Excerpts from statements by HM 4th Druk Gyalpo

HM4 26 July, 1972: Royal Proclamation to the People of Bhutan

On the occasion of the death of his father

 Despite the small size of our country, the great kindness, wisdom and forethought of the Late King have protected us from the dangers of foreign enemies, internal dissension, epidemics and famine, whereas other countries in the world today have little peace and happiness. As if warmed by a sun shining between the clouds, we have been established firmly in a state of security and tranquillity…..the country has lost a King the like of whose kind has, till now, never been known….

Ours is a religious Kingdom and because of the compassion of the Lord Buddha and the guardian deities of our country, the strong and unbroken faith existing between the ruler and subjects, and because of the fact that the servants of the government are doing their utmost to serve the country, I feel that the Kingdom will not fall into serious decline…. With strong endeavours in each of our own tasks, we must unite our minds for the sake of the strength and progress of our country.

 HM4: 10 September, 1972: Opening of National Assembly

The state of peace and happiness which our country has been able to enjoy up to the present is in general due to the fact that since ours is a Buddhist country, everyone is able to give recognition to the Lord Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha and, therefore, believe in the Law of Cause and Effect. In particular, our condition of peace and happiness is due to the strong and undefiled sense of faith and loyalty which has existed between the rule and the subjects. I believe that if the Monk Body, the government servant and the public give careful consideration to the welfare of the Kingdom and dedicate their full loyalty, the Kingdom will be able to enjoy its state of peace and prosperity for a long time to come.

HM4: 1 January, 1974: Address at Sibsoo, Southern Bhutan

Initially our government envisaged and carried out development of the larger towns and areas around dzongs in the country. I now feel that we must aim at the development of our villages, since most of the population consists of farmers and cultivators. If the attention of the government is firmly focused on these people and on bringing about the general improvement of agriculture, then we can entertain the highest hopes of becoming self-sufficient in food grains. Therefore our government is giving the highest priority to agricultural development.

You must never think, however, that every measure of development and every effort will be taken and made by the government alone. The efforts being made by the government most definitely require the support and cooperation of the people. If the government and the people combine their efforts and resources in the field of agriculture, not only will you benefit, but the nation will also find greater security.

 You, the citizens of Southern Bhutan, must never regard yourselves as aliens, because you and your forebears also, were born and raised in Bhutan and as such, all of you are Bhutanese. Regarding yourselves thus, you must look to the betterment and progress of Bhutan. All of us must remain united as one people and as one nation, and forge ahead together.

HM4: 2 June, 1974: Address to People of Bhutan on Coronation Day

[T]he most important task before us at present is to achieve economic self-reliance to ensure the continued progress of our country in the future. Bhutan has a small population, abundant land and rich natural resources, and sound planning on our part will enable us to realize our aim of economic self-reliance in the near future.

 As far as you, my people, are concerned, you should not adopt the attitude 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. If the government and people can join hands and work with determination, our people will achieve prosperity and our nation will become strong and stable.

The only message I have to convey to you today, my people, is that if everyone of us consider ourselves Bhutanese, and think and act as one, and if we have faith in the Triple Gem, our glorious Kingdom of Bhutan will grow from strength to strength and achieve prosperity, peace and happiness.

 HM4: 16 August, 1976: Address at 5th Non-Aligned Summit, Colombo

 Blessed as we are with a small population and adequate fertile land, we are confident that we will achieve our national goal of economic self-reliance in the not too distant future.

HM4: 26 August, 1977: At presentation of credentials of Indian Representative

 The attainment of economic self-reliance is the basic aim and policy of Bhutan…. I am confident that your country will continue to assist us in every possible way towards the accomplishment of our goal of economic self-reliance.

HM4: 13 September, 1978: Address at police passing out parade

It must be realized that outside assistance becomes meaningless unless we ourselves are prepared to overcome the difficulties and problems that confront us in the fulfillment of our responsibilities.

HM4: 17 Dec., 1978: Address to Nation on National Day, Gelephu

Today, when our country is passing through a crucial stage of development, the most important thing is for the government and the people to work hand in hand in all our country’s developmental efforts in order to achieve economic progress, attain self-reliance and strengthen our national sovereignty. This is very important, because some of our people must be thinking that large external aid and technical assistance are easily available. There is, therefore, the temptation for us to lie idle and rely fully on external assistance to accomplish our objectives and fulfill our national aspirations. It is important for us to understand that too much dependency on outside aid will only defeat our national goals and aspirations.

…Today, for the future of our country, the most important thing is our people, and the destiny of our country lies in our own hands.”

HM4: 17 Dec., 1979: Address to Nation on National Day, Dungsam

The national policy of our country today is to consolidate and strengthen our sovereignty and independence and achieve greater self-reliance by producing within our country what we require for the development and prosperity of our country….

 [L]eave alone the achievement of national self-reliance, not even a single district today is able to sustain itself. Therefore… great importance is going to be given to planning for achieving district self-reliance…. This task is a difficult one but if we give special priority in developing each district according to its own potential and if we are able to mobilize our manpower and other resources, there is no goal that we cannot achieve.

NOTE: This theme repeated in 17 Dec. 1980 National Day address in Mongar, where HM 4 calls for “one plan for every dzongkhag specifically geared towards achieving economic self-reliance” with initial goal that “at least five dzongkhags can become self-sustaining.”

 And in 17 Dec. 1981 National Day address in Samtse: “The first policy is to bring about dzongkhag self-reliance…with the objective of making them economically self-sustaining in the shortest possible time, taking into account the local characteristics, potentials and needs.”

 And: “…the most important policy is to motivate and mobilize people’s participation in all developmental activities.”

“All of us today must be aware of economic self-reliance. To stand on our own feet is vitally important for the sovereignty and independence of our country.”

HM4: 16 March, 1982: Convocation Address at Nagarjuna Sagen University, India, and inaugurating Chair for Buddhist Studies

Today, as I address you, I am reminded of the profound spiritual and cultural bonds which have existed between our two countries for well over a thousand years. 

[His Majesty spoke of Nagarjuna (at length), Padmasambhava, the roots of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, the translation of precious Buddhist manuscripts from Sanskrit and their preservation in Tibet and Bhutan…]

Bhutan is a country which is steeped in tradition and where cultural and spiritual values which have come down through the ages still shape the lives of our people. Although the winds of change are now blowing across Bhutan, and we have embarked on an ambitious programme of modernization, we are still firmly committed to the view that we should not lose our cultural heritage in the name of progress. While hydro-electric projects, highways and factories may constitute the new temples of a resurgent nation, we believe that the roots of a people must be carefully nurtured and traditional values fostered, so that the trauma of material change does not destroy the cultural identity of a people.

[To the new graduates:] I wish you a purposeful, productive, and happy life in the service of your people and in the never ending pursuit of learning and excellence. I hope the timeless values and ideals of your rich and ancient culture will inspire and sustain you as you through life, and enable you to meet its many challenges.

HM4: 17 Dec. 1983, Address to the Nation, National Day, Dagana

We have managed to achieve substantial progress, but we have not been able to attain economic self-sustenance. We are still not in a position to stand on our own feet in economic terms. This is indeed a matter of great urgency and concern to us, and it will continue to be so until we can make our country self-sustaining if not self-sufficient.

HM4: 10 April, 1993, Address to 7th SAARC Summit, Dhaka

In Bhutan, we have been fortunate that a combination of small population and a traditional reverence for nature has delivered us into the last decade of the twentieth century with our environment still largely intact. 64% of our country’s land area is under forest cover. Bhutan believes very strongly in the concept of sustainable development and is fully committed to striking a harmonious balance between the environment and development….. We hold the view that environment conservation should extend across national boundaries….[this] will have far-reaching consequences for our future generations.

HM4: 1993: Message: silver jubilee celebrations of Sherubtse College

The greatness of a country is determined by its people. The productiveness and character of the people is in turn determined by the quality of education they receive…. The destiny of our country likes in the hands of our younger generation.

HM4: 12 May, 1997: Address to 9th SAARC Summit, Male, Maldives

 In Bhutan, sustainable development is one of our most important national policies, and we are fully committed to maintaining the existing forest cover of 72 percent of our land.

 HM4: 2 June, 1999: Address during Silver Jubilee celebration of the Enthronement of the 4th Druk Gyalpo

I have always pointed out that the future of our country, whether it is lifted high or brought down, lies in the hands of our younger generation. Your actions will determine the future of our nation and we place our complete faith and hope in you to fulfill our dreams and aspirations for our country. It is because of this that all of us are inspired to work hard today so that we can prepare our youth of Bhutan to shoulder this great responsibility, which lies ahead of us.

….I would like to remind our youth that television and Internet provide a whole range of possibilities, which can be both beneficial as well as negative for the individual and the society. I trust that you will exercise your good sense and judgment in using the Internet and television. It is my sincere hope that the introduction of television and Internet in Bhutan will be beneficial to our people and country.

Bhutan is a Buddhist country that has been enriched by the teachings of Lord Buddha and blessed as a hidden paradise by Guru Rinpoche.

HM4: 17 Dec. 2000: Address to the Nation, National Day, Trashigang

[I]t is very important for our people to participate more actively in the implementation of development programmes. This will reduce our dependence on the large numbers of outside workers in the country and ensure that the money spent for development works and projects is earned by our own people…. In effect, only one third of the money spent on the Eight Plan will remain inside our country….

One of the serious problems we are facing today as a result of the rapid socio-economic development taking place in our country is the increasing trend in rural-urban migration. If all the people migrating to urban areas are able to get good jobs and earn a good livelihood we should all be happy. However, people migrating to urban areas are not able to find suitable employment and even then they refuse to return to their villages. If we do not make any effort to change this trend of large numbers of our villagers leaving to seek employment in urban centres, there is every possibility that, within the next twenty years, most of our villages will become empty and even our ancestral homes and farms will be abandoned.

One of the most important steps that must be taken to encourage our people to remain in their villages is to make farming profitable and to increase the income of our farmers. It is also important to provide our farmers with the same service facilities that are enjoyed by people in urban centres such as telephone links, roads and electricity. As most of our villagers live far away from urban centres, it is also important to develop satellite towns to boost economic activities in the rural areas.

….[W]e still have more than 218,000 acres under tseri farming by people who are dependent on shifting agriculture. In this day and age, how can we expect our people to progress and prosper if they have to depend on this unproductive method of farming? Therefore, it is important for the government to grant kidu land to our people who have little or no land holdings and are dependent on shifting cultivations.

…As Bhutan is a small country with a small population we must never allow ourselves to reach a situation where we are unable to provide employment to our people.

HM4: 17 Dec. 2001. Address to the Nation, National Day, Wangduephodrang

…[T]he most important measure of a nation’s strength and well-being is the ability to stand on its own feet by achieving economic self-reliance.

HM4: 17 Dec. 2002. Address to the Nation. National Day. Samtse

After exhorting our youth in the schools to study hard and serve the country well when they grow up, it would all be pointless if we cannot provide them with good jobs…. Every effort must be made to ensure that the Bhutanese people will always be able to find gainful employment.

…In order to ensure the success of development activities in the rural areas,it is necessary for the government to ensure that kidu land is allotted to people who have insufficient land and to those who are dependent on shifting cultivation….

In many parts of the world today millions of people are facing serious problems and hardship from disease, famine, and war. In Bhutan, we are fortunate to be able to enjoy the benefits of peace, stability, and progress. We must never take such blessings and good fortune for granted.

HM4: 17 Dec. 2004. Address to the Nation. National Day. Mongar

[U]nder the policy of greater decentralization and empowerment of the people…the success of development programmes will now be determined by the decisions taken by the people and the quality of their participation in implementing them. I have every confidence that our people will shoulder their responsibility well…to ensure the progress and development of the dzongkhags, especially in the rural sector….

In the world today, it is an important measure of a nation’s status as a sovereign, independent country to remove the need for aid assistance and achieve economic self-reliance. Therefore, we must make every effort to fulfill this important national objective.

National Day, 17 Dec. 2005:

The level of economic self-reliance achieved by a nation is one of the important measures of its status in the world as a sovereign, independent country. Achieving economic self-reliance and being able to stand on our own feet is a very important national objective that we have always strived to attain for Bhutan….

I would like our people to know that the first national election to elect a government under a system of parliamentary democracy will take place in 2008. I would also like our people to know that the Chhoetse Penlop will be enthroned as the Fifth Druk Gyalpo in 2008. As it is necessary and important for a King to gain as much experience as possible to serve his country to his fullest capacity, I will be delegating my responsibilities to the Chhoetse Penlop before 2008. 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 shining 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.