The world’s third hottest head of state, Bhutan’s Dragon King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, turned 30 today. Thousands of farmers, students, and civil servants joined the celebration. Government offices and schools are closed for three days from today. On the eve of his birthday, the oxford-educated king, spent a night at the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on a cliff, praying for the wellbeing of his subjects.
This tiny kingdom nestled between India and China became a parliamentary democracy after 100 years of monarchy in 2008. But the king is the unifying force that keeps the nation together. After his official coronation in November 2008, King Jigme Khesar has been to the remotest pockets of this country on foot, sharing simple food with his subjects, and participating in traditional games with them. One of the most fulfilling moments in my career was being able to write about the ‘People’s King’ for the Times of India, on His Majesty’s first official visit to a country after his coronation.
“Throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children,” he told in his coronation address. His other speeches, all inspiring, can be read at his detailed Facebook fan page.
Happy Birthday Your Majesty.