“Timeless Treasures”: a real treasure

Launch: A teacher’s account of a young prince, a personal attendant’s experience and stories of compelling moments from His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s contemporaries in one book takes readers down the memory lane of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The 24 thematic chapters, chosen based on the most significant moments during the 35-year reign of the King, Timeless Treasures, Moments in the life of a King and nation, is an important book.  It is a special publication of the Institute of Management Studies (IMS).

A total of 23 writers, including 11 present and former ministers, a former teacher, a personal attendant, a former militia officer, a former journalist, and four senior bureaucrats, shares their personal experience with the King.

From the intimate stories, Michael Rutland, teacher of the then young prince, narrates the youthful spirit of the young prince as an avid reader, a keen and enthusiastic student and a talented footballer. Not forgetting the fun and mischievous side of the young prince, Michael Rutland takes the readers through the journey of the would-be King.

In one of the most interesting episodes, Gup Dophu, the King’s personal attendant of some 50 years, unveils his interaction with the King where he gets the opportunity to learn Elvis Presley’s “Now or Never” from the young prince. Gup Dophu describes it as a ‘joyful-pain’.

Former minister Yeshey Zimba writes about his recollections from the Coronation  of 1974 when he was a young graduate and former minister Dago Tshering on the policy of “One Nation, One People”. Former minister Om Pradhan writes on the southern dilemma. On foreign policy, former minister Khandu Wangchuk writes about how Bhutan came of age in terms of international diplomacy during the Fourth King’s reign.

Former minister Kinzang Dorji recalls the passion and ire the National Assembly saw when the mechanism to cast vote of confidence in the King was instituted in 1998 while former minister Leki Dorji looks back at the emotional moments the people and country went through in the aftermath of the King’s decision to step down from the throne.

At other levels, Pema Tshering delves into the birth and circumstances in which GNH was born in 1979, Dasho Karma Yoezer Raydi on the “supreme sacrifice” the king made when he led his troops against the Indian militants in 2003. (Dr) Sonam Kinga, the Chairman of National Council, recounts the tact and diplomacy Bhutan had to use in carving out a space for itself amid two giant neighbours.

Former minister, Thakur S Powdyel writes about the transformations on education front, and Karma Singye Dorji, a writer and former journalist, on the growth of media pluralism he had witnessed.

Speaker Jigme Zangpo eulogizes the King as a peerless compassionate humanitarian while Dasho Sangay Wangchug’s experience see the king as a great Dharma King who promoted and strengthened spirituality. Dasho Paljor J  Dorji honours the King as a champion of the environment.

Former Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kuenzang Wangdi recounts Bhutan’s foray into democracy, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin on the King’s vision to develop the country by harnessing hydropower, and Dasho Ugyen Dorji on the importance the private sector was accorded during the King’s reign. And Dasho Sherab Gyeltshen fondly remembers the brushes he had with his King when he served in various capacities in the private sector.

Then there is a citation reproduced from TIME magazine which, in 2006, declared the King as one of 100 people “influencing and transforming” our word.

Her Royal Highness Ashi Deki Yangzom Wangchuck launched the book, dedicated to the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, on Saturday.

IMS’s CEO Tenzin Lekphell, said that the it was too big an occasion to let slip by without doing anything. “After a few rounds of discussions, we decided such a book would be very useful not just for the present but for the future as well,” he said. “The book will serve as a reference point to scholars, academics, researchers and historians because the accounts we have of the Fourth King presently are all a little too predictable without much in-depth analysis,”

Younten Tshedup 

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