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Slavery in Bhutan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slavery in Bhutan was a common[1][2] legal, economic, and social institution until its abolition in 1958. In historical records, unfree labourers in Bhutan were referred to as slaves, coolies, and serfs. These labourers originated mostly in and around Bhutan, Assam, and Sikkim, and were the backbone of Bhutan's pre-money feudal economy.[2][3]

Bhutan abolished slavery as part of modernization reforms at the behest of the Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25. In breaking with slavery and feudalism, King Jigme Dorji enacted legal reforms, awarding citizenship and outright ownership of land to former slaves.[4]

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  • A Surreal Trip – The Philosophy of Atlanta – Wisecrack Edition
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This video sponsored by Nord VPN Hey wisecrack jared here. And today we're talking about one of the funniest and weirdest shows on television Atlanta what makes Atlanta so thought-provoking is that it's Simultaneously one of the most realistic and one of the most surreal shows on television It's this seemingly contradictory combination that makes the show one of the most interesting and hilarious Shows on the air so welcome to this wisecrack edition on the philosophy of Atlanta spoilers ahead And hey McKeith, if you're watching this one's for you, buddy, but first a quick breakdown for the uninitiated Atlanta has a simple premise. Earn a Princeton dropout needs to find a way to make some money So he links up with his cousin Alfred aka paperboy and becomes his manager all the while he tries to balance his relationship with the mother of his daughter van and becomes friends with Alfred's roommate Darius, but this simple premise is deceiving as the show which creator Donald Glover described as Twin Peaks with rappers pushes the boundaries of reality to insane lengths for both comedic and dramatic effect and it accomplishes this by using both Surrealism and realism. Let's begin by defining our terms Realism is any set of restrictions to a creative work which demand that it adhere to the dominant assumptions about what is and isn't possible Realism presents the world with minimal interference from the perspective of the artist one of the best examples of contemporary Realism is the work of British filmmaker Ken Loach who uses his films to presents the gritty reality of British life without any sugarcoating his most recent film I Daniel Blake tells the story of a man struggling to stay financially afloat in the brutal bureaucracy of the British welfare state and Unlike the typical Hollywood tale of overcoming poverty Daniel Blake dies alone in a bathroom stall before receiving justice unlike this harsh realism surrealism Pushes beyond the limits of reality if Ken Loach uses the camera to show the world precisely As it is someone like David Lynch uses it to create something which exceeds our logical expectations Now it's also worth noting that most comedic television is neither realist nor surrealist But simply fiction with no real claim to authenticity. This is why it doesn't matter that The Manhattan of Seinfeld is just a soundstage in Los Angeles or that Kevin James could be married to three different beautiful women in two different CBS shows now that we're clear on the basics Let's get into the Nitty Gritty of Surrealism with the og surrealist Andre Vuitton who is to surrealism what Guy Fieri is to donkey sauce represent Burton was a French writer working in the early 20th century who viewed surrealism as both an artistic and political tool one of the ways in which ritand describes Surrealism is a psychic automatisms in its Peters State by which one proposes to express the actual Functioning of thought have you haven't had your daily micro dose of LSD yet? What Burton is saying is that surrealism uses art to express what's really going on at both the personal and social level? Surrealist art might confuse us at first but on the other side of this confusion We can see the world in a new light So how do you take an art form that aspires to? Exceed reality and combine it with an art form that takes the exact opposite approach well Let's find out first on realism Atlanta makes a deliberate effort to portray life in Atlanta accurately especially for people struggling like her it removes the Fictionalized glamour of say a rap video and instead gives us the sometimes not so pleasant Reality behind the facade take paper boys apartment while the network originally wanted him to live somewhere that would fit the stereotype of a rappers house the show puts him in a pretty Standard Atlanta apartment building where someone like paper boy would actually live or read man He also is usually profusely sweating because Atlanta is king hot and anyone who had portrayed otherwise with makeup is a liar meanwhile Earn lives in a storage unit and works a series of odd jobs while trying to make it as a manager when they're in need Of sustenance paperboy and daria's don't just get wings from an anonymous restaurant. They go to Atlanta institution jr crickets and ordered lemon pepper wet wigs a regional staple not available outside the six seven eight and four Oh Area codes he made you to lemon pepper joints But he's got the sauce on No Lemon pepper wet this commitment to realism makes the city of Atlanta a character in the show this stands in stark contrast to surrealism while its realism is important Atlanta's embrace of Surrealism has produced its most memorable moments. Whether it's a Nutella sandwich guy on the bus. This is a symptom of the way things are Not the way things necessarily should be Fight this out A black student wearing white face in class a strip club DJ speaking to earn yo, just look at it Create a canoe black a school t-shirt or most things Darius does really careful Very cool Atlantis world is full of seemingly nonsensical Characters and events Atlanta often blends the surreal and the real together in the same scene including the one we just discussed After being told that the chef hooked him up we see a magical glow coming from the wings showing the viewers from outside Atlanta precisely how Magical and revered these wings are but often the use of Surrealism can ask us to rethink What we take for granted in the season 1 episode Nobody beats the Biebs Paperboy is playing a celebrity basketball game with the son of Justin Timberlake and host blown Justin Bieber Well, the idea of paper boy dunking on Bieber is perfect enough on its own The real twist comes when we see Justin Bieber and he's well black This is a clear subversion of our expectation And while this surrealist casting might seem confusing it creates some wonderful comedic moments Cool but what's most important is that besides being black atlanta's justin bieber acts just like the real justin bieber he treats reporters and fans like she Acts like a spoiled brat has a huge entourage and can't fathom the idea of anyone getting more attention than him After acting like an asshole for much of the episode bieber holds a press conference where he apologizes for his behavior with a new song Okay something that Bieber actually did in real life This surreal take on Bieber's very real behavior leaves the audience with a crucial question Namely would his behavior be perceived differently if he were black Black Bieber would please Burton as he's used not just for surreal humor But forces the audience to rethink their assumptions about reality in this case does our culture forgive white celebrities for bad behavior of waffle ding celebrities of color to a different standard an even weirder example of surrealism takes place in the same episode While paperboy and ern are busy at the celebrity basketball game Darius heads to his local gun range to let off some stress But his range mates get pissed when they noticed Darius his target poster isn't a human outline But instead a picture of a dog this raises the question who the twitch shoot a dog target you can't shoot dogs What are you a psycho but then we're forced to consider. Well, why would I shoot at a human dog? I mean, that's weird This is way too specific. It's also a potential nod to white people's over-the-top obsession with their dogs Which nobody a wisecracking white - nope not not even a little bit I did not know people like dogs this much a use of surrealism that is quite literally hard to see takes place in episode 8 of season one in which earned Darius and Paperboy are outside the Club, after strong-arming the club owner to get paid just getting their money was a surreal endeavor in itself But things get even weirder once they hit the parking lot in case you don't know what you just saw. That was an invisible Car speeding through the parking lot leaving bodies in its wake is this meant to be a commentary on the absurd ways that celebrities use? their money to flex on everyone else maybe Could it be highlighting the way in which we have become? So desensitized to violence that the only way to make it stand out is to use an invisible car Possibly or is this Atlanta at its most Twin Peaks? And we shouldn't look for meaning at all either way It's a good reminder that surrealism doesn't always have to mean something as often It's used to undermine and confuse our rational impulse to project meaning onto everything --nice kado the flipside of this meaningless surrealism can be seen in one of the most uncomfortable Moments of season one the Juneteenth party in case you're not up on your history Juneteenth is the holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas and in general the Emancipation of slaves throughout the Confederacy at the party the husband of the host gives earned an impromptu Lecture on the importance of visiting Africa. That was a pilgrimage Needed to pay my respects Ask for forgiveness one, you know, right? I Don't I really don't? But you you've never been to Africa No, you gotta go It's your motherland. What are you thinking and predicts his ancestors via his facial features? Congo Ivory Coast Southeastern bantu region I don't know this spooky thing called slavery happened and my entire ethnic identity was racist and to ensure that he is the Platonic form of that white guy he letter performs a poem about the horrors of slavery Jim Crow Has the name of a man but is a ghost I? am a man but Jim Crow is haunting me like in that movie poltergeist That's right The only white guy at the party celebrating the end of slavery performs a poem about slavery from the perspective of a black man these shoes And to add salt to the rim of this super-awkward margarita The parties bar offers fun cocktails named after the horrors of slavery. I had the plantation master poison and we couldn't talk about surrealism in Atlanta without covering the most talked about episode of season 1 ba n The entire episode takes place during a fictional talk show where paperboy is being grilled by a feminist sociologist For his lyrics rap is chickens coming home to roost. Look. My life is messed up y'all did okay, that's black movies You can look better well Your news is problematic my fault The crown jewel of this episode is a black teenager from Atlanta that self identifies as a 30 year old white man from Denver Hey, excuse me. What maybe you have one time? Hey, did you see Game of Thrones last night? This came on the heels of the cultural show that was Rachel Dolezal and the ensuing debates about trans racial identity while the notion of a white person's self identifying as black led to genuine debate and consideration Atlanta asks us to consider how we feel about the issue when it's a black teen self identifying as a white man and paper voice response is one that much of the audience likely resonates with This is dumb like this is dumb And this might be the ultimate genius of Atlanta as unlike other shows that have used surreal elements to take us further away from reality Atlanta uses surrealism to bring our focus back to reality by using the surreal to disrupt the habitual way We look at and think about certain topics. We can reconsider them altogether We see this in Clark County in his hybrid music videos slash commercial for yoohoo This seemingly surreal example of a famous rapper making a song about an artificial chocolate beverage Exposes something that's actually going on. I Eve much of art produced in our day and age is really just thinly veiled advertising for we don't really need This example resonates with the influence of Marxism on Burton as a surreal moment leads to a socio-political critique this use of Surrealism for social critique is what keeps Atlanta in the spirit of Burton's work in both seasons Surrealism is used to reflect on everything from inequality to cultural appropriation Gusta grab go Why your Lotus and it refuses to let the viewer turn off their TV without confronting? Something real and urgent about society. This might be the most unique Contribution Atlanta has made to contemporary television in the same way that it employs Surrealism without veering into absurdity. It also provides cultural commentary without coming off as preachy hi I'm Brandon Tartikoff chairman of NBC entertainment And I've got a hit idea for the new fall season Don't do drugs. There's no And it's this commitment to pushing the boundaries of Surrealism that gives us one of the most insane moments of television in recent memory Before we go it's worth mentioning the aims of Burton surrealism in relation to Atlanta creator. Donald Glover's musical alter ego childish gambino Burton makes clear. The aim of surrealism is not simply to create a new formal culture It's to use art to change culture through revealing its true structure for Bhutan The world is only very relatively into a thought meaning that much of what we perceive Isn't a true indicator of the way the world really is We can see this in this is America where surreal elements are used to make a scathing political critique of the state of affairs in contemporary America and if this video is any indication It seems like Glover and his creative circle will be continuing to push the limits of a new black Surrealism for the foreseeable future and as always thanks for watching guys peace now guys what can also be surreal is finding out your computer has been secretly hacked which is why most people use VPNs to protect their web surfing We could have used one back in the early days of wisecrack when we were actually hacked to get back our channel We literally had to pay off some hackers in football You know My life could have been like if I had kept that Bitcoin to keep hackers out We could have used Nord VPN with unlimited bandwidth and double data entry you can surf privately and securely from anywhere in the world compatible with Windows Mac OS iOS and Android Nord VPN is a great way to start taking your internet surfing Seriously, start protecting your Internet experience today with 77% off a three-year plan by using code wisecrack at Nord VPN Comm slash wisecracker. Don't get hacked It's really not fun to grab the steel head to Nord VPN comm slash wisecrack or just hit the link in the description What showed you want us to dive into next hit us up in the comments and as always peace



Before the introduction of a money economy in the 19th century and modernization programs in the mid-20th century, the economy of Bhutan was based entirely on payment in kind and in labour, including unfree labour. In the feudal land tenure system, in which all land was held by the sovereign and populated by tenants, serfdom and service to mesne lords was commonplace. Ordinary citizens, for their part, were bound by the driglam namzha to do work such as dzong construction as part of their tax obligation to the state. The gradual transition to a feudal money economy was prompted by Bhutanese military and territorial losses to the British, which resulted in annual cash subsidies to the Bhutanese government. These money revenues eventually replaced unfree labour as the backbone of the Bhutanese economy.[1][2][3]

Bhutan had an underclass of prisoners of war and their descendants, who were generally treated as serfs or even as slaves. This class of slave was the most common, however many others were aboriginal or indigenous tribal peoples originally living in scattered villages throughout Bhutan. Criminal freemen facing capital punishment were sometimes spared and made slaves for life. Slave status was inherited, and the value of slaves varied according to age, caste, and sex; an adult high-caste male cost about 20 Rupees at market, while a low-caste female could sell for 3 Rupees. During the 18th century, hundreds of Brahmins were imported as slaves into Bhutan every year.[3][5][6]

By the 19th century, Bhutan had developed a slave trade with Sikkim and Tibet. During this time, the kidnapping of British subjects as slaves, as well as the repatriation of escaped Bhutanese slaves, became major points of contention amid rising hostilities between Bhutan and British India. The British position was to allow slaves to return of their own will, but not to repatriate them to Bhutan. (Cf. non-refoulement)[1][2][6][7]

During the 19th century, the British also grappled with slavery in neighboring Sikkim and Cooch Behar. By 1877, slaves from Bhutan were regarded by the British as Bhutanese refugees. Meanwhile, the slave trade remained a lucrative source of profit to local Bhutanese officials near the Indian border.[1][2][7][8][9]

In the early 20th century, Bhutan limited the slave trade as it developed laws reflecting the chattel nature of slaves. King Ugyen Wangchuck's 1916 reforms of the Tsa Yig legal code prohibited the sale and purchase of slaves, and limited the use of coolies by state officers to occasions where the health of the officer required such. Otherwise, the institution of slavery was left intact despite reform: slaves attempting to escape were to be detained, and anyone who harbored an escaped slave was to "make good the slave." However, if one returned an escaped slave, the owner faced a legal obligation to compensate him for his time and effort.[2]

Slave demography

Slaves originated from multiple sources, both inside and outside Bhutan. Tribal areas of central, southern, and eastern Bhutan (e.g., Lhop, Lepcha, and Monpa) as well as prisons in Ngalop areas of western Bhutan were domestic sources of slaves. Outside Bhutan proper, various ethnic groups of the Assam Duars including the Mechi were subject to taxation and slaving such that entire villages were abandoned when the British examined the region in 1865. Slaves acquired from Indian Assam, where slaves constituted 5–9% of the total population, were often born slaves or already enslaved as condemned criminals.[8][10][11]

Culturally and linguistically part of the populations of West Bengal or Assam, these slaves were mostly caste Hindus and practiced wet-rice and dry-rice agriculture. Indian slaves were generally brought to Bhutan from tribal areas.[5] Many slaves who arrived since the 1800s were the forefathers of modern Lhotshampa, a heterogeneous community of Nepalese origin in southern Bhutan.[12]

As slaves of the state, many slave communities were concentrated in traditional population centers such as Thimphu and Punakha.[5]

Treatment of slaves

The majority of slaves in Bhutan were bound to government service. Others cleared the humid malarial jungles of south Bhutan to develop the nation's agricultural lands. Foremost, slaves were the primary source of government labour in and around dzongs, which served as administrative centers.[12] Although slaves had no personal or professional liberty, they filled military and administrative ranks within the government, including high posts, a silver lining of upward mobility. The Royal Government placed male youths in the service of the palace and in provincial administrative centers. This provided generations of technically competent, politically dependable cadres serving lifelong roles. Female slaves, however, were used mainly as sex slaves in brothels.[5][6][13]

There was no substantial difference between the state and treatment of feudal serfs and chattel slaves in pre-modern Bhutan.[3][14] Slaves and servile classes attached to land grants were regularly traded as a showing of goodwill among rulers of neighboring states.[6]

Abolition and legacy

As part of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck's modernization efforts, land reform was accompanied by the abolition of slavery and serfdom.[14] After abolition, many ex-slave communities were near traditional population centers because it was there that they had been pressed into service to the state. Many of these former slaves and their descendants have remained in urban centers, supporting and joining an emerging rentier class.[5]

Rural slaves including many Lhotshampa, who had developed malarial jungles into productive agricultural lands, feared eviction and deportation. With the enactment of land reform and the Nationality Act of 1958, they were granted citizenship and began to prosper. In part because the manumission of slaves and serfs was accompanied by land redistribution awarding them outright ownership, slavery left no legacy in Bhutan comparable to that of African Americans in the United States and Brazil.[12][15]

The Nationality Act of 1958 was repealed by the Citizenship Act of 1985. After this the first nationwide census was implemented from 1988. The largest group within the country affected by the enforcement of the Citizenship Act were the Lhotshampa people; this group, a generalized term for those of Nepalese descent, comprised 43% of the total population of Bhutan in 1988, including all illegal aliens. Bhutanese security forces moved through the southern regions of the country, home to most of the Lhotshampa, forcing them from their homes and across the southern borders into Nepal. Because most of the people exiled did not speak Dzongkha, they were classified as illegal aliens, thus able to be removed from the country. In total, between 100,000 and 150,000, 1/6 of Bhutan's population in 1988, ended up in Nepalese refugee camps. By 2015 over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal were settled in third nations.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Risley, Sir Herbert Hope (1894). "History of Sikkim and Its Rulers". The Gazetteer of Sikhim. pp. 14, 20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f White, J. Claude (1909). "Appendix I – The Laws of Bhutan". Sikhim & Bhutan: Twenty-One Years on the North-East Frontier, 1887–1908. New York: Longmans, Green & Co. pp. 11, 272–3, 301–10. Retrieved 2010-12-25.
  3. ^ a b c d  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Worden, Robert L. (1991). Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. "Bhutan: A country study". Federal Research Division. Social System.
  4. ^ "Timeline: Bhutan". BBC News online. 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  5. ^ a b c d e  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Worden, Robert L. (1991). Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. "Bhutan: A country study". Federal Research Division. Ethnic Groups.
  6. ^ a b c d Gogoi, Jahnabi (2002). Agrarian system of medieval Assam. Concept Publishing Company. p. 129. ISBN 81-7022-967-7.
  7. ^ a b Gupta, Shantiswarup (1974). British relations with Bhutan. Panchsheel Prakashan. pp. 79, 205–6.
  8. ^ a b Labh, Kapileshwar (1974). India and Bhutan. Studies in Asian history and politics. 1. Sindhu Publications. p. 70.
  9. ^ Singh, Amar Kaur Jasbir (1988). Himalayan triangle: a historical survey of British India's relations with Tibet, Sikkim, and Bhutan, 1765-1950. British Library. pp. 183, 279, 317.
  10. ^ Karlsson, B. G. (2000). Contested belonging: an indigenous people's struggle for forest and identity in sub-Himalayan Bengal. Psychology Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-7007-1179-1.
  11. ^ Kumar, Dharma; Raychaudhuri, Tapan (1987). c.1200 - c.1750. The Cambridge economic history of India. 1. CUP Archive. ISBN 0-521-22692-9.
  12. ^ a b c Sinha, Awadhesh Coomar (2001). Himalayan kingdom Bhutan: tradition, transition, and transformation. Indus Publishing. pp. 25, 183, 215. ISBN 81-7387-119-1.
  13. ^ Kautsky, John (1997). The politics of aristocratic empires. Transaction Publishers. p. 87. ISBN 1-56000-913-6. citing Rose, Leo E (1977). The Politics of Bhutan. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
  14. ^ a b  This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: Worden, Robert L. (1991). Savada, Andrea Matles, ed. "Bhutan: A country study". Federal Research Division. Modernization under Jigme Dorji, 1952–72.
  15. ^ Tashi, Tshering (2009-07-20). "A King's Tea Cup". Bhutan Observer online. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  16. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Resettlement of Bhutanese refugees surpasses 100,000 mark". UNHCR. Retrieved 2016-03-14.
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