for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Monday, October 10, 2011

On The Royal Wedding and More… A Tribute to my Kings

I am just a simple Bhutanese man and I am not wise or I may know very little, but I know gratitude. So, I have words of gratitude, prayers and well wishes to our great Wangchuck dynasty.  I am here to remember and show appreciation to the legendary monarchs, be grateful to the present kings, and to wish for a magnificent Bhutan for the future monarchs. I take this platform as a fellow Bhutanese, taken in by the excitement of the Royal Wedding.

Photo courtesy: Kuensel
After the days of Zhabdrung, the dual system of government became feeble with internal feuds among regional leaders. Ultimately, the system failed to unite the nation and posed an immense threat to the independence of the Land of the Thunder Dragon. So, in order to correct this dreadful situation, the Black Regent, Jigme Namgyal, came to the rescue; he united the nation.  Sir Ugyen Wangchuck followed and further unified Bhutan by putting an end to civil war culminating with the Battle of Changlimithang. The people of Bhutan joined hands believing that the country would remain at peace with a preamble of hereditary monarchy. Hence, on 17th December 1907, at Punakha dzong, the populace of Bhutan crowned Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk as the country’s first hereditary monarch. Since then, peace and development have flourished in the soils of Drukyuel through the guidance of our majestic kings.

Bhutan developed at a fast pace under the rule of the second king, His Majesty King Jigme Wangchuck. The relationships between citizens were strengthened and Bhutan opened its first school.
The father of modern Bhutan followed, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.  Our third king graciously opened the isolated doors of Bhutan to the outside world and welcomed modernisation. In 1953, the National Assembly/TshogduChenmo was established as the chief legislative organ. This strengthened the political branch of Bhutan, while simultaneously moving toward decentralization, by allowing the people participation in decision making processes. The Lodroe Tshogde/Royal Advisory Council was introduced soon after which marked a milestone in the advancement of Bhutan towards democracy.  This council was entrusted with the responsibility of advising the king and the council of ministers on matters of national significance.  Soon after, the lhengye Zhungtshog/Cabinet was formed which comprised of the King, ministers, and representatives of different government bodies, including the grass root level representatives. Schools, hospitals, telephones, road networks, and other infrastructure soon found a place in Bhutan.

Development reached an even greater height under the astonishing reign of our fourth Druk Gyelpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogchung and Geog Yargye Tshogchungs were initiated to involve citizens in the formulation of developmental plans. This was also a landmark towards decentralisation and parliamentary democracy.  Citizens enjoyed the right to forward their plans, needs and problems to the government. Subsequently, in 1998, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck handed over the reign of government to the cabinet of elected ministers. Our 4th Druk Gyelpo also founded the concept of Gross National Happiness, which has been internationally acclaimed and is gaining great popularity. Every Bhutanese citizen, government organization and private organization is guided by the holistic approach of happiness.

The fifth king, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and the Tsa-thrim Chenmo/Constitution of Bhutan transformed the Bhutanese system of government on 18th July 2008. This sacred document outlines our systems of parliamentary democracy and is equally important for the drukpas.  It is a document of great significance as, we open the constitution with a solemn pledge to strengthen sovereignty, secure liberty, ensure justice and enhance the unity, happiness and the wellbeing of the people and the country. Now we enjoy a dynamic democracy with a king that is always there for us. The fifth king has done, and is doing, much for the people of Bhutan. Land for landless, educational aids for the less fortunate, and enhancement of international relationships are among a few of the initiatives that our king is pushing forward.

Photo courtesy: Kuensel
Yet, despite all great things that blessed the soils of Bhutan, We are once again making history. The world will have its eyes and ears on Bhutan. News of joy will spread. The Thunder Dragon will roar again, and like always, she will roar of happiness and jubilation. The Royal Wedding is the source.  The fusion of the fifth dragon king with his queen will be grand. This event will bring joy to the people of Bhutan for years to come. Excitement and joy will fill the days. Our children will read it in their history books. We will live history in our own lifetime.

The preparations are equally invigorating. Students are tapping away to the tunes of newly composed songs; songs of love, appreciation and joy. Expressions are on the way and some are already published.  Different organizations are publishing Message books and a handful is producing trademark goods. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are packed with groups and pages dedicated to the Royal Wedding. Bloggers are doing their part by writing about the event. This wedding is truly a great occasion as Bhutan will have a beautiful queen who will be of great significance in the lives of Bhutanese people.

On my part, I’m not doing anything of great significance. I am simply offering my well wishes and prayers of wellbeing to the Royal couple.   I pray for the everlasting happiness and unfailing prosperity of Bhutan. Let us hope to give an always peaceful and beautiful Bhutan to our children. May the royal couple enjoy unparalleled love and affection and let us hope that their happiness will radiate all over the world.
I would like to pray for unprecedented peace and prosperity in Bhutan under the thoughtful guidance of our Dragon King, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. And may his royal consort aid His Majesty in doing so. Let Bhutan truly fulfill its title of the last Shangri-La.

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