If the world has to learn anything from Bhutan, it is the leadership wisdom of our Kings. Today, in a situation where the world has been broken up into fragments by coronavirus pandemic, we have a fresh air of relief to breathe. This is because as the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote ‘where the mind is without fear and the head is held high’ our minds are without fear and we walk with our heads high on account of the extraordinary leadership of our King. Where else do we desire to look for inspiration if not for our King? In fact, at a time of crisis like this, our country has shown to the whole world about Bhutanese values and wall of solidarity which was built and passed down from generation to generation under the guidance of our beloved Kings. Indeed, extraordinary measures at extraordinary times have kept Covid-19 still at bay, unlike in other countries where the governance system is in chaos due to error of judgment and the failure to control pandemic has led to blame-casting.
The People’s King has always left the everlasting impression among the audiences with his golden words and godly deeds in any part of the world he travelled. From Keio University and the National Diet of Japan to Graduation Ceremony at Rangsit University in Thailand, University of New Brunswick, Canada to the University of Calcutta, Rashtrapati Bhavan Banquet hall and Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture hall in New Delhi or at home during National Day celebration, Graduates’ Orientation Program or at the Convocation ceremony of RUB, the King always stressed on fundamental values on which the character of the nation and people was built. In 2009, when His Majesty the King delivered a talk on ‘Changing World and Timeless Values’ in a packed Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture hall in New Delhi, the King informed the house that “any real and lasting solution to global issues can only come through a universal wave of human empathy, desire and passion for the common good.”
The King personally inspected the preparedness plan for Covid-19 response travelling to every part of the kingdom risking his own life. The temporary shelters at Amochhu bank constructed under the royal command of His Majesty the King have helped those families to sleep with their minds at peace. The Relief Kidu has rescued those in desperate need. The sheer amount of concern and affection for the subjects is beyond the stretch of imagination.
The King has touched every aspect of our lives. His Majesty the King protects us as a parent cares as a brother and serves as a son. He gives us everything and keeps nothing. What can we expect more from our King? The Compassionate King never loses the common touch. It brings immense relief to our minds when we have a precious glimpse of the King on the national TV screen at this moment.
The King is always a beacon of hope in unprecedented times. The recent Kupar of our King holding a child while comforting the beavered family members of four soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the lives of others touched the hearts of Bhutanese people. There cannot be a word that would rightly describe His Majesty’s divine interventions which have transformed our lives.
A guesthouse in Kolkata near the Tata Medical Center (Cancer hospital) funded by the Kidu Foundation, which many Bhutanese people are unaware of its existence in a faraway land, is a roof for the poor people who are referred for treatment.
The National Rehabilitation Programme, the noble venture of His Majesty the King, has people of Khenadrang and Borangmo of Pemagatshel and Dewathang removed from the shackles of poverty and they now enjoy the enmities of a modern world.
The Royal Academy at Paro, the model school of ideal education system envisaged by the King, provides opportunities for children from the economically vulnerable background. Two bright students from my school got a golden chance to pursue their studies in this prestigious school. They belong to an underprivileged family. On the other hand, the special programme known as Gyalpoi Tozey has been the greatest boon to students whose family could not even effort a decent meal in a day. As a teacher working in a remote part of the country, I have witnessed how this gift from the throne has transformed the lives of our dear children.
A woman in Lhuentse who was ostracised as a poison giver found her true identity as a human being after the Dharma King drank two cups of ara (Tshogchang) from her. She no longer has to bear the brutal effects of social stigma.
Granting land kidu to landless people has helped to meet the needs of a family, which otherwise, they have to work in other’s land to sustain life. Thousands of people across the kingdom have availed citizenship identity card as well. When His subjects are crippled by nature’s fury such as earthquakes, fires, floods and others, His Majesty makes his presence to provide solace and initiates relief activities. Our King is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.
We have not heard of a leader of any country doing what our King has done for people and we will never hear such thing from other parts of the world. His Majesty has, as mentioned by Rabindranath Tagore in a poem ‘Give me strength’ in Gitanjali, given us the strength to overcome any forms of hurdles in life. Long live my King!