Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

A piece of heaven


There was a King who had four queens, many princes and princesses. He ruled a kingdom that was nestled amid green hills and forests of unearthly beauty and splendour. The King was very kind and generous towards the people.
One fine day the King decided to abdicate his throne and bring in a young blood to take run the kingdom. He made his eldest son the King.
The people of the kingdom were very happy under the King’s rule and they loved and respected him. The King decided that it was high time the people should elect a ruler. His Majesty travelled for five years to each and every nook and corner of his kingdom in order to make his people mentally prepared to have someone, other than him and his dynasty, as their ruler.
Sounds like a bedtime story or one of those good old grandma’s tales that we have heard in our childhood. Several such stories that we have heard of at one point of time in our life. In fact, our history is replete with such kind of stories, there have been several dynasties and rulers who have ruled throughout the history in lands far and near. The symbols of their regal past have found a place in our modern day museums and the palaces that still survive.
But what I am alluding to here is not just history. It is a real place I happened to visit last week. A mountain kingdom is set amid splendid green hills of amazing beauty and peace. The people are simple, honest and proud of their culture and customs. From the king to the commoner, everyone wears the same costume.
This mountain kingdom still remains largely untouched by crime and pollution and other things that rile our modern world. I couldn’t help wondering if it was so because only a single airliner links this kingdom with the outer world and the ubiquitous television and the internet was allowed only in 1999.
The King, who was concerned with the well being of his subjects and their happiness, introduced a new concept to the world called GNH or “gross national happiness” in 1972 and later a sophisticated survey instrument to measure the population's general well-being and happiness was developed. All proposed policies in the Kingdom have to pass this GNH review quite on the lines of our environmental impact.
I was at the cultural social Centre which was founded by the senior Queen Mother herself for nurturing the villages and the society. Leading authors and celebs and members of the Royal family mingled to celebrate four days of literary festival. 
This centre founded by the Queen Mother has numerous programmes to improve the lives or thehappiness quotientof the people, especially in the rural areas.
I said good bye to this Kingdom on Friday morning with the promise to be back soon for sure. So many locations in this Kingdom you just stand and hear the voice of silence. It so easy to differentiate the noise of the winds, forests and the mountain over there.
At the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival
For the benefit of all those who are still trying to guess where this piece of heaven is located on earthI was in Bhutan for the third edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival. I think it is a must-visit country and that also just about 75 minutes by air from the City of Joy.
ess bee

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