| Karma Yuden and Tenzin Lhamo, Thimphu
“For my part, therefore, I am not trying to forget this sorrow that has befallen us and at present I am having the last rites for my father performed as well as I can. All of you must also abandon grief. With strong endeavors in each of our own tasks, we must unite our minds for the sake of the strength and progress of our own country.”
These words emanated from the world’s youngest Monarch, Bhutan’s Fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The day was July 26, 1972, and His Majesty was addressing the nation, which was struck by “A great misfortune,” demise of the Third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of the country’s national day celebrations, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo said. “….the Chhoetse Penlop will be enthroned as the Fifth Druk Gyalpo……”It was December 17, 2005. The venue was Trashiyangtse district.
Just a year later, His Majesty, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, issued a Royal Decree, proclaiming His abdication.
“As I had announced during the National Day celebrations last year about my abdication, and also briefed the Lhengye Zhungtshog on this decision, the time has now come for me to hand-over my responsibilities to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.”
It was December 9, 2006.
The above three extracts showcase the bold, selfless and self sacrificing Monarch, who steered Bhutan from isolation to modernity; the King who gave away power to His people by transforming Bhutan to a Constitutional Monarchy. In 34 years of the golden reign, His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo became the epitome of Leadership; stormed the global development path by introducing Gross National Happiness (GNH); stirred the concept of Leadership by leading His band of soldiers to the forefront and took His country to the vanguard of modern nations. Great, Visionary, Bodhisattva….are some of the words used to describe the Extraordinary Leader.
A look at extracts from some addresses and edicts of The Great Fourth reflects the Icon that His Majesty is. In it we see a leader who assured that the dreams of His people are realized; a leader that blessed Bhutan and continues to do so.
“As far as you, my people, are concerned, you should not adopt the attitude that whatever is required to be done for your welfare will be done entirely by the government. On the contrary, a little effort on your part will be much more effective than a great deal of effort on the part of the government.”
Coronation address, June 2, 1974
“… The entire responsibility of our country’s defense fully belongs to the Army. If they cannot shoulder this responsibility, then there is no justification for the maintenance of such in force in a small and developing country like Bhutan.”
Address at Tencholing, Wangduephodrang, November 21,1978
“From here on I shall personally take the responsibility of improving the training, discipline and welfare of the police. Within a year or two, we shall build it into a force of which we can be proud.”
Address during Police Passing out Parade, September 13,1978
“Our greatest strength lies in our people. United as one, there is no goal that cannot be achieved and no problem that cannot be overcome.”
National Day, Mongaar, December 17 ,1980
“So long as the people and the government work together, hand in hand with one thought and direction, with willingness to make sacrifices, show loyalty and dedication dearer than our own lives, then there is no objective that cannot be achieved.”
National Day Samtse, December 17, 1981
“Though section Ka 3.4 of the Land Act does not prescribe any ceiling on the land belonging to the Royal family members, I hereby amend and decree that it should be dealt as per the general laws of the land in the same manner.”
Kasho to the Home Minister Issued in the Fire-Tiger Year (1986).
“In order to avoid the shortage of land for the future generations, it is very important to be strict from the beginning only in transferring and registering the land by changing the type of land which may be registered in ones name. Moreover, the office of land record must be very careful and should not deviate from the Land Act, and should be very strict, as far as possible..”
Kasho to the Head of the Land Record Office. Issued on the 11th Day of the 7th Month of the Wood-Ox Year ( August 2, 1985).
“ The greatness of country is determined by its people. The productiveness and character of the people is in turn determined by the quality of education they receive.”
Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Sherubtse College, 1993
“…The Lhengye Zhungtshog should now be restructured into an elected council of Ministers that is vested with full executive powers to provide efficient and effective governance of our country.”
“.. We cannot afford to have the divisive forces of regionalism and communalism come into play-in the election of the council of Minister.”
“A two-third vote of no conference by the Tshogdu Chhenmo shall require Hiss Majesty the Druk gyalpo to abdicate in favor of the crown prince or the next in line of succession to golden throne.”
Kasho to the Speaker, National Assembly, June 10, 1998
“If all the efforts of the Royal Government to try and resolve this problem through peaceful means fail, and the militants refuse to leave our country, we will be left with no alternative but to send our security forces to make them leave Bhutan.”
National Day, Trashigang, December 17, 2000
“It is my wish and prayer that during the reign of Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Palden Drukpa will remain strong and glorious, that our country will achieve greater prosperity with the sun of peace and happiness shinning on our people, that all the national objectives of the country and the hopes and aspirations of our people will be fulfilled and the Bhutanese people will enjoy a greater level of contentment and happiness.”
“While we prepare ourselves for parliamentary democracy in 2008, we must all pledge with our body, speech and mind to be unwavering and steadfast in our efforts to strengthen the sovereignty and security of Bhutan, to secure the blessings of liberty, ensure justice and peace in our country, and enhance the unity, happiness and well-being of our people for all time to come.”
“As I hand over my responsibilities to my son, I repose my full faith and belief in the people of Bhutan to look after the future of our nation, for it is the Bhutanese people who are the true custodians of our tradition and culture and the ultimate guardians of the security, sovereignty and continued well-being of our country.”
Abdication Kasho on December 9, 2006.