“When I returned to Bhutan in 1983 as the first Bhutanese to complete a MBA from India, all the doors were open for me. However, unlike many of my friends who took the easy and secure option to join the Government, I opted for the private sector which was a lot more challenging than it is now. The private sector rewarded me very well in a short time; I had what people work for for a lifetime- my own house, car and a happy career.

However, even after three years of successful career and material security, I found that I was not happy. My search for a higher calling led me back to my Alma Mater, St Joseph’s School, North Point, Darjeeling. I admired the Jesuit Fathers and admired their hard work and dedication. I wanted to join them and become a Jesuit Monk. The Jesuits were the first Europeans to come to Bhutan and Zhabdrung gave them permission to live and preach in Bhutan. In 1962, another Jesuit, Fr William Mackey came to Bhutan and contributed to Bhutan’s Education. I was very inclined to join their ranks.

I have now completed 35 years as a Jesuit this year, ten of which were spent in arduous studies of philosophy and theology of all religions. Two years of rigorous spirituality training in silence and solitude. My entire family is Buddhist and it was not because of having studied in a Catholic school that I became a Christian. Hundreds of Bhutanese boys studied at North Point and I am the only one to become a Christian in the school’s over 130 years of existence. Jesuits don’t believe in conversion of people from one religion to another, but conversion of a person to good, better and best. My calling was crystalized when I met Saint Mother Teresa on a flight to Kolkata. I was fearful of joining the Jesuits for many reasons; the challenging life, vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Order. I was afraid of my family and my countrymen at large, the shame and disgrace it could cause. However, I took the plunge and have never regretted till date.

After my training as a Jesuit Monk, I was assigned mainly to education. I served as Headmaster, Principal and Rector of many institutions in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I was the Dean of the Sikkim Government College, Principal of the Loyola College of Education, Headmaster of St Alphonse’s High School and finally as the Rector of St Joseph’s School and college, my own Alma Mater. My last assignment before coming back to Bhutan was the Provincial Superior of all the Jesuits for six years in India.

Having worked with the youth in the formal sector all my life, I am happy to work informally with the youth in Bhutan now. At present I am the President of Draktsho and lend them a helping hand, member of the Bhutan Jamchong Thundrel Foundation where I have opened a hostel for poor working youth here in Thimphu and I continue to guide young entrepreneurs. Half of Bhutan is people below the age of 25, and this is a great blessing and a great challenge. I hope in my own little way to contribute towards this nation building.

Our PM, Dr Lotay Tshering has said that he was inspired by Saint Mother Teresa to serve as a Doctor and now as the PM of our country. I am nowhere near the service level of our PM who is doing a great job for us during these pandemic times. However, I want to contribute toward the great vision of our beloved King who gave the world GNH, more than converting people towards Christianity as many people fear and suspect, in the best tradition of the Jesuit Fathers, I would like to convert the youth from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. I consider myself as a Buddhist Christian, proud of my Buddhist Bhutanese culture and in my faith inspired by Jesus. Conversion is an inside job, coercing others to follow a particular religion with any other external means is playing a religious game, spirituality sets you free to love and serve. I wish that for my people and country.”

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