Thursday, January 8, 2009

Centenary Year and Mahakali

This is my first post on my personal blog and obviously I will dedicate this piece to the Coronation and Centenary Celebrations that just happened in the Kingdom of Bhutan. We are in January 2009. The Centenary Year (for Bhutan) has just slided away. But for me and my two friends (Tshegyel and Rigden) and of course Kinga Sithup, Tandin Dorji, Pema Rinzin and Thukten Yeshi and all the CICCC people, we can look back to the Year with great pride and smile. For, we have left everything behind and have organised the greatest non-stop show Bhutan had ever seen. 56 days of music, laughter, trade fairs, events and entertainment honouring our great Kings - of past and of present.

People often asked me, and some of my critics even doubted, why we three came up with this massive celebration plan out of nowhere. For me it was to give back to the society (and to the kings) something in return for everything I have received as a citizen. I come from a poor family. I had neither rich aunties to push me nor powerful uncles to pull me up. If I have achieved something in life, it is thanks solely to my parents who brought me into this world and to the Monarchy who paved the way for citizens like us to achieve something in life.

Like many Bhutanese I have often cited how much I love, adore and respect my kings. But talking alone is not enough. Sometimes you got to prove in deeds. The centenary year gave us a perfect occasion to put our words into action. I really don't care what others say. I have done what I had to do as a loyal subject of this small great nation ruled by great kings. In December of 1907, my great grandfather accompanied the Tashigang Dzongpon (governor) to Punakha where the famous Oath of Allegiance was signed proclaiming Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck as the first king of Bhutan. If for nobody, at least, I know my great grandfather will be proud of what I have done hundred years later - during this centenary year. History will decide if what we have done was anything worthwhile. For now, after a marathon 56 days of celebration, I feel like a student who has just finished his exams and has come out with flying colours.

And of course I am under no illusion that I (or we three) did this alone. Had it not been for all those people who followed us into the project and others who supported us morally and financially, we wouldn't have achieve much. So to all of you who have stood by us, a big big thanks. Especially my assistants Kunzang Choden , Karma Chuki Dorji and Khandu and of course the inexhaustible Jayesh Bole. We have a huge financial loss though and we are working our way out of the mess. But in the worst of situation, we would have to service the debt for few years. But money will come and go. It is never enough anyway. But the Centenary Year is not coming back. And that's the point.

And since the going is great, I have just started building a temple in Adha Rukha in honour of Guardian Deity Palden Lhamo (Mahakali). My wife tells me I better do this to clear off all my sins. Whatever.......... guys...... But I thought life was little too boring without some excitements.


  1. The fruit of all the hard work by you and your like-minded friends was a remarkable sight to behold. Beyond the earth and the sky, I thank you!

    Oh, and YES!, GNH begins at home -- with every single one of us, going after happiness for ourselves, our family, our friends, our colleagues, our neighborhood ...

    I look forward to the future of your blog, from the other side of the Earth!

  2. Hello Meiko san,

    GNH? Guess what? For the folk festival we invited small indegenous communities and they were so happy that they danced around the fire all the time and made the "chief" and the only "guest". That's what I call GNH and I wrote a piece for BT on this issue.

    Greetings and thanks for being a friend of Bhutan and let me know if you are in town. I get recharged with the GNH energy when I hear you speak on the subject... honestly

  3. don't know if u remember. i wrote to you from Salzburg, Austria last year mentioning how i missed your columns. i read about ciccc but didn't know you initiated it. tashi delek. and honestly i really really get inspired by you. you walk the talk. i too am deeply thinking about putting the thoughts to action one day. thats when am back home. Am in New York rite now. i'll now keep reading your blog. and i have a blog too. i'll update it as and when i get time. its little personal. anyways i'd love to have comments. keep up the good work, mr. dorji

  4. Thanks for your flattering words, Pema. Of course I remember you. You were with Ugyen there – who is now back here in Bumthang.

    You know Pema, I am just doing what is expected of me. That is of course something missing in many of us. It is not that people don’t know what to do, it is just they don’t do what needs to be done. This is a small country and if inaction rules, we are in for a bleak future. On the other hand, even if you, just you, get into motion, you can do a lot, I tell you. So I am happy to know you have decided to be an action-oriented man.

    And when that day comes, just remember two things. First, don’t ever do anything expecting a reward or recognition. That will burn you out sooner than later. Second, don’t work for somebody. Work for yourself. Now, I am not saying “be selfish”. I am saying at the end of each task it should be “you” who is the happiest, proud and satisfied with yourself. You have to be honest with your conscience and be the best to judge. If you are happy with yourself, others will just follow.

    And never underestimate (or overestimate) yourself. Remember Gandhi single-handedly challenged the greatest empire of its time and led 400 million Indians to freedom. And our King single-handedly pushed out those war-seasoned militants!.

    Best of luck in whatever you do………..

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