Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Birth Day Your Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Love   Foundation of Family
Love Beyond Boundary
HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck
(courtesy: Facebook)

On 11th November, 1955, a Prince was born to His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and Her Majesty Queen Kesang Choden Wangchuck. Dechenchholing Palace witnessed the joyful birth whilst Tashichhodzong witnessed the greatness of the Prince who became the 4th King of Bhutan in 1972.

In his reign of over 34 years, the King guided the Kingdom and his people towards unprecedented growth in social and political dimensions and economic prosperity. Today there is a political concept originating from India that democracy is the foundation of development ( an Indian effort to counter economic success of China ) but in Bhutan it was the 3rd King who laid the foundation of development and the 4th King who expanded development works to all the corners of the Kingdom. His Majesty also fulfilled the historical commitment to his father’s legacy. The 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck began embarking upon the task of empowering the people since 1953 when the National Assembly was first constituted. At the end of his reign, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced democratic governance by the people and over-saw the installation of his son His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the 1st Constitutional King of democratic Bhutan.

Some say that the King is the re-incarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Maybe so! I have known His Majesty quite early in school, had the privilege to interact in sports and debates. And over the years of his reign I have formed my own perspective of this great King. In my own perspective, I see him as a demi-god personality endowed with the qualities of Chenrezi, Jampelyang and Chha-na Dorji. In more human term, the King shares a striking characteristic resemblance to Chogyel Minjur Tempa. It was Minjur Tempa as Trongsa Penlop who brought the Sharchok Khorlo Chhusom under Trongsa Penlop administration thus successfully completing unification of Bhutan initiated during Shabdrung’s time.

It was Minjur Tempa who mentored Gyelsey Tenzin Rabgye the adopted son of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel after his own son Jamphel Dorji had died. Tenzin Rabgye, I am told, is actually a blood lineage of the most Divine human being Drukpa Kuenlay through his Toeb Chhadhana daughter. Later Minjur Tempa abdicated his Desi Throne to make way for Gyelsey Tenzin Rabgye. He himself retired to a life of religious retreat at Tango-Cheri monasteries. Today you can still see his retreat room with walls that are filled with beautiful mural paintings done by him. Bhutanese history and governments hardly mention him. Maybe it was wrongly presumed that writing about this great personality could eclipse the legacy of Shabdrung himself. Of course no one can superimpose over the legacy of Shabdrung which is so intensely ingrained in the history and minds of Bhutanese. Even then the fact is that there had been many great personalities especially the Kagyu Lams who played historical part in the making of the Bhutanese nation.

Similar to Minjur Tempa, His Majesty succeeded in bringing about the 3 main regions of Bhutan – the East, West and South closer together in united social, economic and political goals. Like Minjur Tempa, His Majesty is a thorough-bred political strategist, superb administrator, a great General and a very religious person at heart. The King also abdicated his Throne in favor of the Crown Prince, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Whilst Chogyel Minjur Tempa led his post Desi-ship life in retreat, posting his thoughts in paintings and writings, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck leads an active outdoor post-Throne life. And maybe when occasion calls for the inevitable, the King may use the Majestic brush to smoothen over political rough edges or draw a path through national quagmires. The July 2013 political events may have been perceived by many as distressing national happenings but to such a great King with so much life experiences, it must have been a mere drama in the  backyard. For a King who had to confront the Sikkim like Indira aggression at the age of 17 and still in youthful spirit managed to hold on to his Kingdom’s sovereignty, no internal political turmoil can disturb his Royal spirit of equanimity. To him it is just a part and parcel of adjustment of past to the democratic changes of the present or maybe it could have been a storm in the season of monsoon which comprise of many storms and rain that nourishes the nation.

The King’s Samtenling Palace comprise of few wooden one storied cottages that are a far cry from the standards of country side hunting lodges of European Aristocrats. His personal wants are little and yet he is a King who had no qualms to beg for more on behalf of his nation. For the security and prosperity of Bhutan, the King aggressively sought bilateral and multilateral financial assistance from friendly countries. And towards the end of his reign, he literally begged successfully with the government of India to renegotiate the 1949 Indo-Bhutan Treaty. The renegotiated Treaty is a gift to his Heir the 1st Constitutional King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the people of Bhutan so that the Bhutanese nation can hereafter independently choose the Kingdom’s future course. I certainly hope that this rare gift of full Bhutanese sovereignty will not be squandered away for short term personal gains of political Parties.

I find King Jigme Singye Wangchuck fair in war. He went to war to save his Nation not to crush his enemy. He is bold in Love. In this modern era, he crowned four Queens together and years later he thanked his countrymen for their blessings of the Royal Marriage. He is a King of all Seasons - peace time, turmoil time, absolute monarchy time or constitutional democracy time. He is a visionary King to his nation and a responsible head of the Royal Family.

Your Majesty, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for so many great national deeds and even greater personal sacrifices. May Your Majesty live long, always in good health and being handsomely young! And may your heir the Constitutional King fulfill your dreams for him, the Royal Institution and the Kingdom of all Bhutanese people.

With deep respects and gratitude 
Wangcha Sangey 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Personal perspective on International Events I

1.      Iran Western Powers Nuclear Talks
The recent Geneva 7-9 November, 2013 talks seems promising and its good news for the world in general. Some might say that the Talk was possible due to change in Iranian leadership. I feel it is the change of American position. That’s why Israel and Saudi Arabia are quite disappointed with Obama Administration.
America remains the most powerful nation but its influence has been waning over the years. Wars in Iraq and Libya not only alienated many developing countries but it created conducive environment for Russian and Chinese sphere of influence to grow.
Saudi Arabia has the oil dollars whilst Israel has a very powerful lobbyist arm in Washington. But Washington has realized that it does not serve the long term global interest of American if it continues to pursue the narrow policy of pro-Israel and Saudi Arabian interest in the Middle East. The ramification of the past Middle East policy of the western world is at best unpleasant and counterproductive. The recent change in American policy thinking has helped to avert American invasion of Syria and made possible the Nuclear Talks with Iran. It does not take much of a gamble to predict that relation with North Korea will also see a better light in the near future.
In the recent Nuclear Talk, France seems to be taking a hard line stand against Iran. However, France’s hard line position will peter off because it is just a fa├žade to placate anti-Iranian forces. The stance of France is a repeat of previously France calling for US air strike on Syria and later docilely endorsing Russian plan. So the 2nd round of Nuclear Talk towards later part of this month will see more concrete and peace oriented result between Iran and Western 5 powers. A real Peace in the Middle East region will be good for the whole world including the people of Israel and Saudi Arabia although their present respective governments are dead set against friendly relation with Iran. Administrators will come and go but the nations must adjust to co-exist in peace with each other.

2.      Domestic noose strangles foreign relations for America and India
President Obama could not make his scheduled trips to Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines due to his government shut down by the Congress. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India cannot go to Colombo because it is politically too risky domestically.
Both America and India deeply desire to contain perceived Chinese influence in South and East Asia but their domestic politics are curtailing the implementation of their external national policies. Maybe relationship with China for countries like Sri-Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia could turn out to be more fruitful.

3.      Fukushima nuclear radiators
I am relieved and hopeful that Japan would finally see the beginning of the end of Fukushima nuclear radiation problem. I pray that the attempt to remove the entire 1000 nuclear rods will succeed without any mishap. I hope that Japan’s skill and courage overcomes the great danger inherent in never before attempted massive transfer of nuclear rods. In layman’s term it is like transferring fish from one river to another. However, the risk involved is very high and incredibly destructive if anything goes wrong with the highly complex technical processes.

4.      Assassination of Hakimullah Mehsud, the Taliban leader
Peace proposal can be a means for assassination. This seems to have been the successful desired goal of USA and Pakistan to eliminate the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. It is possible that the main objective of Pakistan led peace talk with Taliban was to locate the where-about of the elusive Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. Once that was done, American drone attack assassinated Mehsud one day before the actual peace talk. The timing of the attack prevented the collateral damage to Pakistan Peace Officials if the drone attack was made on the day of Peace Talk.
Taliban leadership would of course feel deeply humiliated more so because they got completely fooled by the peace proposal. Naturally there will be no Taliban takers of further peace bait in the near future. However, one has to admire the ingenuity of the Pakistan and USA strategists for coming up with an incredible way to expose Mehsud. 

5.      Syria Peace Talk
It looks like that Syrian Government was not responsible for chemical attack and western governments including America was aware of it from the beginning. It is not too difficult to point out who was responsible behind the scene but like president Arafat’s death by poison, it is not possible to prove and even if proven to what end. There would be more bitter and aggressive denials and threats. So I just hope that in Syria’s case, chemical weapons are eliminated without further fuss and that proposed Syria Peace Talk in Geneva becomes a good start for the stability and peace for Syrian nation and her suffering population.

6.      Indian Politics for 2014
Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are already battling over 2014 general election. BJP and allies have already spilt and UPA is on the way. There is a distinctive crack within the Congress Party since the day Rahul Gandhi so brutally and globally stigmatized and humiliated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the political ordinance for corrupt politicians. The Ordinance was withdrawn but within party differences have widened.

7.      Obama health care rues
President Obama won all the legislative battles to launch the Obamacare. The hitch was that his administration just could not get out of the electronic maze that snared the implementation. The most powerful man having his triumph legacy Obamacare drubbed by electronic pitfall is an irony of unforgettable lesson. Maybe Obamacare got an attack of his infamous drone attacks that have killed so many innocent civilians.