Let’s face it. Don’t we seem to be quite obsessed with the ‘first’ tag – the first person/company/nation to do this, the person/company/nation to do that? What is it inspired by, the fifty first dates? And for that matter, here’s another first for us – Aum Lilly to be the (note!) first woman president of a political party i.e. Druk Chirwang Tshogpa.

This particularly reminds me of having read/heard a news piece a year or two back, featuring a debate between Lilly Wangchuk and Shobha De, the Indian writer and columnist, during a literature festival in Thimphu. What astounded me then was Lilly’s stance that there should be quota for women participation in the parliament. This was opposed by Shobha De who opined that women should be elected purely by the merit of their capability and not because of their gender. This did not sound quite right then. After all, Lilly Wangchuk is a woman borne in a free society with the freedom to become any person that you will to be, irrespective of your gender and background. We do not need quota system for our lot to get a chance. Ours maybe a democracy in infancy and women, in the politics maybe a rarity but given some time, Bhutanese women too will catch up with their menfolk as we have done in almost all profession. And it is a shame that Shobha De had said the exact words that should have been spoken by our representative – given that Shobha De comes from a nation where women are marginalised and women participation in politics are often based on quota system.

Lilly Wangchuk is deemed by many, as a capable woman...even inspiring. And here’s hoping that the ‘first’ tag with a touch of feminism did nothing to lure her into that position and that her winning traits will shine through to make her a wise leader.