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Friday, March 18, 2011

“The Bhutanese Democracy-Gift from the Golden Throne” An Essay. BY; Ngawang Tobgay, XII SCI ‘B’ Punakha .H.S.S, 2010

Bhutan the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon’ for a complete century has been under a wonderful system of Monarchy. Through good and bad times alike, she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideal which gave her strength because of the farsighted kings who led her. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, and opening of opportunity to the greater triumphs and achievement that await us with its change to be a Democratic nation.
His Majesty the Fifth King said ;
“The highest achievement of one hundred years of Monarchy has been the constant nurturing of Democracy. This has culminated with the first sitting of Parliament and the start of Democracy, where my father the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and I, hereby, return to our people the powers that had been vested in our kings by our forefathers one hundred years ago. We do so with absolute faith and confidence, offer our complete support and prayers for the success of Democracy”
Bhutan enjoyed long, unprecedented peace under the benevolent and dynamic leadership under our Monarchs. Bhutan has remained a sovereign ,independent and a happy country throughout  its recorded history , not through mere good fortune but because our great leaders  and forefathers greatly cherished and valued our way of life and our unique national identity, with their selfless dedication and hard work for the happiness and wellbeing of the people. And moreover with their utmost concern in the service of the country, the dynamic Wangchuck dynasty has not only gained the great love and loyalty at home but respect throughout the globe.
The move towards a Democratic constitutional Monarchy form of government in the year 2008 can be track back to the reign of Third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. He introduced revolutionary political reforms to empower the people in participating and decision making with regard to governmental affairs. These political reforms started with the founding of the National Assembly of Bhutan in 1953, which culminated in the formation of Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdu (DYT) and Gewog Yargay Tshogdu (GYT).The devolution of power and the writing of the Constitution during the reign of Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The first two Kings consolidated the sovereignty and security of the nation, while the Third and Fourth Kings decentralized powers to the people gradually leading to the Democracy in the country during the time of the Fifth King.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people”.  Therefore, in a Democratic form of government, it allows each and every individual to exercise their right in participating and decision making with regard to the governmental affair and the right to vote and elect the right person to the power, whereby the citizens of the country can efficiently contribute to the developmental progress in the country. The fundamental rights which are protected and ensured by democracy for the people is of utmost importance that we the people exercise these rights selflessly to ensure we contribute to support the government. There by democratic form of government can become the best form of government if it enjoys the peoples support and contributions.
In most countries Democracy did not come easy, there were lots of social violence. The people had to overthrow governments and leaders to have democracy. In Bhutan it is amazing to know that after a century of Monarchy, the transition to Democracy came without any conflict. It is with the complete selfless dedication, genuineness and the brilliance of our Fourth and Fifth Druk Gyalpo, which let this transition to be an extraordinary success and achievement. Our kings gave up power for the sake of the people.
In a democratic state the people have to be actively involved in the developmental policies to make the government effective. We have the right to raise voices against injustice and atrocities. Democracy gives us this height and opportunity. Democracy is better than other forms of government because it emphasizes to give individual freedom, freedom of speech and expression. But, to what extent do we as good citizens use these rights well is of utmost importance, because in exercising our powers do we have to realize our responsibility to our country and the expectations of our beloved kings.
It is with this notion and view that our wise and benevolent kings have planned for this valuable transition even before we knew what was democracy. One very important attribute of Democracy is that people are given ample opportunities to become strong and self reliant and it reflects the will of the people in the governance of the country.
In our country Bhutan, it convincingly appears that the nation will achieve greater heights with the new form of government as our leaders have cleverly initiated the foundation of constitutional Bodies such as the Election Commission, the Royal Audit Authority and the Anti- Corruption Commission for the smooth functioning of the newly introduced Democratic government.
Dawn or Dusk? ...Your perception.
It is the farsighted and enlightened leadership of our Druk Gyalpos that Bhutan’s transition from Monarchy to Democracy could take place without social upheavals. In doing so, our leaders have proven themselves as enlightened rulers of great vision, wisdom and extraordinary courage. The transition to Democracy is indeed, a remarkable Gift from the Golden Thorne!
We pray that we may be worthy of the unlimited goals and opportunities that our leaders have bestowed upon us. And hope the Land of Thunder Dragon will bloom with utmost magical flowers of prosperity, peace, and happiness along with the fulfillment of our ideal of GNH in this most awaited new era of Democracy.
Palden Drukpa Cholay Namgayel!’


  1. This essay was written by one of my students last year. It won a consolation price among 300 other essays written by students across the country.