|Pic: Bhutan Himalayan Experience|
The other day I was on the internet scrolling down a set of some 112-year old newly released pictures of Bhutan. They were believed to be taken by John Claude White on his expedition to decorate Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck with the insignia of Knight Commander of the Indian Empire in 1905. As I gazed at the pictures I thought about how far this little hidden kingdom of Guru Rinpochoe has come.
Sometimes, I marvel at how wonderfully rich in spirituality Bhutan is, how every cliff and river has its own part in weaving history. Globalization strikes, social media is the talk of town, education is posh, life standard skyrockets and we all talk big but deep down inside I think that we all love the smell of bangchang at a mangi rimdo. It’s almost like lives of Bhutanese people revolve around mysticism and prayers mixed with humbleness. The sound of prayer wheels turning, soft clinks of rosary beads, pleasing buzz of evening prayers and prayer flags flapping in the wind are everyday proof that Buddhism and faith are two things deeply rooted in the country’s culture.
In all of these successes as a nation Bhutan has achieved over the century lies the far-sighted leadership of her Kings. Remember 2005? That was the year when His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo imposed democracy on his rather reluctant people believing that a king is chosen by birth not by merit. I was too young to care about politics but old enough to sense ambivalence in the air, a big change to come anytime soon now.
His Majesty had gradually and intelligently devolved authority of the Throne to the people. His Majesty said that Bhutanese people should be capable of establishing a system of government which works best for them. Since then under the guidance of His Majesty the Fifth Druk Gyalpo, people of Bhutan have embraced democracy and work towards consolidating it. Starting from being a mysterious country in the Himalayas to increasingly gaining international attention, the tale of Bhutan remains forever mythical.
In the past decade, we have seen His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck grow as a monarch, get married and become a father. We are so beyond privileged to have been a part of these. May Bhutan continue to spread happiness.