63rd birth an­niver­sary of The Fourth King to be cel­e­brated to­day

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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

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