Historical 112th National Day

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National Day (Gyalyong Duechen) in Bhutan is the most significant national event that is widely celebrated throughout the country on the 17th of December. The date marks the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first Druk Gyalpo (Monarch) of Bhutan. The significant event dates to 17th December 1907, when Gongsar Wangchuk was crowned the first king over a united Bhutan in the congregation hall of Punakha Dzong. This established the Wangchuck Dynasty which continues to rule Bhutan.

(Source: Facebook/KingJigmeKhesar)

 

National Day (Gyalyong Duechen) in Bhutan is the most significant national event that is widely celebrated throughout the country on the 17th of December. The date marks the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first Druk Gyalpo (Monarch) of Bhutan. The significant event dates to 17th December 1907, when Gongsar Wangchuk was crowned the first king over a united Bhutan in the congregation hall of Punakha Dzong. This established the Wangchuck Dynasty which continues to rule Bhutan.

According to the information in the Kuensel archives, the National Day was celebrated for the first time on 17 December 1971, sixty-four years after King Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned. Since then, the celebrations continued to become more elaborate and festive and the day was attributed with great national significance.

The commemoration of this day serves to remind us of the profound sacrifices of our forefathers, who worked tirelessly for the wellbeing of our country and people. It is because of our forefathers that we can enjoy peace, prosperity and unity. The day allows us to express our gratitude to those who came before us for handing over a strong, sovereign nation to the future generations. It is a day on which our generation reaffirms our pledge to shoulder our important responsibility to serve the nation to the best of our abilities.

This year, more than 20 thousand people celebrated National Day with His Majesty the King, His Majesty Drukgyal Zhipa, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, Their Majesties The Queen Mothers and the Members of the Royal Family celebrated the 112th National Day in Thimphu.

The ceremony started with the statue first king taking part in a parade towards national stadium followed by their majesties as the prodigious crowd who gathered for the event since midnight anticipated to get the rare glance of our royals especially the young crown prince Jigme Namgyal. For the record, a family arrived at the stadium around 11:00 P.M on the eve to be part of the historical event.

Bhutanese speculators were found hassling to the stadium pass midnight and by 4 A.M, the stadium was fully occupied. The security personnel had to close the gate around 4:00 A.M of the 17th December and most had to go back home and watch the Live Telecast of the event. For the first time in the history of Bhutan, the largest number of Bhutanese People watched the sunrise together on the morning of National Day.

This year the National Day was a remarkable day for several reasons. There was a flag-raising ceremony, a grand parade whereby different section of Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Police, Desuups, Commandos, Pazaps and other personnel consisted of 2000 heads marching at the Stadium. The National Flag was also displayed by the Royal Bhutan Helicopter Service followed by cultural electrifying performances.

 

However, the Highlight of the day was

  1. Bhutanese people cried tears of joy when His Majesty announced that Their Majesties are expecting their second child in spring, 2020.
  2. His Majesty announced the "Gyalsuung" or the National Service Program for the youth of Bhutan to be instituted in 2022. A year-long training for those attaining the age of 18.

 

The one-year training will include a 3 months military-style training, and a 9-month program in areas like agriculture sciences, entrepreneurship, computers and coding, health sciences, etc.

The National Day celebration also included 3 days' tour to Bhutanese Gastronomy and Culinary experience at the Traditional Food Village at the Coronation Park organized by the Tronga Poenlop Thuendrel Club. On the evening of National Day, the biggest light festival was hosted in Changlimithang where thousands of spectators watched the light show in Bhutan for the first time.

This day, Bhutanese shall Rejoice!

 

 

1. Foremost concerns

a. Economic Growth: Our neighbours, India and China, are experiencing unprecedented economic growth, propelled by technological advances in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Automation, Big Data, Blockchain, Quantum Computers, and FinTech - Digital Currencies, Digital Wallets, Digital Banking.

The world is changing rapidly. We cannot afford to avoid what we don’t yet understand, and hope for the best. Such an attitude will cost us our national objective of self reliance.

We have to create economic opportunities for the next generation. It’s time to recalibrate ourselves to succeed in the fast-paced world. The government, lawmakers, the private sector, the people, and experts in various fields must work collectively to chart out a clear economic roadmap for the 21st Century- this will help every individual and entity to understand their respective roles and work towards a common national objective.

b. We are yet to take full advantage of our small size, to better organise and manage ourselves. Larger countries are faced with challenges in communication and information sharing, and in building consensus and harmony. These lead to mismanagement, lack of responsibility and accountability, oversight, and failure to achieve results.

As a small country, we should be more efficient and effective than others. We must be able to address challenges and seize opportunities promptly. It is time to acknowledge our shortcomings, and act swiftly to correct them. The government, lawmakers, civil service, and institutions must undertake the responsibility of restructuring and improving our laws, policies and procedures.

c. Youth: It is in our hands to build a better future for our children. One of our most important national objectives, is to empower every single child in Bhutan for success. Bhutan’s future will be mirrored by the strength and capabilities of our youth.

For our children to excel, they must adhere to the highest standards, and have capability, integrity, discipline, 21st century education, unity and solidarity.

2. Gyalsung to be instituted

To address some of these concerns, Gyalsung (National Service) will commence from 2022. It will be a year-long training for those attaining the age of 18.

The one year training will include a 3-month military style training, and a 9-month program in areas like agriculture sciences, entrepreneurship, computers and coding, health sciences, etc.

Gyalsung will provide direction and encourage our youth to be strong, independent thinkers, capable of serving the country. It will bring the youth of Bhutan together in a shared experience and act as a rite of passage- irrespective of their economic or regional backgrounds.

With this initiative, we are placing an immense responsibility on the shoulders of our children, and assuming an even greater responsibility ourselves, to nurture them and ensure their success.

Moving forward, there will be nationwide consultations and an opportunity for the people to seek clarifications, and propose new ideas and recommendations.

3. His Majesty The King announced that Their Majesties are expecting a second Royal Child.

 

Writer - Tshering Denkar

 

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