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…For Sustainable Bhutan

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Archive for September, 2008

Glimpses into (almost) forgotten lives

September 28, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Gross National Happiness, Rural Development, Tourism & Bhutan

Source: Kuensel
By Kencho Wangdi

One out of four Bhutanese live in poverty. While covering the elections, Kuensel’s chief reporter came across some of them.

Living off the land: A life of relentless toil

Sangay, 57, didn’t have to hear the thunder – he could see a gray mass of clouds stalking the western horizon. He eyed the clouds in the way all farmers do. Too much rain would ruin his maize seedlings, too little would parch and stunt them.

Sangay is a resident of Pangthang, a hamlet at the bottom of one of Pemagatshel’s perpendicular ridges. It’s a six-hour walk from a road at the hilltop. I was in Pangthang to gauge the political leanings of the inhabitants after a party leader had campaigned there a day or two ago. But, on that day, politics was the last thing on Sangay’s mind. He was clearing an area of weeds and the sudden change of colour in the sky had hastened his pace. (more…)

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Impact of the Urban Drift

September 28, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Gross National Happiness, Rural Development

Source: Kuensel
By Kesang Dema

An empty house in Bidung

Mention rural urban migration and images of village bumpkins leaving the countryside in droves for a life in the big city comes to mind.

That has not quite been the case in Bhutan. If people left the villages it was usually after completing education and landing a job in place other than their own village.

It probably started in late 60s when the government, extremely short of human resources, employed anyone who had some years of schooling. These people started a new life in a new place.

Villagers that left the countryside for a life in the city were those taken by city relatives as domestic help or to look after orchards beyond the municipal boundaries or for schooling. Some had left to live with their children working for the government or in the private sector. (more…)

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Why a strong economy matters

September 26, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: Gross National Happiness, News, Rural Development, Tourism & Bhutan


By Passang Dorji

Sept 24, 2008-Thimphu: When Bhutan adopted Gross National Happiness as its development philosophy, it had thrown down the gauntlet at itself.


And today the challenge is staring straight and square at the country’s soul.

With the economy yet to gain strength and stabilize at a self-assuring digit, Bhutan’s immediate challenge, some economists say, is to remain unscathed by the inevitable forces of the global trade integration. 

But, to do so Bhutan must strengthen its economy – a Catch-22, for the time being. The test doesn’t end here, either. There is a weightier challenge, because Gross National Happiness demands more than a tangible economic development. (more…)

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The Monpas of Trongsa are Monpas no more

September 26, 2008 By: Bridge to Bhutan Category: News, Rural Development, Tourism & Bhutan

Distinct old ways are vanishing with the pace of progress

By Tashi Dema

INDISTINGUISHABLE – Except for language, their culture and tradition have succumbed to modernisation

26 September, 2008 – Cool clouds drift over the Wangling village in Trongsa dzongkhag bringing the inhabitants respite from the searing afternoon sun.

Lhakpa, 15, in faded jeans and black half-sleeve shirt, is on the ground near a old hut. He is in pain. While chipping at tree barks his knife fell and cut his ankle.

Lhakpa picks up a piece of cloth lying in front of the hut and wraps it over his wound. His single mother asks him to go to the basic health unit in Jangbi, located at about a two-hour walk from their village. She speaks to him in their local dialect – Monkha. But Lhakpa does not want to go anywhere. He has to attend his non-formal education class in the evening. (more…)

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Bhutan goes Bollywood

September 23, 2008 By: Category: News

Source: India Today
By Saurabh Shukla

The coronation of Bhutan’s new King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk next month will feature a surprisingly varied cast from India.

jigme Kheser Namgyel Wangchuck

King Jigme Kheser Namgyel Wangchuck

Led by chief guest President Pratibha Patil, a power-packed delegation comprising not merely top political honchos but also Shah Rukh Khan will travel to Thimpu. The Indian delegation will manage a double act of cementing ties with Bhutan and entertaining the new king.

The crowning of Wangchuk, 29, who is world’s youngest king, will be a special affair with lots of colour and fanfare. While UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi is a special invitee, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is also expected to be there along with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. (more…)

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