselling the resettled Bhutanese to become open to new ideas and social practices which may not be akin to what they had been exposed to.
America is a melting pot; it encourages cultural assimilation and equal responsibility between the male and the female members. It is impracticable to stick to the social norms or value system which were suitable in the reclusive Himalayan mountain environment.
Despite the setbacks the resettled Bhutanese have made good beginning at entry level jobs. Almost all resettled Bhutanese buy a car within a year of entry into the United States. Over 40% of the resettled Bhutanese have bought houses. Some of the resettled Bhutanese students have made to MIT, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and Duke. There are practicing medical doctors, nurses and IT professionals. And the number is growing annually.
What is being neglected thus far is the traditional profession where their forefathers had excelled at. The Gurkhas are considered excellent soldiers as evidenced by their service in the Nepalese, Indian, British and Bhutanese armies. Gurkha soldiers are working in the sultanate of Brunei, Singapore and the UN peace keeping forces. They have received appreciation wherever they have worked.
Resettlement of over one hundred thousand Lhotasampas in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has opened up an avenue for recruitment of Gurkha soldiers in their national armies. An opportunity to work under Gurkha regiment in each of the receiving country would indeed be an honor to the resettled Bhutanese community and fitting gratitude to the host countries which have braved the resettlement of the forgotten refugees from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.