What would a 21st century Bhutanese identity be?

    Spring Edition , Our inheritance Bhutan’s journey from the 20th into the 21st century is one that the Bhutanese take great pride in. Our Fourth Druk Gyalpo regarded as a wise, skillful and compassionate leader worked tirelessly to build on the foundations laid by His predecessors, leading the country to where it...

    Bhutan as recognised by history

    Spring Edition , Is there such a thing as a Bhutanese “national identity?” If so, how can it be defined, and how did it arise? Of related interest is the question of governance. Over the past thousand years or so, Bhutan has passed through several distinct phases of political organisation, the latest...

    The cultural construction of Bhutan: an unfinished story

    Spring Edition , Our future sovereignty as a nation-state will continue to depend upon the articulation of a cultural imperative that asserts our distinctive Bhutanese identity.* Most Bhutanese would be familiar with the postulation that Bhutan’s survival as an independent nation rests on its unique cultural identity. That, in the absence of...

    Language and identity in Bhutan

    Spring Edition , In 1812, the famous linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt wrote that the difference between nations is most clearly manifest in their languages. In 1856, August Pott wrote that language is the key trait defining nationhood. In 1987, Emil Cioran wrote that we do not really reside in a country, but...

    Beyond cultural preservation: contemporary art and identity in Bhutan

    Spring Edition , “While a few may have succeeded to integrate the two seamlessly, thus having the best of both worlds, most modern Bhutanese are in a cultural limbo, having relinquished the old but not fully reached the new.” – The History of Bhutan, Karma Phuntsho Is it possible to be modern...

    Manufacturing Singapore

    Spring Edition , At Singapore’s Changi international airport, a tourist from Delhi gets into a local yellow taxi for a ride into one of the city’s many luxurious hotels. Eager to learn more about the island nation known as a marvel of economic success, the visitor strikes up a conversation with the...

    What does it mean to be an Indian?

    Spring Edition , “Ind” or “Sindh-stan” was a Greek and Persian construct referring to the river Indus as a territorial marker. Historians tell us that it was only after the late 14th century that residents of India began to refer to India as Hindustan. This essentially historical and geographical determination has been...

    Nationalism in a new republic

    Spring Edition , “A yam between two stones” is how Nepal’s founding monarch, Prithvi Narayan Shah, described the unified kingdom he forged out of dozens of feuding Himalayan principalities in the 18th century. Even back then, it was evident to the king that his new nation had to contend with the geopolitical...

    Being a Bhutanese means being a GNH citizen

    Spring Edition , There is a totally different level of pride, perhaps the best kind, that I feel when I call myself Bhutanese. It is a beautiful feeling one gets when one thinks about the best thing in life. It makes us feel most fortunate. Hence, it will not be easy for...

    What it means to be Bhutanese

    Spring Edition , “We Bhutanese are an endangered species,” my friend, the former Gelephu National Council Member, is fond of saying. He means that partly in jest. But, in many ways, I find that to be true indeed. In an increasingly complex world, vexed by major economic disruptions, a deteriorating  environment,  an...

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