It is a rarity reserved for our good earth’s chosen spots. The constellation of the celestial, the natural and the human in the realm of a people’s collective experience marks a nation out as the Jewel of the Himalayas. The varied phases of founding, anointing and empowering over an epic time-scale have defined the evolution of a country that we celebrate as Druk Yul, our home.
In the rare Fire Male Monkey cycle of the Bhutanese Calendar in the year Two Thousand and Sixteen, we take a mental leap back to the milestones that have shaped our country’s journey and cast our eyes to the future in joy and confidence. It is the confluence of the past, the present and the future that we honour and celebrate today.
In witness to a tryst of thrice-blessed auspiciousness, we offer our homage to the Guru as the Second Buddha sanctified a barren land and charmed it with the message of the Enlightened One. To the unifier and nation-builder extraordinary, Zhabdung Ngawang Namgyel, we submit the tributes of our heart as we celebrate the four hundredth year of the advent of the great Rimpochhe to Bhutan.
Above all, this is the day that heralds the promise of Druk Yul’s future. We receive today the wish-fulfilling jewel of our fervent prayers. Our hearts rejoice and exult, our mind lifts and expands, our being thanks and celebrates. The sacred birth of our Royal Prince, precious Gyalsey of our beloved King and gracious Queen betokens the rising of a new sun to light our way to the future of our dreams.
I journey back in time and space. I recall with deep joy and gratitude the privilege of partaking of the joyous occasion of the Royal Wedding of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck and Her Majesty Jetsun Pema Wangchuck on October 13, 2011 at the Palace of Bliss in Punakha. In a rare alignment of multiple strands of auspiciousness, we receive with cheer and pride today the Royal Prince of our hearts. We can rest in comfort now.
This is Druk Yul’s GNH Moment – of a rare order!
In Bhutan’s hallowed tradition, the birth of a prince is more than a family affair. We recall His Majesty’s words when the nation held its breath in joy as our beloved Druk Gyalpo made the royal announcement that Their Majesties were going to be blessed with the birth of a Gyalsey and that the Royal Prince would be the nation’s son. The birth of The Gyalsey is, therefore, deeply interwoven with the destiny of the nation.
The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan, via Article 2, states that “His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo is the Head of State and the symbol of unity of the Kingdom and of the people of Bhutan”, and that “The form of Government shall be that of a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy” as enshrined in Article 1. The transition from enlightened monarchy to a democratic dispensation notwithstanding, the institution of monarchy remains pivotal in the life of the nation as the vital principle of national cohesion and unity.
This is not an accident of history. The Bhutanese people have a deep and abiding loyalty to the throne and profound reverence for the position of the Druk Gyalpo in the scheme of our national life. Our consciousness as a nation derives its vital energy from the Majesty of our enlightened kings in whom we meet and from whom we draw our inspiration. It is a covenant at once sacred, at once dear. It is an abiding act of faith that links the King and the People.
The wise kings of the Wangchuck Dynasty have each given their all to the mission of nation-building from the difficult times of strife and struggle to the present status of a modern, dynamic and forward-looking nation-state charting its own destiny against a global background. Beyond the objective and the obvious, the King inspires common loyalty in diverse peoples and shines like the sun on all alike.
The joy-filled arrival of the Royal Prince of our sacred prayers thus assumes vital significance on many levels. The royal birth gives to the country and the citizens the singular benefit of continuity of a dynasty that has been the bulwark of Bhutan’s sovereign self and stability. The aura and authority of the gilded throne has been the rallying point for the people in all stations of life in times of strife as well as in peace-time. The sacred person and royal presence of the Druk Gyalpo are a symbol of constancy and security that mitigate and moderate the vagaries of time and chance.
This explains the spontaneous national euphoria and ecstasy that resounded and reverberated across the length and breadth of the country and beyond as we followed each precious word and soul-satisfying tone as His Majesty uncased the news that we had long yearned to hear. That was a royal gift to the people of Bhutan on November 11, 2015.
And some seven years into democracy, many Bhutanese people, especially those of my nostalgic generation, already have good reasons to pine for the sublime and the sovereign as a steadying force to edify and elevate a people and a nation that could often run the risk of getting mired into the lowest order of party politics and myopic vision. Democracy can so easily turn into a liability if we don’t cultivate its finer elements. Shorn of the vital elements of personal integrity, self-discipline and mutual respect, democracy can be a nation’s and a people’s undoing before we fully realise it.
The divinely sanctioned symbol of majesty and magnanimity, sublime above and beyond the touch and temptations of earthly politics, the King provides a vision large enough to embrace the whole country and its people and long enough to take in the distant future. The King is a royal person as well as an Ideal – that a people and a nation may look up to as a symbol of perfection and point of reference.
Five generations of our Wangchuck rulers have each been a blessing and a gift to Bhutan and her people – embodiments of human flourishing and excellence befitting the ranks of Bodhisattava Kings. What we are as a nation and as a people today, we owe it to the vision and industry of our enlightened leaders. The joy that accompanies the birth of the prince of our dreams is a natural part of the continuing narrative of our nation’s life.
This is a moment… a nation… a destiny… forged and fortified at a time like today, for a time forever…
A thousand prayers and million good wishes of our hearts to welcome our Royal Prince! May the heavens high and powers pure shower their choicest blessings on His Royal Highness our beloved Gyalsey and watch over Him and guide Him till the end of time!
And, may the Triple Gem continue to bless our beloved King and gracious Queen with the gifts of long life, good health and happiness forever!
May the sun of peace, prosperity and well-being forever shine on our dear country!
Thakur S Powdyel.