The National Day’s former attraction, the tokha—a lavish lunch provided to all attendees—was once a significant draw. However, during the 116th National Day celebration, despite the absence of tokha, people congregated at the Changlimethang entrance as early as 11 pm on the sixteenth. This demonstrates a shift where the fulfillment of basic needs, like food, no longer solely defines the event’s importance, emphasizing a deeper significance or a change in priorities for those attending the celebration. Yes we are ready!

Over the past year, like every Bhutanese, I have felt deeply concerned about the increasing number of youths, civil servants, and productive citizens leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad or personal challenges. Just as our parents served the nation, our generation has the responsibility to contribute to our King and Country, ensuring a stronger nation and leave a positive legacy.

His Majesty’s inspirational speech on December 17 not only motivated me but also prompted me to share my thoughts with our fellow citizens at home and abroad.

The 116th National Day commemorated a pivotal moment in our history, symbolizing identity, unity, and sovereignty. His Majesty’s inspiring speech was a time for reflection, celebration, and fostering a sense of patriotism. Bhutan’s progress owes much to the significant and enduring contributions of our Monarchs, who have played a central role in the nation’s development, prioritizing the well-being and happiness of its citizens.

The foundation of our present comfort and well-being was laid during the reign of the Third King through a road-building initiative. This road was constructed through the sheer hard work of our forefathers, utilizing minimal equipment such as axes and spades. The sacrifices made by our forefathers are bearing fruit today. It is incumbent upon us to contribute and work together for the betterment of our country, leaving our own meaningful marks for future generations to build upon. This calls for a collective effort from all of us to fulfill the King’s aspirations in developing the special administrative region in Gelephu, akin to forging a new path to prosperity in the 21st century. Just as our forebears worked diligently for progress, it’s our turn to contribute towards this significant endeavour for the greater advancement and prosperity of our nation.

Bhutan, despite being a small kingdom, has garnered international attention not only for its breathtaking landscapes but also for its unique approach to governance and nation-building. Central to this distinctive approach is the visionary leadership of His Majesty Drugyal Zhipa and His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. His Majesty’s speech, marked by wisdom and a deep understanding of his subjects, provides a compelling source of inspiration for nation-building. His Majesty’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of Bhutanese people is evident from his deep concern for those residing overseas.

While it is understandable that people have left for better opportunities in recent times or personal challenges, it is worth recalling that the capabilities we possess today are a direct result of the investments and support provided by our country. The nation has played a crucial role in nurturing and empowering its citizens, enabling personal and collective growth. It is crucial to recognize the invaluable gifts our homeland has bestowed upon us, emphasizing education, healthcare, and well-being, shaping us into global citizens capable of making meaningful contributions to the world.

As we stand on the precipice of change and opportunity, it is crucial for us, the sons and daughters of the Dragon Kingdom, to recognize the profound significance of serving our country from within. Bhutan, a land that has embraced the principles of Gross National Happiness, is not just a geographical entity but a living testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and progress.

Bhutan is not merely a piece of land; it is a vibrant community that thrives on the active participation of its citizens. By staying rooted, we become architects of positive change, influencing the destiny of our homeland through our contributions in various fields.

Bhutan’s progress depends on the diverse talents and skills of its citizens. The Bhutanese diaspora, with its varied experiences and global perspectives, possesses the seeds of progress that can contribute to the growth and development of our nation. Each one of us has a role to play in nation-building.

For those abroad, returning to Bhutan is not just a physical journey; it is a commitment to shaping the destiny of our homeland. The experiences abroad may have equipped our citizens with skills, knowledge, and insights that can serve as catalysts for positive change. Bhutan needs its global citizens to bring back the wealth of learning acquired from different corners of the world.The unity of our people is a source of strength, and the return of the diaspora can foster a sense of togetherness that transcends geographical boundaries.

Today, as a visionary dream was unfurled by His Majesty the King, as we navigate the landscape of this vision, it becomes increasingly clear that the success of our collective journey hinges on the active contributions of each Bhutanese citizen. To transform His Majesty’s vision into reality, we, the people of Bhutan, must recognize the pivotal role we play in the narrative of our nation’s future. Bhutan’s success is not a solitary pursuit; it is a symphony of collective efforts, where the diversity of our skills, talents, and experiences forms the building blocks of progress. Our King’s vision invites us to actively engage in shaping our destiny, contributing to the development of our communities, and fostering a sense of unity that transcends differences. The vision is not just a directive; it is an invitation for us to become stewards of our own destiny.

Indeed, the concept of nation-building is not a responsibility solely shouldered by government institutions or political leaders; rather, it is a collective endeavour that requires the active participation of every citizen. Building a strong and prosperous nation necessitates a shared commitment, collaboration, and a sense of collective responsibility among the people. Let us not forget the unique sense of community and interconnectedness that defines Bhutanese society. The bonds we share with our fellow citizens are threads that weave the fabric of our national identity.

As we stand at the cusp of a new era, let our collective journey be a testament to the enduring love and commitment we hold for the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Returning to Bhutan means not just reuniting with the land of our birth but also contributing to the collective pursuit of nation-building. Our skills, experiences, and perspectives gained abroad can be the catalysts for further progress in Bhutan. By returning, we have the opportunity to play an active role in shaping the future of our beloved nation.

Our nation is on a journey of growth and progress, and we need every capable and passionate individual to contribute their skills and ideas. Bhutan thrives on the collective strength of its people, and your unique talents are a valuable asset to our nation’s development. Let our collective contributions be the driving force that propels Bhutan towards the horizon of prosperity and happiness envisioned by our beloved King and in shaping the destiny of our nation. Let us come together and answer the call of our homeland. By actively participating in the various facets of civic life, individuals contribute to the overall strength contributing to the continued prosperity of our nation.

May Druk yul thrive, and may our hearts resonate with the joyous echoes of happiness in the Land of the Thunder Dragon. May each one of us play our crucial role in achieving our Benevolent, Selfless King’s Vision.


Contributed by

Lily Wangchuk