On this historic day, when the nation is gathered as one, I offer, on behalf of the People and King, our love and gratitude to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, whose 34 years of service have brought about a strong, prosperous nation on the cusp of an even brighter future as a democracy.
With our heartfelt gratitude, I also offer our pledge to fulfill His Majesty’s vision for a nation founded on the philosophy of Gross National Happiness and the principles and ideals of Democracy.
My people, on this most auspicious day we are gathered together to celebrate, not the 100th anniversary of the enthronement of Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck, but 100 years of success and accomplishment, as a united people and nation.
From the time of Jigme Namgyel, to Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck, King Jigme Wangchuck, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck and then our King of destiny, our parent and guardian Jigme Singye Wangchuck – our Kings have worked selflessly in the interests of the people and nation. Our forefathers and parents, the People of Bhutan, offered their faith and loyalty and, in unity with the Kings, served the nation with great dedication.
It is through such profound efforts that Bhutan’s achievements have surpassed the limitations of our size and natural endowments. Our unique hopes and aspirations, reflected in our respect for the environment, our culture and traditions and the philosophy of GNH, culminating in the efforts of the King to build a strong democracy, are historic, not only for our small landlocked nation, but the world. We have much to be proud of.
Today, in the womb of a strong and peaceful monarchy, we have begun to nurture the hopes of a vibrant democracy. It is this endeavour that we must henceforth uphold as our greatest priority – the success of democracy. For in the success of democracy lies the consolidation of our nation’s achievements and the future happiness and well being of Bhutan.
To the Youth: When I speak of the future, I am speaking of you, our youth. I have always believed that a nation’s future is mirrored in the quality of her youth and that it is the government’s sacred duty to provide a good education and a conducive environment for you to become strong, capable leaders for the future.
Young citizens of Bhutan, I want you to remember that Bhutan’s success or failure will ultimately depend on the strength of your commitment – your willingness to embrace challenges and hard work. Unlike other countries, with our small population, it is not enough that a few of you excel – every single one of you must strive to be the best. This is the only way you can secure the future of our nation – through excellence.
To the Civil Service: In any nation, and especially in our history as a developing country, it is the government who must bear the larger responsibility for ensuring socio-economic growth and progress. In the 34 years of my father’s reign, you, the civil servants, have served the King and nation most ably. In the year since I assumed the sacred duties of King, it is your faith and support that has ensured the success of the work we have done.
I am grateful and proud of those who served in government in the past and you who do so today.
With the political transition in 2008, to your already important responsibilities will be added the profound duty of supporting the growth of a vibrant democracy. In this and in ensuring the success of our development activities and the achievement of the goals of Gross National Happiness, you will bear the largest responsibility.
All I can say to you is that in a small nation, society – whether it is the general public or the private sector – will always follow the bureaucracy’s example. Therefore, you must set higher goals and work harder than others. Your principles and actions must be a model of service to the people and country.
To those participating in politics: As our nation approaches its future as a democracy, I am heartened by the commitment shown by those of you, who left stable careers and jobs, in order to participate in a most important and historic undertaking. You are the people who will take Democracy’s first steps in our history. Therefore, you must, above all, hold the unity and peace of the nation as your utmost priority as you serve the people. It is your duty to set a clear, principled and noble path for politics and democracy in the future.
You are all experienced, well-qualified and committed citizens, and I have full confidence in your ability to bring about a successful beginning to a new era. As you answer the call of the nation and begin your service to the people, you will always have my complete support and understanding.
To the People: My dear people, the duty of a King is to safeguard, secure and strengthen the nation so that one day we will together, with pride and happiness, bequeath a special nation to our children.
For our generation, the sacred gift of democracy from His Majesty the Fourth King will be our shared and primary endeavour. If we do not succeed and our nation and people suffer, it will mean that I have failed in my duty as King. For, it is my duty to ensure the peace, prosperity and happiness of the nation – a duty that I value above even my own life. And, if such a time were to come, when the King has failed to secure the success of democracy and the ills of a failed democracy distress our people, I will not find it in my heart to remain King.
Yet, I must remind you that even from my early youth, I worked with complete dedication and never failed in my service to the King and People. As King, I will not fail in my duty to the Nation. You and I, the people of Bhutan will not fail in our efforts to build a stronger Bhutan.
My prayer on this special day is that the Dratshang and religious community; the armed forces and civil service; the business community and aspiring politicians and the people of the 20 dzongkhags will all unite as one family. That we will work as “One Nation, One Vision” towards achieving the goals of Gross National Happiness and building a vibrant democracy; so that the sun of peace and prosperity will continue to shine on our Nation – the Land of Buddha’s Teachings, blessed by the Guru Padmasambhava and our Guardian Deities and founded on the Vision and Legacy of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Jigme Singye Wangchuck.