Bhutan has made great moments in history. Our dzongs, solid and majestic, stand today, not just as cultural icons showcasing the elegance of the Bhutanese architecture, but more so, they are symbols of her vibrant past.
A glimpse into our history reveals how fortunate we are, to be born in the soil of Palden Drukpa with our Druk Gyalpos to define our destiny. Each steadfastly and uncompromisingly rose to protect and strengthen the solidarity of our nation. The national character and the personality that sets us apart; the national consciousness and identity that so distinctly has become our own today, is the result of the unbending resolution and sharp vision of our Kings.
Each era gave birth to a Dragon King as an antidote to the ills and adversities of the time. The crowning of Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck put an end to the internal intrigues and strives, bringing home peace, just when the great powers were preparing for World War I. In the midst of economic depression and World War II, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck rose to consolidate the young Kingdom. Around the time when the great powers were torn by ideological clashes, our Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the icon of modern Bhutan brought people’s voices to the forefront and put an end to the evils of serfdom. Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck shook the world by challenging GDP with the principles of our GNH; years later, he stunned the world and humbled his people with the gift of democracy when elsewhere democracy had to be fought for with many a bloodshed. Each Druk Gyalpo has served a purpose higher than self; each answered the daunting calls of the Nation – giving a new strength, a new confidence and a new stability. Bhutan dared to dream her dreams to define her destiny.
And today each of our Druk Gyalpos endears to us deeply.
Thus, when our Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck took over the helm of affairs, he embodied the continuity of the great Wangchuck legacy. With his regal aura and strong charisma, our Druk Gyalpo won global admiration and respect. At home with his all-embracing love and compassion, His Majesty personified our hopes and dreams.
Today, as the icy hands of Covid-19 grips the world, sending forth waves of fear and confusion across the globe, our Mewang once again struck a deep chord in both the young and the old, as he rushed out to answer to the country’s toughest call. To this Man, Our King, nothing is as important as Bhutan and the Bhutanese. Even before the tidal waves of this virus hit Bhutan, our King is on the ground meeting his people; assessing their readiness; awakening them from their slumberous complacency and ignorance; re-kindling hope and assuaging their fear and much more… But this is no surprise! You and I know, our King has walked the Bhutanese soil a thousand times before, is familiar with every crack and corner of Bhutan and knows all the facets and faces living there.
While our King worked tirelessly night and day, many like myself, may have just stood and stared, basking in the Bhutanese sunshine never asking from where and how this sunshine came about!
Today, even as many mighty countries lay staggering and broken, we once again, stand tall, unafraid and confident, daring to face this Covid-19 storm together. Our King, with his sharp military judgements and penetrating insights, has created DeSuung – the Guardian of Peace who now stands as the Great Wall protecting us from the invasion of Covid-19. Our confidence is restored and our hope lighted up.
Here is a King who remembers his people living offshore far from home and reaches out to each one across the ocean to ensure their safety and comfort. Here’s a King, who acts with astounding spontaneity to use his kindest possible measure to address the need specific to each one of us. The National Resilience Fund has provided shelter, created employment, relieved the burden of loan payment and touched the lives of each Bhutanese deeply, lifting their morale and optimism. If the country’s economy doesn’t serve the purpose of its people in times of their need, why have a strong economy, our King reasoned with compassion. No act can be as endearing really. Such sublime-humane benevolence is a true testimony of our Druk Gyalpo’s noble and magnanimous spirit that each Bhutanese will cherish for all times.
No Bhutanese is left behind. No Bhutanese receives any less than the other. Every Bhutanese gets his measure of the King’s love and care. Today, the world is viciously holding on to the principle of the “survival of the fittest” where the elderly and the vulnerable are either forgotten or ignored. How blessed are our Bhutanese elders to be the first ones to receive our King’s compassion and care. They remain our nation’s number one priority.
Equally fortunate are our youths! They are indeed our Druk Gyalpo’s heartbeat and have always stirred his intellectual interests and deep concerns. Today with thousands either in quarantine or observing social isolation, our Druk Gyalpo takes even greater care to save them from falling into boredom or sinking into potentially serious mental or emotional disturbances. Chik-Thuen, highly evocative and entertaining, has now become a powerful unifying force for solidarity and to drive home the key ‘Stay-At-Home’ message and create awareness for the nation to beat Covid-19.
In moments of uncertainty and confusion, such as this, once again we can only turn to our King- for Hope and Light, for Refuge and Clarity, for Strength and Courage to move on. He is our Lungten ghi Gyalpo, predestined by Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdrung Rinpoche to rule this Dragon Kingdom as our Compassionate Warrior King.
In turn how have we responded? Our fellow Bhutanese have been incredible, coming together in a spirit of solidarity and oneness. Our Chab-Je Rinpoche leading Zhung Dratshang is the most vital force preparing the ground for all auspicious interconnection tendrel and circumstances to arise. The Royal Government led by Honourable Lyonchhen has been most meticulous and efficient in implementing the aspirations of His Majesty. Our DeSuung, our security forces, all our volunteers, the ones hitherto unknown and unseen Bhutanese individuals who stepped forward to express their Damtshig, is so moving and deeply humbling. This is such a winning combination for Bhutan.
However, the battle isn’t over yet. We have heard the emotionally charged words of our Majesty; felt that intense moment of solemn silence even as our Druk Gyalpo spoke – reassuring us yet cautioning us to remain alert and guard our individual behaviour as well as, of the possible pitfalls and dangers that can simply come from a careless person’s mistake which can undo everything we have achieved so far. This bids us to gather our heads and hearts to make a personal pledge to take full responsibility to align our efforts and behaviour to our King’s efforts to beat Covid-19.
And before you put aside this page, would you do this for your King? Pause for a moment to take a mindful breath – your breath of solidarity and gratitude to this Peerless Druk Gyalpo.
Breathing in, fill your whole being with the love of your King.
Holding your breath, dwell in that moment of love.
Breathing out, send out your love for your King, for Bhutan and for the World that’s suffering.
Contributed by Karma Pedey
Norbuling Rigter College (NRC), Paro