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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Zorig (Engineer's) Day

Shall it be the Engineer’s day or carpenters/craftsman’s day? The moment I thought about the day it creates confusion and the moment I write, it contradicts with idea of my friends. Traditionally and still now in Dzongkha Zow mean a carpenter or someone who works with wood and stones to build houses. Many might argue if an engineer is tagged carpenter and vice versa. Still if you add rig Gopen it don’t suffice it to entitle for the engineers few argues. Anyways let me leave this for the debate that if you may likely to have for the correct term for an engineer in Dzongkha.

In 2001, College of Science and Technology was upgraded to only engineering degree offering college in the country with the name RBIT (Royal Bhutan Institute of Technology). Only two traditional engineering courses were offered viz civil and electrical engineering. It has galloped over time with loads of success in terms of employment of the graduates and developing itself to offer two more new courses. They are Bachelors in Information Technology and Electronics and Communication engineering. 

College conducts various short-term trainings, workshops and courses for in-service civil servant, in particular to the technical professionals for which the Royal Civil Service Commission has duly indentified the college. Soon bachelor in architecture and masters in hydropower will be launched.
Graduates before 2010 might not have the clear picture of current CST. The giant trees around football field and around academic blocks were all cleared and now filled up with concrete jungle to host intellect faculties, self catering students, gym to punch the bag tirelessly, and staffs residences and kitchen. The name DON Bosco has cropped in removing Bosco to be real DON. Campus is filled up with new infrastructures and the laboratories still holds with its burly base. 

Every year Zorig Day, Engineers day is celebrated on 25th April. CST being an engineering college commemorates the day with college Rimdro (rituals) and religious discourse. 

From long time back thirteen traditional arts and crafts were practiced in the country. It was formally categorized during the reign of Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay. The thirteen arts and crafts are categorized as, Shing zo (wood work), Do zo (stone work), Par zo (carving), Lha zo (painting), Jim zo (clay work), Lug zo (casting), Shag zo (wood turning), Gar zo (blacksmithing), Troe zo (ornaments making), Tsha zo (weaving bamboo product), De zo (Paper-making), Tshem zo (tailoring), and Thag zo (weaving).  

Considering the history of human dwellings, the use of above mentioned arts and crafts were evident. Among all the use of timber predates. Magnificient Dzongs, Lhakhangs and stupas wer build simply using timber and stones without any metal fasteners. They were joined together using nails of wood and notches with thick legs. And these wooden structures were designed to last for centuries as you can see still. Slowly, not only in Bhutan, in many countries, woodwork (Zow) became profession and craftsmen became the engineers, architects, carpenters and builders. By the end of nineteenth century, this craft began to disappear and subsided under the mechanization of works began when many industries appeared. And thus the separate engineers for diverse field emerged like the thirteen traditional arts and crafts. 
Bhutanese still practice the art termed Shingzo. These days though the overall outlook of the structures are designed by architects, the main master behind the overall fashioning of intricate designs of the fortresses, palaces, temples and monasteries and traditional Bhutanese farm house are master craftsmen locally known as Zow chen and Zows and  the design of strength of the members are done by civil engineers. 

Their (Zows) skills and design work can still be witnessed today in the ancient fortresses which are well appreciated by the native Bhutanese populace and visitors from outside. 

The education system in Bhutan is matured. It was signified on 25th December 2005, when 23 graduates (13 civil and 10 electrical) of 2006 and 18 graduates (9 civil and 9 electrical) of 2005 proudly received their certificates from Dasho Zangley Dukpa, the then vice chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan. They were first engineers from the native land. 

In other countries, they observed the day to pay tribute to the legendary engineer or scientist whose works and genius pave the way to modern times and engineering works and also to honor engineers. In India 15th September, is celebrated as Engineer's Day every year to commemorate the birthday of the legendary engineer, Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

For Bhutan and in particular to the engineering colleges of the country, it is better if the day is mark with the convocation ceremony for the engineering graduates and the students of Traditional arts and crafts Institute. It is the best day for to honor if any who tremendously contributed for shaping the country in engineering field and those zows whose work is inevitable for construction and renovation of Dzongs, Lhakhangs and stupa which has vital historical background. 

So, since the day I have been admitted in the college, the lecturers, relatives, and friends keep telling the importance of engineering, that you have made a great career selection, you people are going to modernize the world and I would always grin and scratch my head and think yes one day I would become worth something, till then I am better off in being a useless fellow. But there was one thing that I would wonder which was what the world would have been like if there were no engineers.  

Happy Zorig Day!!


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