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Remembering Shakespeare on his 400th Anniversary

Lobsang Nima

I don’t know what made us the Bhutanese strike off Shakespeare from our curriculum but when they did it, I was in the 1st year of my college. I was not in favor of this move and I always wanted Shakespeare to remain as long as English was taught in the Bhutanese schools. Back in the college days we celebrated Shakespeare as a festival. I remember Mr. Leki Wangdi, now a Principal at Wangdi acted out the role of the Bard and in the end our class won the festival prize. We acted out so many different characters from his numerous plays and we termed our class program as ‘Characters come alive’ wherein I was the anchor introducing all the characters. I was dressed as Julius Caesar.
In my first year, I was nominated for a declamation contest. There were eight of us enacting different famous characters from around the world and I was the only one from the Shakespearean era. I was in front of the whole college and I was reciting the famous lines ofMark Antony. I was the second speaker. Pardon me I don’t remember much…
Friends, Romans and Countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred in their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious;
If it were so, it was a grievous fault, and grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
For Brutus is an honourable man……
A souvenir remembering the Bard (2016) Google
Perhaps this is literature, to arouse emotions and delight in the mind of readers….an epitome of imagination. This is what is lost in modern Bhutan’s English classes. On an average a middle school child has difficulty in learning and using figures of speech which Shakespearean plays were filled with. We have lost Shakespeare from our curriculum but the bard lives in my mind. Just to use a metaphor fromHamlet to personify my argument… “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come”.
Around the world, Shakespeare is celebrated and millions of visitors flock to Strad Ford- Avon to pay respects to this playwright and poet. How I wish if Shakespeare was re introduced into our curriculum. The reason I wanted to write something about William Shakespeare is this year, 2016 is celebrated as the 400th year of his death. This is being done to honor Shakespeare for his 38 Plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. I am remembering him for all the wisdom that connects me to the Elizabethan England and watching ‘Shakespeare in Love’ only bolsters my urge to study Shakespeare as part of our curriculum. I know it may sound irrelevant to our educationist to have Shakespeare back but my stand is “Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear” -All’s well that ends well.
I want to join the world in remembering Shakespeare who taught us not only language but also life to this day, not in death but in life you live in our minds. I dream of having Shakespeare back in our schools.
The course of true love never did run smooth- (A midsummer’s night’s dream). Thank you William Shakespeare!

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