Today, we are in the midst of nationwide celebration to mark the auspicious birthday of our beloved and great king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. This year’s celebration is different from those of the past years as His Majesty completes a 60 year cycle in the Bhutanese calendar called Rabjung. The celebrations have begun in earnest across the country and it is heartening to see whole-hearted dedications being exhibited by people including those in the villages led by gewog officials.
Despite various programme currently underway including those that concluded days prior to November 11 to commemorate and pay our respect to His Majesty, nothing would suffice in our expression of gratitude to our beloved Drukgyal Zhipa.
Even as we celebrate his birthday with so much fervor recollecting all the great and extraordinary deeds in the past 30 years of his reign everything we do today in the name of expressing our gratitude, will fall short of how indebted we all are to everything he has done for nation’s well being. In fact, at times we Bhutanese have failed miserably to live up to the expectations of His Majesty. We must feel so lucky to have had been ruled by a selfless king like him but hang our head in shame for failing him when he needed our support the most.
It is heartbreaking today to watch clips of his speech on how when as a last resort, he had to mobilize military options to flush out foreign militants, just a handful of people, that too mostly farmers came forward to serve the country. The footage that we get to watch today makes us realize how he had to shoulder the most difficult task forsaking his own safety along with few hundred regular servicemen and he is right when he said, “If you don’t come forward and serve your nation when in need, when are you going to do that. It is a matter of utmost shame for all able bodied citizens of the country who spoke loudly of patriotism but failed when it is most needed.”
He rightly said that those few volunteers who came forward to the call of the nation are the true sons of Palden Drukpa. I can only agree that these volunteers, where they may be living today, are the true sons of Bhutan. Let’s not forget them too.
Another profound legacy of Drukgyal Zhipa is conservation of our environment. It is amazing on how he became the architect of putting environment at the centre of our development. He is truly a champion of the earth and it was befitting that he was the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards for his lifelong service to environment conservation. Today, despite our claims of enormous success in environmental conservation, it is alarming to see proliferation of mines and quarries which benefit just a few at the larger cost of the nation. We need to re-evaluate our actions and follow the lead of His Majesty in this front if we really care of His Majesty’s vision and aspirations.
I think we all need to reevaluate our priorities and actions, come to our senses and live and work to fulfill the aspirations and lead provided by His Majesty Drukgyal Zhipa for over three decades. We failed him in 2003, let’s not fail him in this more subtle but profound and enlightened vision of a happy country. Let’s celebrate his birthday the way we always do but, more than the celebration with various programme, I am sure His Majesty would be more pleased if we all work together to fulfill his aspirations and dreams for the well being of our country.
May His Majesty live forever and be a continuous source of inspiration for us all and radiate his wisdom like the rays of the sun that leaves no place in darkness.
Tashi Delek and Happy Reading.
November 10, 2015