Bhutan: A Himalayan Wonder

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck’s name and fame is long and adored by many people at an age where the Kings would have dreamt of a life gaiety and pomp. But unlike the traditional ancestors, the Young ‘People’s King’ of Bhutan was a model to not only his subjects, but also to the world. An epitome of youthful exuberance, his political ideologies transcended his royal ideologies. Jigme Sigmye Wanchuk ( father of Jigme Khesar) surprised even the greatest political analysts when he abdicated his ‘throne’ to the people respecting the ideals of a democratic country in 2008 and appointed his ‘respected’ son Jigme Khesar Wangchuk,a Politics graduate from Magdalen College, Oxford University, United Kingdom to protect and advice the people. Like his father, he is carrying forward the noble duty with pleasant behavior and keeping good relations and contacts with other nations. The sacrifice have had a wide political repercussions paving way for the first election contested by two parties with the Peoples’ Democratic Party submitting defeat to the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party. While strong political undercurrents where witnessed before, the election was a peaceful model replicating the strength of the Bhutanese Machinery and the political will of the nations. The elections really stood the test and could be termed as Volkgeist (Spirit of the nation), keeping in mind the strong outside influences of Maoists and illegalized Bhutan’s People Party which had its sway till recently.

Bhutan government does not have the backing of a strong political ideology unlike its neighbors, but has had strong foreign policies which have been its stronghold. Primordially, a Buddhist nation it held its feet protecting the political boundaries against ‘Tibetan like’ invasions. Its long trusted partner, India had given its hand when the Chinese aggression was at its zenith. This can be seen as a token of friendship for having supported the newly ‘created’ Bangladesh in 1971.

Tracing the political history of the Himalayan Kingdom, one can witness that the religious ideology was the predominant political ideology with its roots on Buddhism. However frequent interferences and confrontation with the immigrant Nepali population had undermined the political landscape of the country. The Royal Bhutan Army was said to have crushed a mass upsurge of nearly 5000 people under the aegis of the Bhutan’s People Party established by antimonarchists and backed by the Nepali Congress Party and the Marxist-Leninist faction of the Communist Party of Nepal, as a terrorist organization. But with a strong will to protect its cultural identity, the Royal Bhutan Army stood against all unwanted queries addressed towards them through a well planned and executed suppression. For a country, which has to depend on other nations for its political machinery, they stood the test of times and showed the world of its independent capability to deliver. This has been a subject of study for political scientists in many renowned Universities. However, their fate had a definite turn under the monarchial leadership. Bhutan provided the recipe for schools of thought which supported Monarchy as a comparatively successful model. For a nation which has to redirect itself from the suzerainty of British successful in India, it is not less than a major achievement to stand as a unified landlocked mass much to chagrin of other native states.

Bhutan had gifted the concept of Gross National Happiness Index which measures the level of happiness the political machinery have on the people. The measuring rod has been the feedbacks from the subjects themselves owing to the manner in which Jigme Khesar promotes and protects them. The level of political satisfaction which Bhutan enjoys has indeed lot to do with the cultural, unbiased, and apolitical citizenry of the country. They had reposed faith in the King and the newly consecrated Constitution. Inspite of massive interventionist attacks from the Maoist and the infamous ULFA in India, Bhutan have paved way for the socio-economic development. Coupled with its detachment from other states, Bhutan has been able to develop safely guarded political machinery which has the backing and trust of the people themselves.

The Young Turk with the support of the people, have created a niche of his own in the arena international relations with a view to give predominance to the minority view in International democracy. Inspite of the lacunas in getting their voice heard in matters of importance, the tiny Himalayan country have been able to create an indelible impression in the minds of other country heads. Indeed Jigme Khesar has a large role for this state of affairs. Jigme was instrumental in evolving the democratic process in Bhutan inspite of the existence of a strong monarchy, in which he is a part of. He always focused on the role of youth in nation building and wanted them to learn the democratic values in order to build a strong nation in the future. He was instrumental in evolving the youth in discussing landmark provisions relating to land reforms, electoral reforms etc. Indeed, Jigme Khesar portrays the strength and vigour of a young Bhutan destined to be a model to other brother nations.

He says “I protect and preserve the interest of my country. My voice is my countries voice, when they are happy, I am happy”. The Bhutanese believes in the spirit of the towering Himalayas. They are happy and proud of their tininess in a big world.

Madhu S