|Love Foundation of Family|
|Love Beyond Boundary|
|HM Jigme Singye Wangchuck|
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