Dzongkha: Graduates attending the National Graduates Orientation Programme asked what could be done to not let Dzongkha, the national language, die a slow death.

The former secretary of Dzongkha Development Commission, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen, who was one of the panelists, said that losing Dzongkha would be like losing the soul of the nation.

“We have to protect our national language,” Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen told the graduates, emphasising that so much depended on young people like them.

English has gained popularity over national language because English is the medium of instruction in the country. The challenge today is how to make Dzongkha as popular as English.

Lopen Lungten Gyatsho, director of the Institute of Language and Culture Studies, said that time has come when every Bhutanese should ask what he or she could do to strengthen the use of national language.

“Giving priority to it is important,” he added.

The panelists said that linked inextricable with national language are cultures and traditions that help shape a nation’s identity.

“Symbols, rituals, and values are the three core domains of culture,” said Lopen Lungten Gyatsho.

Executive director of Agency for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts, Lam Kezang, said arts and crafts unique to Bhutanese too give special identity to Bhutan and should be preserved and promoted.

Tshetup Wangdi, a corporate employee who is attending the programme, said the panel discussion was interesting and enlightening.

“It is important that we know the importance of our language, cultures and traditions,” Tshetup Wangdi said. “Our security and sovereignty rest on them.”

Graduates will meet cabinet ministers today. A total 2,762 graduates are attending the orientation programme.

 Rajesh Rai, Thimphu