Yangyel Lhaden

Eighty-three year old Karma, who continues to serve as selpon to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo was awarded the National Order of Merit (Gold) in recognition of his distinguished services to the nation during the 116th National Day celebration at Changlingmithang, yesterday.

Karma is fondly known as Ata Karma is from Gaselo, Wangdue. 

He began working at the age of 12, at the construction of the Dechenchholing Palace. Despite lacking formal education, Ata Karma excelled in Bhutan’s Military Training at Tenchholing, Wangdue, graduating from the first batch. 

He was appointed His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s Selpon in 1965, when His Majesty was only 10. He has served His Majesty with unwavering loyalty and dedication for over 58 years.

“I have served His Majesty the King  since I was very young, and now, I am old,” Karma said. “I am humbled by this recognition and very proud to receive it.”

Karma said that he was blessed with the opportunity to serve Their Majesties. “I have, and always will, serve with utmost dedication.” 

Last night, Karma and his relatives had a simple dinner to celebrate his achievement. 

“I have lived a long, fulfilling life in the service of Their Majesties, and I can now die a happy man,” Karma said.