63rd birth anniversary of The Fourth King to be celebrated today
To mark the 63rd birth anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth King Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutanese across the country celebrates the occassion for His Majesty’s continued happiness, long life and good health, today.
Coinciding with the Fourth King’s birth anniversary, the day is also celebrated as Constitution Day, Gross National Happiness (GNH) Day and Children’s Day. The occassion in every Dzongkhags will see various cultural programs and events particiapted by people from all walks of life.
To celebrate the GNH day, the GNH centre will hold a daylong international cultural festival themed “Expression of Happiness” at the Centenary Park, Thimphu. There will be stalls related to health and wellbeing such as meditation, yoga, pranic healing and traditional medicine.
The impressive philosophy, “GNH” was first coined by The Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 when he declared, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
His Majesty envisaged on democratic system of the country where constitution must ensure political system to provide peace and stability, and also strengthen and safeguard Bhutan’s security and sovereignty. The constitution was adopted by the first democratically elected parliament on July 18, 2008.
His Majesty The Fourth King is known as the Great Fourth and Her Majesty The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo also coined the phrase “Jewel of Men” to address His Majesty The Fourth King.
His Majesty The Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was born at Dechencholing Palace on November 11, 1955 as foretold by Terton Drukdra Dorji. His Majesty was born to Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck and His Majesty The Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. As pleased by the birth of the His Majesty The Fourth King, the Third King even composed a song to commemorate his birth.
His Majesty The Fourth King’s education started at the age of six at Dechencholing Palace in 1961. Then, he went to study in St. Joseph’s Darjeling. As crown prince in 1964, he attended Summerfield and Heathersdown Schools in England where he completed his studies in 1969. His formal education took place in Namselling Palaces in 1969 and at Ugyen Wangchuck Academy, Paro.
In 1971, His Majesty was appointed as the Chariman of Planning Commission, responsible with planning and coordination of the Five Year Plan. In June 16, 1972 he was appointed the state position of Trongsa Penlop. The same year His Majesty lost his father at an early age of 16.
During His Majesty The Fourth King’s reign, we saw massive enrollments of students in schools, amazing improvement in the health sector, sparse networks of roads and telecommunications.
His Majesty stressed the need “to attain selfreliance and preserve Bhutan’s sovereignty and independence,” in his coronation address on June 2, 1974. His Majesty also stressed that development undertakings should be a genuine collaboration between the people and the government.
For the larger vision of food self-sufficiency and income generation His Majesty launched the “Valley Projects” in Trashigang and Tsirang. Thus, the projects mobilised epople to contribute labour to build irrigation channels, schools, dispensaries and roads. Since then, such similar agriculture achievements was also carried out in other rural parts of the country.
His Majesty The Fourth King also granted land to the landless. The first was the Sershong Resettlemtn Project, consisting of Sershong, Pemaling, Norbuling and Tashiphu for 270 families who were relocated from Zhemgang and Trongsa Dzongkhags to Gelephu. Similarly, 56 families from Lhuentse and Mongar were resettled at Gyelposhing in 1976. The following year, in 1977, HM granted lands to another 200 landless people from Lhuentse.
His Majesty has a different planning for the 5th Five Year Plan (1981-86) by decentralisation. He appointed Dzongdags in all 18 Dzongkhags with managing public finances and coordination district development plans.
In 3rd and 4th Five Year Plans (1972-1981), there were major milestones in industrial and hydropower projects.His Majesty introduced an unconventional tourism policy of “high value, low volume.” Chukha hydro-power projects construction was completed in October 21, 1988. It changed the revenue situation and financial capacity of the country. The Penden Cement Authority started producing cement by 1983 after four year of it’s construction.
Between 1980 and 1990, His Majesty established diplomatic relations with 17 countries and 12 organisations of the United Nations family. In 1979, United Nation development Program office was set up in Thimphu. Bhutan became a member of the International Bank of Reconstruction, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Development Association in 1981. In the same year, Bhutan became a member of the World Bank.
His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo