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A Brief History of Rigsum Goenpo Lhakhang and Chorten Kora in Trashi Yangtse
Lam Kezang Chhophel
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2002,
Abstract:
Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye and the Founding of Taktshang Lhakhang
John A. Ardussi
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 1999,
Abstract: It is an honour to have been invited to submit an article for the inaugural issue of the Journal of Bhutan Studies. I am certain that the Centre for Bhutan Studies will take its place next to the National Library and the National Museum, as an institution with a distinctive and important role to play in the exploration and documentation of Bhutanese history and culture.As a small contribution for this occasion, I would like to offer a translation of that portion of the biography of the 4th Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye (1638 - 96) which describes his visit to the sacred cave of Taktsang Pelphug during the Tshechu season of 1692, and his founding there of the temple devoted to Padma Sambhava known as Gu-ru mTshan-brgyad Lhakhang – ‘The Temple of the Guru with Eight Names.’ It is this elegant structure, situated high on the cliffs above the upper Paro valley, that has become the most universally recognized cultural icon of Bhutan. May its restoration be swift andsuccessful!I hope that those readers able to consult the original text will indulge any errors in the translation1. There are still uncertainties in identifying place names, and several ambiguities in the text itself. However, in order not to overly disturb the story’s flow, I have limited footnotes to the necessary minimum, and have adopted the modern spelling of familiar names. As this is only part of a larger project to translate the entire biography, suggestions or criticisms will be most welcome.
Publications in Bhutan since the Establishment of the ISBN Agency
Sonam Kinga
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2001,
Abstract: There has been a direct co-relationship between the printing industry and volume of publication in the country. Printing is not a new art. Traditional xylographic printing has been in existence for hundred of years in dzong and lhakhang. There, indigenous printing presses were established. Some of them still exist today. The National Library has a mini xylographic printing press and has about 10,000 wooden blocks covering about 20 religious texts. The construction of dzong in the 17th century and introduction of monastic syllabus across the country promoted the writings and publications of religious texts.The publishing industry in Bhutan has been gradually expanding and increasing their output over the last few years. The number of printers has shot up from just one in 1983 to about 65 as of June 2000 although 64% of them are concentrated in Thimphu. The approximate total output in the last ten years has been just over 600 publications (excluding school text books). However, the rate of output has increased every year. Many printing and publishing housesare being established. But there has been no agency in Bhutan to co-ordinate and standardize use of identifying numbers for various publications. The need to streamline system of identification for publications along international standard has been long felt.
The Monetisation of Bhutan
Nicholas Rhodes
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2000,
Abstract: The objective of this paper is to describe how Bhutanese society hasbecome monetised over the years, at first very slowly, but rapidlyduring the last half century. I will briefly comment on the effect that monetisation has had on Bhutanese Society, and the potential conflict that exists between traditional values in Bhutan, which are largely non-monetary based, and so-called “modern” values, which are almost entirely money oriented.Since the idea of coinage was first developed in Asia Minor aroundthe year 600 B.C., money has played an increasingly important role inevery “developed” country and society in the world. In many ways,monetisation has become a necessary accompaniment, not only toeconomic modernisation and development, but also to thedemocratisation of political processes. Money gives a personeconomic freedom of choice, and the ability to make a living withoutdepending on the goodwill and patronage of his political lord andmaster. However, lack of money in a monetised society, can be agreater hardship, because it can be accompanied by feelings that theindividual concerned has mismanaged his finances. In a nonmonetisedsociety, on the other hand, poverty can usually be blamed on outside forces, such as famine, drought, war or political mismanagement.Bhutan has been a very latecomer to the concept of money. It is only in the second half of the 20th century that currency has started to play a significant role in the fiscal policy of the state and in the wider economy. Bhutan provides an interesting subject for research into the social, political and economic effects of monetisation as the country continues its development process.
Coinage in Bhutan
Nicholas Rhodes
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 1999,
Abstract: In Thimphu, and elsewhere in Western Bhutan, it is still possible to find many examples of the old copper coins, known as Matam, Chetam and Zangtam. Old silver coins can also be found, although less frequently. Very little, however, has been written about the background to these coins - whomade them, where and when, and how they were used. The purpose of this article is to set out what I know about these old Bhutanese coins, not only to present the information more widely, but also in the hope that there will be people in Bhutan who will be encouraged to provide additional evidence from oral tradition, written records, or from any othersources. Elderly people may still be alive who remember such coins being struck, but unless their memories are recorded soon, the information will be lost forever.Before the 1950's, there were no urban communities in Bhutan, and coins only played a small part in the economy of the country, serving mainly as a store of value, and as ceremonial gifts or donations. Silver coins, usually foreign coins, also served as the raw material from which jewellery and “pan” boxes were made. Day to day life mainly involved subsistence farming, supplemented by barter. Taxes were paid either in kind or in services, and land rent was paid as a share of the produce, again in kind.Some insight into how coins were used in the old days can be obtained from Karma Ura's books, 'The Hero with a Thousand Eyes' and 'The Ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi.' For example, Pemi Tshewang Tashi gave a silver coin, called norzangphubchen, to Aum Jayshing Jaymo as a thank you for the hospitality given1. Then in 1944, Dasho Shingkar Lam offered a silver coin to His Majesty, when he was firstregistered as a tozep, and noted that previously the customary gift on such an occasion had been three copper coins2. In 1947, when the King was travelling to Ha, at several points villagers greeted His Majesty with the customary gift of a basket of rice with three hard-boiled eggs, and they received a coin in exchange. Only in 1952 weremoves taken to increase the role of money in general, and coins in particular, when senior courtiers and secretaries began to be paid in cash, rather than in kind.
Youth unemployment in Bhutan  [cached]
Tashi Dorji
Sherub Doeme : The Research Journal of Sherubtse College , 2012,
Abstract: The paper attempts to study demographic and socio-economic characteristics associated with unemployed youth in Bhutan using Population and Housing Census of Bhutan, 2005. The study employed univariate and bivariate analysis techniques to achieve the objectives of the study. The study demonstrate that single female youth with university schooling residing in urban areas are more likely to be unemployed compared to their counterparts. The youth in western region is most disadvantaged in labour market compared to eastern and central region which have almost same unemployment rate. The study provides impetus for policy makers and recommend further in-depth analysis of unemployment among youths.
SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN BHUTAN
Tandin Dorji
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2001,
Abstract: Bhutan's tourism industry began in 1974. It was introduced with theprimary objective of generating revenue, especially foreign exchange;publicising the country's unique culture and traditions to the outside world, and to contribute to the country's socio-economic development1. Since then the number of tourists visiting Bhutan has increased from just 287 in 1974 to over 2,850 in 1992 and over 7,000 in 1999.By the late 1980's tourism contributed over US$2 million in revenues to the royal government. In 1989, the royal government raised the tourist tariff. That year only 1,480 tourists visited Bhutan but the government still earned US$1.95 million through tourism. By 1992 tourist revenues contributed as much as US$3.3 million and accounted for as much as 15-20% of the total of Bhutan's exported goods and services.The royal government has always been aware that an unrestricted flow of tourists can have negative impacts on Bhutan's pristine environment and its rich and unique culture. The government, therefore, adopted a policy of "high value-low volume" tourism, controlling the type and quantity of tourism right from the start. Until 1991 the Bhutan Tourism Corporation (BTC), a quasi-autonomous and self-financing body, implemented the government's tourism policy. All tourists, up to that time came as guests of BTC, which in turn operated the tour organisation, transport services and nearly all the hotels and accommodation facilities. The government privatised tourism in October 1991 to encourage increased private sector participation in the tourism sector. Today there are more than 75 licensed tour operators in the country.
Types of Land Degradation in Bhutan
Chencho Norbu et al
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2003,
Abstract: There is a growing global awareness that land degradation isas much a threat to environmental well–being as moreobvious forms of damage, such as air and water pollution (e.g.Greenland & Szalbocs, 1994; Conacher, 2001). Although thesource of land degradation is usually local, its effects oftenstretch for considerable distances from the source site. It canimpact large areas and many people. Governments, NGO’sand community groups therefore have the right and duty tobe concerned, and to intervene and assist where needed.Because of its topography and altitude, Bhutan hasinherently limited resources of productive land. Moreover,the predominantly steep slopes put these resources atparticular risk from some forms of degradation. Landdegradation is therefore an even more serious threat inBhutan than in most places. This is recognised in policy,vision, and review documents, such as the Biodiversity ActionPlan (MOA, 1998), the National Environment Strategy (NEC,1998), and Bhutan 2020.
International Politics of Bhutan
Karma Galay
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2004,
Abstract: This paper discusses the extent to which internationalrelations theories, which are mainly based on the behaviorand interest of the big powers, explain the internationalbehavior of small states. In order to do so, four differenttheories that are most commonly used to explain theinternational behavior of small states are reviewed briefly.Bhutan’s international affairs, emphasizing on its relationswith India is described and explanations provided using thesetheories. These theories predict that other small states wouldbehave in a similar manner. To test this, Bhutan’s relationwith India is compared with the relation between Nepal andIndia. Nepal’s relations with India differ from that ofBhutan’s. This difference is empirically supported by theirvoting behavior in the United Nations. The exiting theories failto explain different relations of two similar states vis-à-vis abig neighbour. Some alternative explanations have beenprovided. The paper concludes by emphasizing that noexisting international relations theories explain the behaviorof small states. More studies incorporating cultural, politicaland social characteristics and involving foreign policy expertsof small states are suggested.
The Politics of Bhutan: Change in Continuity
Thierry Mathou
Journal of Bhutan Studies , 2000,
Abstract: Although there is a certain degree of incompatibility between theWestern-derived rhetoric relating to politicisation and Bhutanesepractice, since the former may be irrelevant to the latter, challenges resulting from the politicisation process in Bhutan can be compared to what happened in all developing societies. As all traditional states, Bhutan has gone through two different stages in the modernisation of its polity. From the establishment of the monarchy in 1907 to the 1960's, the first challenge had been to "concentrate power necessary to produce changes in a weakly articulated and organised traditional society and economy". The second stage that consists in expanding "the power in the system to assimilate the newly mobilised and politically participant groups, in order to create a modern system", is still underway. Huntington's conclusion that such a process was necessarily fatal to any monarchical system lacking the western European political-cultural background has not yet been verified in Bhutan. On the contrary, the Bhutanese monarchy has been the main agent of modernisation. Since it opened to the outside world, in the early 1960s, the kingdom has adopted a unique path toward development. Promoting a distinctive approach to institutions building (polity) and governance orientations (policies), which is consistent both with tradition and modernity, has been essential to its survival.The present paper is a tentative presentation of the normativearchitecture of the current Bhutanese polity. It identifies a hierarchy of principles and patterns, which have guided simultaneously the preservation of the traditional system and its adaptation to modern constraints. The main challenges are also described in order to assess the viability of the monarchy as the principal agent of change.
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