|PM of Bhutan|
The day as it deserved was chaired by none other than the man of destiny and prophesy, -The Lyonchhen; our beloved Prime Minister. He was escorted to the stadium with traditional ceremony of Chipdrel and serdrang. Soon after the completion of marchang ceremony and the National anthem, the formal Birthday of the "People's King" began with full vigor and anticipation. Prime Minister of Bhutan as the Chief guest of the occasion, took over the floor and continued the day with his speech which rather appeared impromptu for most of the viewers (including me).
He began by reminding the Nation of the significant and importance of the day in the history of Bhutan. He beautifully stated that "31 years ago, on this very day, Bhutan was blessed with a birth of yet another divine leader from a Dharma King and the Queen". There was a sense of deep emotion gushing through him as he continued his speech. He called on the nation to join him in paying gratitude and tribute to our great leaders and ancestors for having toiled and labored to preserve our sovereignty through ages. He also reminded the Nation about the sacrifices our leaders have made in bringing us thus far. If at all we are at peace and prospering today, it was all because of the wise and judicious inclination that our leaders (especially our beloved kings, both past and present) had towards the so called "modernization".
PM expressed that our leaders; -both past and present are remembered in may ways. Celebrating teachers day on the birth anniversary of our third King and Children's day on the birth anniversary of our fourth King are living examples today. Not only that, we also celebrate social forestry day to mark the coronation day of our fourth king, perhaps to show to the world that growing tree is a symbol of living/thriving nation. In continuation to this, PM in his landmark announcement said that, henceforth the birthday of our fifth Druk Gyelpo will be observed as an "Education day".
I couldn't agree more on this. Education system deserve to be given its due priority and respect. If we as a citizen mean dynamic, systematic, strong, capable, and trustworthy future, then it got to be the investment and due consideration we accord to our eduction system today. It will, to the great extent depend on how much contended and motivated our teachers are at work. Teachers and the education system should reign the show in Nation building.
PM then asked whether all the young people, especially the students are taking note of what he is speaking. The crowd roared back with "Nyendo la" which is a rough translation of "yes, we are listening to you, your excellency". He talked extensively on Bhutanese values which are often neglected. Values such as repaying one's own parents that are fast becoming a myth. It risks being extinct with all the young people having a wish list of one day becoming Doctors, Engineers, Teachers and Dashos. He said, "a student, who has as his priority or first choice to repay his parents, will be a good citizen" and to become one, one doesn't necessarily need to wait for his/her maturity. It can be done right at the moment.
He further went on to inform the Nation about the democratic transition that are continuously taking place here, in our country. He informed the Nation that our democracy is based on the principles parliamentary democracy and party politics and not on incitements (Fung) of few individuals. Playing politics is one thing and that inciting is quit another. He also stated that, we (our democracy) are faced by threat form those inciters who mislead the people and misinform on issues of National interest. He stated that, keeping majority's will in mind, (as demanded by the principle of democracy) the laws were enacted and decisions were passed and it should stand as endorsed.
Obviously, the statements were firm and focused. Without a slightest doubt and hesitation, he said it aloud and clear, about the roles and responsibilities of an elected parliamentarians; -to take feedback form the people and bring out alternatives which would serve the purpose better.
At this moment I felt like He was pointing his invisible index finger to anyone who believed otherwise (Any one who believed that Government doesn't have the legitimacy to revise taxes. Any one who believed that Government was totally wrong in bringing a new Tobacco control act, when the old one bitterly failed to serve the purpose. Any one on Facebook and anyone tormentingly blogging and saying "amend the acts")
I think PM was right on many counts. Living in a democratic system, guided by the constitution and His Majesty, he represented the bridge of ultimate hopes and aspiration of the Bhutanese people. He is a a face of Bhutan in the international sphere. We need to have certain degree of faith and trust in him. If Bhutan is a Ship / aeroplane then PM is our captain. As a captain, he has that moral obligation of sailing the ship safely to shore or landing the aeroplane safely to the airport of destination.
But anyone who believed otherwise, are not wrong either, because we are in a unique democratic atmosphere; atmosphere were everything is expected to function and function well on the basis of check and balance form all sides. If constitution is our mother and our King, our father then, the systems like executive, legislative and judiciary are noting but children; -brothers. We are no enemies. We have National Council as a house of review and Opposition in the parliament to guide the ruling Government. Opposition in the parliament doesn't necessarily mean opposing the Government all the time, after all, Opposition in itself is also a representation of the people of Bhutan. If its about representing the Bhutanese people, then it's also about having sense of gratefulness, respect for the elders, respect for the wisdom of our forefathers, and above all it's about up holding the Bhutanese systems and values. As much as they are into criticizing, (when they go wrong) they should also learn to acknowledge the Government on their achievements and success,
It is a very sensible thing to say and believe that democracy means flowing and swimming with the majority. However going with majority doesn't necessarily mean that the challenges of the minorities are left unheard and untouched. As much as majority fancies ruling, that much, the majority should be also there to protect the minorities. To cite an example: Today minorities residing in the urban hub of Thimphu and Phuntsholing are adversely affected by the increase in the living cost. The calamitous hike in rent are to some extent a disastrous magnitude for most of the families residing there. When I say this it doesn't mean that other areas are not affected by the increase in cost of living. we are all equally affected but with varying degrees. Its high time that our Government activate the Tenancy Act.
If democracy in Bhutan is also about freedom of expression and speech, It should also mean freedom and openness with respect and dignity that comes with "moral responsibilities". Its not about "You are wrong and I am right" but rather, it should be "what is right for Bhutan and Bhutanese at large" .
If every single Bhutanese act as one and think as one, as envisioned by our fourth Druk Gyelpo, during his coronation in 1974, then we can anticipate even happier days than those enshrined in GNH paradigm. We may continue to gather in Changlingmethang to celebrate our beloved King's Birthday and our achievements and Happiness on every 21st Feb in years to come.
Happy birthday to our King and May the sun of happiness shine forever in Bhutan.