Southern Bhutanese aren't people of Nepal

Published on Nov 15 2010 // Opinion
By Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Today is the auspicious day, when Ugen Wangchuck was crowned the first King of Bhutan. Long ago, when our country was plagued by wars, internal strife and poverty, it went through a very critical and difficult period of history. But, when Ugen Wangchuck came to the throne, there was for the first time unity, prosperity and happiness, and a new era of great peace and tranquility began. Hence, we celebrated this day as our National Day. Until this year, we have never celebrated our National Day in Southern Bhutan. It is because of this, that it gives me today a special happiness to celebrate the National Day here in Gaylephug with our people.

Our country’s national police is to consolidate our sovereignty to achieve economic self-reliance, prosperity and happiness for our country and people. Today, when our country is passing through a crucial stage of development, the most important things for the government and the people is to work hand in hand in all our country’s developmental efforts in order to achieve economic progress, attain self reliance and strengthen our national sovereignty. This is very important because some of our people must be thinking that large external aid and technical assistance are easily available.

There is, therefore, the temptation for us to stay idle and rely fully on external assistance to accomplish our objectives ad fulfill our national aspirations. It is important for us to understand that too much dependency on outside aid will only defeat our national goals and aspirations. Although we are small developing country, from the smallest development task the people and the government are today working together to accomplish and fulfill our cherished national aspiration of economic self-reliance. In this respect, I am very happy to tell you that even developed nations have praised such a policy as ours. I want you all to know that I am very proud of your deep sense of duty, dedication, loyalty, and the ability to sacrifice and show great determination in fulfilling our hopes and dreams for the future of our beloved country.

I have often heard that some of our Southern Bhutanese people do not consider themselves as true Bhutanese. Those of you, who think this cannot be true Bhutanese because our people of Southern Bhutanese are not people of Nepal nor are you Indians from Kalimpong and Darjeeling. But, there is a great difference and that difference is because you all are people of the Pelden Drukpa. All of us are like one family.

From tomorrow onwards we will be holding developmental meetings and I will be meeting your representatives and mandals. I would like you to know that as far as the development of Southern Bhutan is concerned in the field of animal husbandry, agriculture, schools, hospitals, cash crops and overall developments, I will myself personally look after them. It is our desire to start such development works which will be useful, beneficial and necessary to the people. As far as your individual problems and difficulties are concerns, I want you to know that they will be looked into personally by me and I will try to solve them as in one family.

Today for the future of our country, the most important thing is our people and the destiny of our country lies in our hands. I have full trust and confidence that, if today the people and the government can work hand in hand with determination, fidelity and unity, and if we can all together develop our country with our own efforts, then our country will march from strength to strength and enjoy eternal bliss.

I would once again like to say how happy I am to be here to celebrate our National Day in Gaylephug and I want you to know that it gives me great happiness to be able to see all the development works in Southern Bhutan and to be with our people. I wish all our brothers and sisters, Tashi Delek.

(Extracted from Our Beloved King, this is an unedited speech delivered by the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuk, during the National Day celebration in Gaylephug on December 17, 1978. The celebration was the first of its kind in the Southern Bhutan.)