Dasho Sonam Kinga, the former chairperson of National Council gave an intriguing talk on “Perspectives on Bhutanese monarchy: Regional and global; historical and contemporary” to the students and faculty of Samtse College of Education on 2 December 2020. The College Management has invited Dasho as a guest speaker to talk to the faculty, staff and students on this subject to understand the uniqueness of the Bhutanese Monarchy – the last surviving Buddhist Monarchy in the Himalayan region. The unique characteristics of the Bhutanese Monarchy and its understanding was made clear to the audience through a presentation style that looked at the Bhutanese Monarchy in comparison to other surviving monarchies round the world and the republics. Dasho said that of about 206 countries in the world today, there are only 44 monarchies of which 15 are under the Queen of England and 29 are Sovereign States with monarchs as the head of states in the form of Kings, Emirs, Sultans and Emperors.
Dasho explained that monarchy is not the same everywhere and likewise all republics are not the same. For instance, he talked about absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy and said that there are monarchies within monarchy and monarchies’ within republics like in Malaysia and Indonesia. Dasho further stated that of the 44 monarchies in the world today, there may be around 3 Buddhist Monarchies i.e., Bhutan, Cambodia and Thailand where Bhutan is the only Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom, whereas others are Theraveda Buddhist kingdoms. He also described the Bhutanese Monarchy as modern, unique and special surrounded by an ocean of republics that were abolished when the Bhutanese Monarchy was established.
Dasho concluded his talk by highlighting the contractual nature of Kingship in Bhutan where the representatives from the wider sections of the Bhutanese society came together on 17 December 1907 to endorse a contractual agreement to enthrone Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch, thus making it legendary – a modern idea of Kingship where a king becomes a king through a consensus.
Reported by Jamyang Dema
BEd 4th Year Sci B