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1905– Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck was born in the Royal residence of Thinley Rabten. 

1915– Jigme Wangchuck attended the new school at Lamai Goenpa in Bumthang.

1919–  At 14 years old, the Crown Prince was appointed as Trongsa Dronyer.

1922–  The Queen, Azhi Tsundrue Lhamo (Lemo) passed away.

1922–  Druk Gyalpo Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck informed Lieut. Colonel F.M. Bailey that Jigme Wangchuck was heir to the Throne. The Viceroy in Council proposed, “that, while we cannot undertake to install his heir, we shall readily extend prompt recognition and moral support when the time comes”. The Secretary of State for India in his secret dispatch No.3, dated the 8th May 1924, agreed.

1923–  At the age of eighteen, Jigme Wangchuck was crowned as Trongsa Poenlop and later in the year, the Crown Prince married Azhi Phuentsho Choedon.

1924–  ‘… prior to the rise to power of His late Highness, the first hereditary Maharaja, Bhutan, was frequently the cockpit of internal rife, and that a peaceful continuity of the present dynasty would be in our general interest.’

1926–  Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck’s letter to F. Williamson on the 20th September 1926 ‘… I am desirous of succeeding my late illustrious father in his rank and office… This year being a black (inauspicious) year… It is intended to hold the formal installation at Punakha at the beginning of next year in accordance with custom and it is hoped that you, my friend, will be able to be present on the occasion.’



1927–  Colonel Bailey reported on 28th April 1927, ‘The installation of His Highness Jigme Wangchuck, G.I.E., Maharaja of Bhutan, which took place at Punakha on 14th March 1927… On the 14th March at daybreak His Highness accompanied by the Dharma Raja went to the tomb of the first Dharma Raja and took from it a silk scarf which His Highness placed over his own neck. This was apparently considered to be the actual act which made His Highness Maharaja… In the centre, the Dharma Raja took his seat and on his left two high Lamas and on his right His Highness and then myself on the right of the Maharaja…This took one and a half hours, after which I rose and said in Tibetan that my Personal Assistant would read out my speech. This he did in Tibetan after which I placed the insignia of the C.I.E. round His Highness’ neck and presented him with the Kharita from His Excellency the Viceroy. His Highness then read a speech in Hindi… Today, according to custom, I have been installed as Maharaja of Bhutan and I am very glad to receive through you the hearty messages of congratulation from His Excellency the Viceroy and the Government of India on my installation… I request you to convey my thanks to His Excellency the Viceroy and the Government of India for their kind messages and to His Majesty the King Emperor for conferring on me the title of C.I.E., as a token of His Majesty’s benevolence…’  

1927–  Zamdar Chencho and Zamdar Kado were trained in the Assam Rifle in Shillong.

1930–  The British Report stated, “During the year under report, the Bhutan Darbar, with the approval of the Government of India, minted 30,000 silver coins (half rupees size) in His Majesty’s mint in Calcutta, with the bust of the Maharaja [King] of Bhutan on the obverse of the coins.” Annual Report on the Bhutan State for the year 1930-31.

1930s–  Tharpaling Shedra and Phajoding Shedra were established. 

1931–  In June 1930, I received a cordial invitation from His Highness the Maharaja of Bhutan to visit him at Bumthang, the capital of his State. Sanction of the Government of India was accorded and it was decided that the insignia of the K.C.I.E., which had been conferred on His Highness on the occasion of His Majesty’s Birthday, should be presented during my visit. Friday, the 13th February, was found to be an auspicious day for the ceremony which would be held in the temple of Ku-je… His Highness is extremely intelligent and very anxious to learn about affairs outside Bhutan, particularly with regard to the future of India. He speaks, reads and writes Hindi very well and has a very good grounding in English in which language he occasionally makes some very apt remarks.’



1931–  Lieutenant Colonel J.L.R. Weir reported, ‘Education in Bhutan is limited. A school is maintained at Haa by Raja Dorji where some 20 boys receive instruction in Hindi and English… A small school for teaching Hindi is maintained by the Maharaja at Tongsa and Bumthang in the summer.

1933–  Frederick Williamson stated, “His Highness is most anxious, as he told me more than once, to secure for Bhutan the use, by lease or otherwise, of the Dewangiri area.”

1933–  A mobile school in Thinley Rabten was established for the Crown Prince, Dasho Jigme Dorji (Third King) under Lopon Tashi.

1934–  In 1934, our Second King and Queen visited Calcutta (now Kolkata) with their seven-year old prince. The royal entourage arrived in Calcutta on December 11, 1934 and left on January 27, 1935. At the request of the Bengal Flying Club, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck consented to be its patron. After the official visit, the royal entourage travelled to Bodhgaya and Sarnath before returning to Bhutan.

1937–  Tashi Choeling (Domkhar) was built.

1943–  The British Report, ‘… my recent meeting with His Highness the Maharaja of Bhutan. The meeting took place between the 18th and 26th February at Dewachu which is situated just inside the border of Bhutan, 3 miles north of Diwangiri…15 men have been drafted to the 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles and 9 (Chettris) to the 8th… Out of his slender resources of money, the Maharaja gave Rs 60,000/- in October 1940 to the Viceroy’s War Fund. Hearing while we were in camp of Her Excellency’s Red Cross appeal, he immediately gave Rs 10,000.’

1943–  The British Report, ‘The Maharaja has a very smart platoon of permanently embodied men some of whom were trained with a Gurkha Unit at Shillong. He has also a creditable band.’

1946–  A Delegation from Bhutan visited New Delhi in June 1946, shortly after the Cabinet Mission’s statement on 16th  May and expressed their anxiety to learn the effect the impending constitutional developments in India might be expected to have on their country.

1947–  The Druk Gyalpo received the insignia of the K.C.S.I (Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India), from the British Government in India, Mr. A.J. Hopkinson.



1949–  B.N Rau as “…Bhutan was, therefore, not regarded as an Indian State, but outside India: and the treaties with Bhutan, though executed by the Governor-General-in-Council, were treaties entered into between two foreign States.”

1949–  On August 8, 1949, the Bhutan-India treaty was signed at Darjeeling in front of the National Flag of Bhutan.

1950–  The Druk Gyalpo now expanded with new schools in Paro, Wangduephodrang and Trashigang. Those students, who studied in Bumthang and Haa became teachers. 

Conclusion

On 25th March 1952 at the Kuenga Rabten Palace, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck  passed away. The British Report of the 3rd April 1943 stated: ‘The Maharaja has the gift, as had his father, of picking out good men and of sticking to them and their families. In his relations with them, he combines the strictest of discipline with intimacy. He treats them in a manner which gives them confidence and inspires loyalty. He talks freely with men and women of every class.’

Contributed by 

Justice Sonam Tobgye

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