Teachers, institutions, present and former Indian Ambassadors to Bhutan were among those that His Majesty the King bestowed honours upon at the 105th National Day celebrations yesterday in Thimphu.
Awards were also bestowed for lifetime service, promotion of Indo-Bhutan friendship and exemplary service in front of a packed crowd that had gathered at the Changlimithang national stadium to be part of the celebrations.
The award ceremony culminated with His Majesty conferring the bura maap (red scarf) to hydropower and power systems director general Dasho Yeshi Wangdi and Punatsangchhu hydropower project joint managing director Dasho Phuntsho Norbu for their dedicated service in the power sector.
His Majesty also awarded the bura maap to the National Council deputy chairperson Dasho (Dr) Sonam Kinga and National Council eminent member Dasho Karma Y Raydi.
A total of 112 teachers were awarded the National Order of Merit (Gold) for exemplary service in education, which has seen the greatest success in the past six decades His Majesty said. Fritz Maurer of Bumthang, a private citizen, was also awarded the same.
The National Order of Merit (Gold) was also awarded to PHPC finance director VK Chouvey, for exemplary service and to consul general of Bhutan in Kolkota Dasho Tshering Wangda and a prominent businessman in Gelephu, Gyaltshen Dukpa for their personal commitment to Indo-Bhutan friendship.
His Majesty awarded the Druk Thuksey to PHPC MD Rajinder Nath Khazanchi, Ambassador Pavan K Varma and former Ambassadors Salman Haidar (1980-83) Dalip Mehta (1995-98).
Guup Gado Tshering and Guup S Wangchuk, were also awarded the Druk Thuksey for their lifetime service as changkaps to the fourth Druk Gyalpo.
Druk Thuksey as institutional awards were conferred to Royal Audit Authority and to members of the first Parliament of Bhutan for laying the foundations.
His Majesty announced the creation of service awards for civil servants in appreciation of the contribution of every civil servant.
“The term of a King is limited by age and that of the elected government by tenure and people’s desire – but bureaucracy remains ever constant and dependable,” His Majesty said. “Thus, in order to fulfill our national aspirations and to handover a stronger and better nation to our children, as King, I rely on our people and even more, on the bureaucracy.”
In his address to the nation before the award ceremony, His Majesty said much work lay ahead and as immense responsibilities as 2013 approached. “Yet with capable and dedicated citizens who have great love for our country…. I have great confidence that we shall achieve our goals,” His Majesty said. “Our people of Bhutan are unique. We have a sense of family, community and brotherhood that inspires us to come together in times of need.”
His Majesty reminded the nation that the most important duty for its citizen was the upcoming 2013 Parliament elections.
“I would like to say that we – all of us – are new to this democratic transition,” His Majesty said. “We have all equally acquired four and a half years of experience in democracy. Experience comes with participation, so I urge you all to come forward as candidates, members of parties and voters for 2013.”
But His Majesty pointed out that democracy was not the goal. The real fruits, he said should be that democracy brings greater unity, harmony and prosperity and fulfills the aspirations of Bhutanese people.
The celebrations included performances by various communities, games, and sumo-wrestling.
For the first time, a men’s and women’s contingent from the DeSuung joined the traditional Royal Bhutan Police, Royal Bhutan Army, and Royal Body Guards contingents in the Armed Forces Parade to perform the National Day Parade at the stadium.
By Rinzin Wangchuk