Nawabzada Saad bin Jung

It’s with pleasure that I join Mountain Echoes’ and the people of Bhutan in celebrating the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

Having read of the wondrous people, their wilderness and the amazing Mahseer angling, I had always wanted to visit Bhutan but the country remained shrouded in an enigmatic cloud, a shield that appeared impossible to pierce. That’s when I was invited by Mita Kapur to the Bhutan Literary Festival hosted by the royal family.

Bhutan that elusive, mystical and for most Indians, a mythical monarchy has stood rock solid through the years as a proud and loyal sentinel, unconquered and alone, joyous and enigmatic in its very existence, upholding and embracing the very fundamental of life; happiness. And, when I was given the privilege of visiting the country with the Mountain Echoes team, I was euphoric.

We flew over the Himalayan range and approached Paro in a frightening array of twists and turns flying past mountains kissing our wing tips. We landed at the tranquil airport, cleared customs and stepped into a world unknown to most of humanity. Whilst the star writers, megalomaniacs in their own right, scrambled for their cars, we headed for our bus. And how lucky my wife Sangeeta and I were that we took the van. The incredible bonhomie amongst the ’hum-safars’ has remained till date.

The next few days we spent with the people of Bhutan, we got nothing but love, affection, more than anyone would ever want. We did our bit for the lit-fest and dined with royalty. That’s when I realised that never has a ruler been so approachable and down to earth, so fair and just yet selfless and progressive as the King of Bhutan. Never before have subjects been in such reverence of their country, so ecstatic as a united people gathered in the warm embrace of a just and fair governance. Never has a country been so delicately placed between two super powers yet managed to remain independent from their threats through the years and so successfully shunned the perverse invading influences. Never has a Monarch, in the history of the world, ever handed over his country to Democracy and forced his subjects to rule for themselves, rule over him and all that was once his.

Whilst at Thimpu, I visited the many monasteries and drank sweet water from the penis spouts carved out of granite. I interacted with the people and was amazed to note that never have a people prioritise happiness over heedless commercialisations and further never has a country valued the earth that the rest of the world seems intent on destroying.

Bhutan truly is a gem of age-old traditions entwined with progress, a country unafraid to retain its culture whilst at all times working towards unified happiness for all her people.

Bina istida’a, bay gharzanah, bay lawas – unhon nay day diya apna jahan humen

Us ka shukriya kaisaya ada karen – Laakhon hamen diye hein khubsurat Lamhen

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