A tribute by HM Queen Phuentsho Choden Wangchuck to her son who illuminated a Kingdom in ways never could have been foreseen.
Creations: A new national capital. A new system of governance incorporating the active participation of people from grass root level and from religious institutions. Established the National Assembly, Royal Advisory Council, Judiciary and Defence Forces, Cabinet and a young bureaucracy staffed by a fledging national civil service cadre. A seat in the United Nations. A path to the 21st Century. Empowerment of all class of subjects: men, women, serfs as equal citizens with equal rights.
A simple and very confident King with immense intellectual capacity, compassion and courage. A King who even in 1952 could fortell and accordingly shaped what Bhutan should be in the 21st century. A King who could comprehend the need and the impact of modern education for the young generations. A King who underdstood the unifying impact of a common national language and developed Dzongkhag. A pioneer of justice who shouldered the onerous task of drafting the Laws of the Land " Thrim-Zhung- Chhenmo " mainly during the wee hours of the night, " the only time he could truly claim as his own " he said. This Mother of all Laws was debated and passed by the National Assembly.
A King who laid the foundations of Judiciary, education, health, roads and communications, industries, trade, foreign relations and even laid the ground rules of low volume high quality tourism policy. A King who attuned religious institions to meet modern challenges, institutionalised the development and preservation of ancient arts and crafts, culture and tradition. A King who declared , " would rule as a sovereign King or not at all " as he called upon his male subjects 15 years and above to defend the sovereignty of the Bhutanese Kingdom during those tumultuous years in the Himalayan region.
A King who knew the sunset time of his own reign and diligently in a very short span of time (18 months or so ) prepared the very young Crown Prince for succession. I remember that winter evening at Motithang Hotel when His Majesty expressed his anxiety about the generation gap. The King said, " We are aging fast and you all are too young and preoccupied with academic studies". I was just a high school student and class-mate of the Crown Prince and could only humbly submit that , " maybe the Crown Prince could be simultaneously engaged in national administration affairs. For a Leader, among all studies the most crucial was the art of managing people and that was not available in text books".
A year and half later, on 22nd July, 1972, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck passed away. The Speaker of the National Assembly mourned, " darkness has fallen at midday upon the Kingdom ". Thankfully that darkness possessed a young glow at its depth. For by then the young Crown Prince as Chairman of Planning Commission had in his mind the road map of his Kingdom and in his heart the knowledge of each of the Cabinet Ministers and many other officials including important Indian leaders. And the succession to the Dragon Throne had already been formalised with the Crown Prince installed as the Trongsa Penlop.
Every time I drive past the Memorial Chorten. I thank the stars for the brief personal glimpses into the universe that His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was.