18 August 2013

Gawa- The Story of the Fatherless

Bhutanese movies are usually lavish in length and miser in depth with occasional bollywood cliché. One prominent movie director once told me that anything other than that would not sale in Bhutanese cinema. Perhaps he is right because despite the odds he survived as the most successful director in Bhutan.

"Gawa- The Other Side of the Moon" chose to be different because it has a serious story to tell beyond commercial milage. It was inspired by a true story and it has a mission to inspire true stories.

I won't share the whole story here because I expect you to watch it for yourself because it has a story to tell to each one of us. It throws light on the dark side of the nightly rural courtship culture that men engage in for pleasure. And often it's the urban visitors who destroy the lives of innocent women in villages with their empty promises.

The movie portrays a girl, born out of gang rape and abandoned by her broken mother, in search of her identity and hers is the story lived by many children in our country. These children not only grow without their 'father' but also have to face the humiliation of being born that way. The most heartbreaking point in these children's lives is when they are denied civil registration just because they don't have fathers.

The movies has the potential to change the new generation of men, educate the young women, give hope and dignity to the victims and scorn the men who were responsible. At best it should remove the social stigma against victims and bring about the realization that if there is anybody who should be blamed and who should be scorned it's the men and not the betrayed women or the faultless children born out of it.

I wish this movie goes to my village Yangthang in Haa because there we have many fatherless children who need support to live with dignity, women who must understand their legal rights and know that it wasn't their fault, young women who must be educated, young men who must be changed and some disgraceful men who must be scorned and brought to justices because so far they are proud like a mating bull.

My father passed away when I was a baby and I used to think the same happened with my best friend's father. I used to ask about his father and he would ignore my question and turn away. One day he disclosed his father to me and perhaps he must have regretted later because I laughed so hard. I laughed because I couldn't believe someone else's father could be his father. The man he called his father was the richest man in my village but he was in rag just like me. Much later I learned that he was registered as his brother in-law's son in the census. My friend died three years ago from excessive drinking and in his short lifetime his father refused to accept him, though he looked like a photocopy of the man. I heard the rich man paid the cremation expenses of his denounced son, as if he waited for this very day to extend a helping hand.

The fate of my dead friend is shared by over 25 other children from 15 mothers in my village as far as I can remember and everybody in the village knows who their fathers are including the children themselves. People are open about this and women aren't scorned like in other societies but there is no culture of these fathers helping in raising the children. Some father wouldn't even spare a photocopy of their ID card for the registration of their children yet women take it silently.
In a small village of 50 households we are all somehow related to each other, and by disclosing this story I may become enemy of many but I am ready to face it for the sake of justice for the victims

'Gawa-The Other Side of the Moon' ends in poetic justice where the three men are brought to justice in the most satisfying way and much like the movie does its executive producer RENEW shares about having identified 770 children who received help in registration and in going to school. I hope children in my village are among the 770 who found the means to live better by the grace of Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuk, the president of RENEW.
Movie Poster
The movie is certified to be screened in all schools across the country for educational purpose and viewers can make voluntary contribution. The proceeds from the screening will go into educating these children.


  1. True indeed sir; there are also so :any such cases in my village where it is unnoticed yet. Hope its changed soon. Very sensitive post la.

  2. This is one of the prominent issues faced in rural. Now, with the development people too have to change their attitude. i am sure this will bring change in their mind. i truly appreciate for your concern.

  3. I was just reading a review of the movie by Peki and lost the thread of the story.But you told a parallel story that motivates a person to watch the movie and brought the issues out strongly.I am happy that RENEW is doing something about it.But RENEW alone can not shoulder this responsibility.Congratulations to Chand for doing something so different, moving and pertinent to Bhutanese society. I hope the movie will help bring about changes in our attitude, and most of all, in the law that deprives these children of civil registration casting them out of the periphery of society.

  4. Well and critically analysed report - I must watch the movie for myself. And a pertinent issue you bring out. Thanks PaSsu.

  5. A movie on my watchlist!

    Heavens, its shocking to know the plight of 25 other children of your village. Its so sad.

    The movie must be screened in every other village and schools across the country to create awareness. Praying that it will help educate our people on their rights.

  6. It may not be only in your place, such practices do exist around the country. Media, social site user should write, make it aware, keep on doing stories of such prevailing practice. So, in due course of time our people understands and have lesser victims and respectful and responsible citizen.

  7. I received good response on this issue in my village, and hopefully the children there receives legal support from RENEW to claim their rightful help from "Fathers"

    Thank you for commenting on this piece and showing your concern. Every word counts, every one counts...

  8. Hi pasa,
    I read the your dairy related to the story. Please keep sharing. I am really touched as i was when the producer and writer of the movie spke to the staff of my school.


  9. Wow this was wonderfully written. Do you have idea if a DVD copy of this movie is available? I would love to watch it and share it with my friends at my university.

  10. thank you sir. I am hopeful things would change very soon for the betterment of our society. We all are one and from one family and none should be left behind unattended. i am also indirectly the victim of it and i know the very harsh realities of it. It is same with others too. thank you for your great work.


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