1. Bhutan: Notes Concerning the Political Role of Kidu by Brian C. Shaw
The original Tibetan concept of kidu (skyid sdug1 or more informally kidu) has been variously considered as welfare, self-help and assistance. In the context of Bhutan, the concept has closely linked the moral authority of the monarch with the economic needs of the public.
The paper considers both the politicisation of kidu (the competition for political space and authority by politicians of the First Parliament, against the received authority of the monarchs) and the de-politicisation of kidu (by the monarchs, notably through land-grant authority reaffirmed in the 2008 Constitution, the establishment of the Kidu Foundation and in other practical ways). Kidu rights and the authority of the monarch is reviewed, with especial attention to the future prospects of either diminution or extension of these rights in the future, as the kingdom endeavours to establish “Democracy with Bhutan Characteristics.”
2. Trend of Bhutan’s Trade during 1907-26: Import by Ratna Sarkar and Indrajit Ray
It is logical to expect that quantitative and qualitative changes in Bhutan’s export during the period of Ugyen Wangchuck should be corresponded by similar changes in her imports. For one thing, when a country’s export grows over a longer period, the accumulation of foreign exchange in that country enables her to import more. Indeed, since both exports and imports, especially their growth and diversification, depend on the changes in the domestic economy (along with changes in the rest-of-the-world), in most cases do we observe simultaneous changes in both these fronts. The present article seeks to assess to what extent Bhutan’s import changed during the years of the First Monarch.
3. Terms of Trade and Balance of Trade of Bhutan during 1907-26 by Ratna Sarkar and Indrajit Ray
Though exports and imports are important constituents of the aggregate demand of an economy, and hence the determinants of growth, welfare implication of foreign trade follows to a good extent from the terms of trade. In the trade literature, the concept of terms of trade is defined in many ways such as the quantity definition, the price definition and the income definition. In this study we adopt its price definition, i.e. the terms of trade of a country equals the ratio of her export and import price indices. Since such price indices are not readily available, those are calculated from estimated prices of individual export-import commodities. Before analyzing the terms of trade, therefore, we review the movements of import and export prices. Also important for an economy is the balance of trade that determines under the silver standard of currency (as practised in contemporary Bhutan) the flow of silver to and from the domestic economy, and hence the supply of money. This chapter, therefore, reviews also the balance of trade in Bhutan and along with it the change in the exchange value of Bhutan’s currency in the contemporary period under the presumption that the balance of trade is functionally determined by devaluation/revaluation of domestic currency.
4. Assessment of Yam (Dioscorea spp.) Diversity at Community Level in Nangkor Gewog under Zhemgang Dzongkhag by Jambay Ugyen and Dr. Tulsi Gurung
Yam (Dioscorea spp.) is an annual or perennial climbing plant with edible underground tuber. It includes 600 species of which 50 to 60 are cultivated, or at least gathered, for food or pharmaceutical purposes. There are however only 10 species for human consumption and economically significant. In Bhutan, yam plays an integral part in socio-economic and cultural aspects. However, there is limited information on yam diversity in Bhutan. Therefore, this study aimed to assess domestic and wild yam species diversity, its socio-cultural importance to the communities and its contribution towards food security.
5. Macroeconomic Trends and Policy Implications: Evidence from Bhutan by Mashrur Khan and Matthew Robson
Bhutan has performed remarkably well with an average growth rate of 7.72 percent from 2004-2014. This growth is heavily fuelled by its strong hydropower sector, particularly the exports of hydropower, which have grown at an average rate of 18.1 percent over the same period. In recent years, hydropower capacity has been increased substantially, leading to higher exports and electricity generation in the country. In addition, the tourism sector has grown rapidly over the last decade, which largely contributed to the generation of revenue for the country.
Despite these successes, the country has experienced some setbacks, particularly in recent years. The current account deficit has been on the rise, which was mainly due to increasing hydropower-related imports to facilitate the installation of new hydropower plants. In addition, rapid credit growth has led to a consumption and housing boom, which contributed to large non-hydropower related imports. Consequently, the total reserves for the country as a percentage of total external debt has declined – reducing their ability to service debt – which is concerning since their external debt as a ratio of GDP has risen to over 80 percent in 2013-14 from around 55 percent in 2007- 08.
This paper focuses on the macroeconomic trends that Bhutan has experienced since the 1990s. The paper provides detailed graphs and tables on selected economic indicators, particularly on the budget, inflation and balance of payment estimates for the country.
1. Traditional and Modern Understandings of Mental Illness in Bhutan: Preserving the Benefits of Each to Support Gross National Happiness by Joseph D. Calabrese and Dr Chencho Dorji
The pursuit of appropriate mental health treatment in Bhutan must bring together and balance the need for the most advanced and appropriate medical and psychotherapeutic interventions with the need to avoid the disruption of very useful cultural traditions that are already in place in Bhutanese communities. A crucial question, in view of this priority, is: which conditions are modern psychiatric and psychological treatments the best for and which conditions are adequately addressed with traditional approaches, including traditional medicine (gSo-ba Rig-pa), shamanic ritual treatment, or Buddhist rituals and practice?
In this paper, the authors approach this question as clinicians who have worked with Bhutanese psychiatric patients and as researchers of international mental health and traditional healing practices. The goal of the paper is to view mental health and mental illness in Bhutan through the lens of Medical Anthropology (with its broad cross-cultural perspective), in terms of their clinical training and practice in Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry, and in terms of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness policy and the related idea of “development with values.”
2. Suicide Trends in Bhutan from 2009 to 2013 by Kuenzang Lhadon
This paper focuses on the increasing trend of suicide in Bhutan over a period of five years from 2009-2013, and argues that there is a need of immediate attention from the government or any other relevant organization to set up a helpline, or to put in place any strategy to prevent/reduce it. For a small country like Bhutan, an average annual suicide growth rate of 9.4 percent is an alarmingly high one. A descriptive analysis of this time series data is used to generate comparison of suicide cases by region, gender, occupation and age group to identify which of the groups need the most attention.
3. Ahom-Bhutan Relations with Specific Reference to Royal Bhutanese Embassy Visiting Ahom Capital in 1801 by J. N. Phukan
This paper is confined to the period when the Ahom power came into contact with Bhutan. This happened towards the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Ahom kingdom annexed Kamrup and Darrang to the north of which lay the territory of Bhutan.
Thereafter, for more than a hundred years the relations with Bhutan were primarily dealt with by the Darrang Raja who was made a tributary Raja by the Ahom king. However, whenever required, the Raja was assisted by Ahom force to deal with situation.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, there were troubles in the Ahom kingdom. Among these were the Moamaria uprising that spread even to lower Assam. The rebellious prince of Darrang Krishna Narayan with his supporters took the help of Burendazes, mercenary soldiers from Bengal. When Capt. Welsh came to Assam to take them back, many of them with Krishna Narayan took shelter in the bordering areas of Bhutan and created troubles there.
Bhutanese authorities made appeal to the Barphukan of Guwahati. To ascertain the situation he sent an embassy to Bhutan in 1801. In return, the King of Bhutan sent a royal embassy to the Ahom court that arrived at Jorhat, the Ahom capital in 1802. The envoys were well received by the King and the Prime Minister. They brought many presents that were valuable at that time. The Ahom and the Prime Minister also sent valuable presents to the Bhutan King.
4. Estimating the Gender Gap of Adults’ Education and Health in Bhutan by Chhimi Dem
Several studies in developing countries suggest that narrowing the gender gap in education and health has both economic and social benefits. Bhutan is an important country to study gender because, traditionally and by law, women and men enjoy equal status. This paper explores the gender gap in formal education and mental and physical health among adults in Bhutan.
The 2010 cross-sectional survey data collected for Gross National Happiness (GNH) Indicators by the Centre for Bhutan Studies (CBS) in all the 20 districts of Bhutan (n=6510 individuals) was used. It regressed formal education and various indicators of health against gender, region, age, income, and religion. Then the differences in levels of schooling and health between women and men in the eastern region, which is reputed to be the most remote and least developed region are examined.
The gender gap persists. Men have 27% more years of schooling than women, 4.80 fewer reported sick days during the previous 30 days, 1.63 fewer negative emotions, and a 10% lower probability of reporting mental distress than women. Men in the eastern region are 6% less likely to be educated than women of their same region. However, men in the eastern region are 7% less likely to report having a stressful life than women of their own region.
Despite the tradition of gender equality and the laws supporting gender equity in Bhutan, this study finds that women lag behind men in schooling and health. The country needs to implement policies to narrow the gender gap.
1. A proposition “Bhutan is a Democracy”: Beyond the Constricted, Popular Wisdom of “Democracy” by Katsu Masaki
This article seeks to dissect, with reference to Bhutan’s polity, how the Eurocentric, popular wisdom of democracy, privileging liberal democracy, inadvertently enforces closure to other plausible, non-liberalistic interpretations. In Bhutan, the monarchy and Buddhism carry moral authorities constraining the arbitrary use of governmental power, and nurturing associative bonds in society. This “natural democracy” contravenes the orthodoxy of liberal democracy, according to which the state, as a neutral arbiter, must not accord a special status to any leader or religion. For this reason, political analysts tend to doubt whether Bhutan is a democracy. The circumscribed, liberal-democratic notion emanates from the history in which European universalism has been fabricated as a universal standard to be disseminated throughout the globe. It has thus served to rank different societies in a linear trajectory that positions Europe at the pinnacle of “progress”. The case of Bhutan potentially helps to rectify the constricted wisdom of democracy, to facilitate more open, thorough deliberations, and to start conceptualizing a multipolar world.
2. Does Democracy promote Social Capital? Evidence from Bhutan by Sangay Chophel
This paper aims to study the effects of democracy, as measured by voting in elections, on social capital after Bhutan transitioned from monarchy to parliamentary democracy in 2008. The lack of systemic study on widely supposed decrease in social capital in Bhutan due to the transition to democracy served as the motivation for this study. In addition, there does not seem to be any quantitative study on whether democracy promotes social capital when countries transition from monarchy to democracy. This study uses two cross-sectional survey data of Bhutan conducted in 2008, which contains respondents who voted for the National Council (non-party based) election, and 2010, which contains respondents who voted for the National Assembly (multi- party) election, to study the effect of democracy on three elements of social capital, namely trust in people in general, trust in neighbors and socializing with neighbors. Analyzing the two survey data separately using ordered probit regressions revealed that voting in both National Council and National Assembly elections did not have any significant effects on trust in people in general and trust in neighbors. However, voting in the National Council election had significant positive effect on socializing with neighbors whereas voting in the National Assembly election did not have any significant effect on it. After the two survey data were pooled together and analyzed, the introduction of democracy did not serve to increase the levels of voters’ trust in people in general and trust in neighbors. However, the positive effects of voting on socializing with neighbors as seen in the National Council election were removed due to the significant negative effect of multi-party election.
3. Was Tobacco Described in Bhutanese Buddhist Texts Before the 16th Century? by
Michael S. Givel and Rebecca A. Sherry
The small Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan has banned tobacco sales since 2004, citing prophets of the country’s state religion, Mahayana Buddhism, who described the evils of tobacco 200 years before its introduction to Asia. To address whether tobacco really is the plant designated in these early texts, we commissioned new translations of these documents, including one of the first translations out of Choekey of the first legal code of Bhutan, known as “The Golden Yoke of Legal Edicts.” A set of allegorical stories predict that a demon will make a plant appear that will be smoked, sniffed or eaten, and will cause a myriad of physical and societal ills. The stories in the ancient documents are allegorical and apocryphal (in the sense of mystic and esoteric) and do not describe the plant in enough detail to identify it as any real plant. In some cases, the word “thamakha,” meaning “the very worst black poison,” was transliterated as tobacco. Nevertheless, modern day interpretations in Bhutan of “thamakha” as tobacco are congruent with Buddhist tenets that intoxicants of any type will cloud the mind and inhibit the journey to seek Nirvana.
4. Examining Rupee Reserves in Bhutan: An SVAR Approach by Jigme Nidup
The substantial deterioration of rupee reserves in 2012 had detrimental effect on the economic growth in Bhutan. Therefore, this study investigates the implication of government investment on construction, private credit expansion and imports from India, on the rupee reserves through a four-dimensional SVAR approach. The results indicate that in the immediate term, it is the government construction expenditure, private credit growth and imports from India that deteriorates the rupee reserves. Over the medium period, it is found that the government investment on construction leads to private credit expansion. Though government investment on construction is desired for economic growth, policy makers, however, should strategize investments so that it does not create rapid private credit growth.
5.Factorial Validity and Reliability of 12 items General Health Questionnaire in a Bhutanese Population by Tshoki Zangmo
The aim of this study is to test the factorial structure and the internal consistency of the 12-items General Health Questionnaire. A sample of 6861 Bhutanese completed the GHQ-12. Internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient. The factorial structure was extracted with an exploratory factorial analysis (EFA). The EFA run on the data yield to a one- factor structure without rotation and two factor structures after rotation. Cronbach’s alpha showed a very good internal consistency of the scale (α= 0.88). Cluster analysis resulted in two clusters. Overall, the findings support that the GHQ-12 is a reliable and valid instrument for measuring minor psychological distress in a Bhutanese sample.
1. The Role of English in Culture Preservation in Bhutan by Dorji Thinley & T.W. Maxwell
This study explores issues surrounding the preservation and promotion of culture in the context of the secondary school English curriculum in Bhutan. The languages of Bhutan carry a rich and diverse tradition of oral literatures, but these genres and the cultural values they embody may disappear if they are not promoted. In Bhutan, schools are an active culture preservation site. For this reason, and also since English is the language of curricula for most subjects taught in school, we assumed that one of the ways in which Bhutan’s diverse cultures can be honoured and enlivened is through the study of folk literature in the English curriculum.
2. Diversity in Food Ways of Bhutanese Communities Brought About by Ethnicity and Environment by Kunzang Dorji, Kesang Choden & Walter Roder
This article tries to document traditional food systems in five ethnically distinct communities in Bhutan (all located in lower mid hills of the country with subtropical climate), especially focusing on: 1) Ethnobotanic information, 2) Crop diversity, 3) Cultivation practices, and use of crops.
3. Exploring Bhutan’s ‘Natural Democracy’: In Search of an Alternative View of Democracy by Katsu Masaki
This paper seeks to make an alternative translation/ interpretation of Bhutan’s democracy, in place of the mainstream view that the country has recently made a decisive transition toward democracy. It calls our attention to the country’s time-honored ‘natural democracy,’ which rests on monarchical authority and cohesive rural communities. Both of them represent vernacular forms of freedom and equality, contrary to their widely held image as being averse to democracy. This research was made possible by funding from the Japanese Government’s Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research.
4. Wangdü Chöling Dzong: The Masterpiece of Gongsar Jigme Namgyel by Gengop Karchung
This paper attempts to figure out the significance and role of this well-known historical structure besides throwing some lights on establishment of the dzong and its renovation. It also tries to present other information related to this Dzong through available written and oral sources. Besides researching on written sources, interviews were conducted with Lam Jampel Dorje, Wangdü Chöling Lam, Agäy Rinzin Dorje, 84 (2010) and Agäy Sherub Wangdü, 76 (2010) who shared valuable information.
5. The Old Man ‘Mitshering’ at Nyima Lung Monastery by Tenzin Jamtsho
This article documents the significance and meaning of an easily distinguishable performer ‘Mitshering’ (the old man) which is seen in some monastic festivals of central Bhutan like Nyima Lung.
1. Massive Rice Offering in Wangdiphodrang in Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s Time by Dasho Karma Ura
This article analyses a newly discovered book of 1679, perhaps the oldest extant land record, which shows that there was a survey of taxable fields and taxable houses of Wangdi district (Shar mTsho brGyad kyi khral Zhing khral Khyim gyi Deb gTer) to collect rice taxes as fresh-harvest offering for blessing tithes (dbang yon thog phud).
2. GNH, EI and the well-being of Nations: Lessons for public policy makers, with specific reference to the happiness dividend of tourism by Dr Shaun Vorster
This paper has two objectives: firstly, to conceptually explore the theoretical underpinnings of GNH and how it relates to societal EI and, secondly, to evaluate within this theoretical context the happiness dividend of the tourism economy, with specific reference to ethics, the labour market and environmental sustainability. As such the paper responds to a question posed by Goleman (2008): “Can there be an emotionally intelligent society?”
3. The ethics platform in tourism research: A Western Australian perspective of Bhutan’s GNH Tourism Model by Simon Teoh
This paper examines Bhutan’s unique development model based on a philosophy called Gross National Happiness (GNH) through tourism. The discussion is framed by Macbeth’s (2005) ethics platform in tourism research. The purpose of the paper is to investigate and understand a group of Western Australians’ perspective of Bhutan as a valued tourist destination and the likelihood of participants visiting Bhutan after understanding the GNH tourism model at a live display of Bhutanese culture.
4. In-service Training: Key to Enhancing Competence and Building Confidence for Job Performance of Gewog-level Extension Agents in Bhutan by Dr Samdrup Rigyal
It is about the study undertaken to measure the confidence levels of the extension agents (EAs) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests based in the gewogs for efficient job performance by identifying their perceptions on the various competencies. It showed that most of the competencies EAs considered important were also possessed by them and vice versa. However, the competencies considered important that were least possessed by EAs were particularly in vital areas, including technical knowledge and skill oriented competencies. The study indicated that EAs needed some form of training in all the 40 competencies of extension knowledge, skills and qualities measured. The technical knowledge competency stood out as the most important training need.
1. Ladakhi and Bhutanese Enclaves in Tibet by John Bray
This paper is a preliminary discussion of the ambiguities surrounding the enclaves. It begins with an analysis of their common origins in the 17th century, and then discusses the disputes surrounding them in the 20th century, making particular reference to British records.1 The paper concludes with a discussion of the enclaves’ standing in the wider context of traditional and contemporary Himalayan politics.
2. Population History and Identity in the Hidden Land of Pemakö by Kerstin Grothmann
This study explores the history of migration by different Buddhist peoples from eastern Bhutan, the neighbouring Tawang area and the Tibetan plateau to the ‘hidden land’ (Tib. sbas yul) of Pemakö, and the circumstances that induced migrants to leave their homelands.
3. Under the Influence of Buddhism: The Psychological Well- being Indicators of GNH by Tashi Wangmo & John Valk
This article tries to see whether the indicators of GNH reflect the Buddhist principles or not, first by looking at some key foundational doctrines of Buddhism which might lie behind the GNH index and indicators: the Four Noble Truths, Karma, and the six perfections or paramitas to highlight Mahayana Buddhist principles of happiness and second by focussing on psychological well-being, one of the nine domains of GNH.
4. Culture, Public Policy and Happiness by Sangay Chophel
This paper explores the relationship between culture and happiness by analysing work from different disciplines as a way of shedding useful insight on policy issue. It discusses the role of public policy in furthering happiness. In addition, this paper discusses contemporary literature on identity, values, diversity, and public policy in relation to happiness and well- being, and corroborates some of the claims made in this paper by using the data from Gross National Happiness survey conducted in 2010 wherever it is applicable and warranted.
5. Trend of Bhutan’s Trade during 1907-26: Export by Ratna Sarkar & Indrajit Ray
This paper analyses the trend of merchandise export of Bhutan to British India during the reign of King Ugyen Wangchuck, explains the destination of export trade of Bhutan and makes an attempt to analyse the composition of exports.
1. A Zhabdrung Phunsum Tshogpa (zhabs drung phun sum tshogs pa) Thangka from the National Museum of Bhutan Collection by Ariana Maki
This paper presents recent research on one thangka from the museum collection depicting the theme of Zhabdrung Phunsum Tshogpa (zhabs drung phun sum tshogs pa), or ‘submitting [oneself] to the one with perfect qualities’. The composition converges around the 17th century religious and political master, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (zhabs drung ngag dbang rnam rgyal, 1594-1651).
2. Meme Lama Sonam Zangpo’s Kurseong Years: A Note on Factors in the Foundation of a Modern Bhutanese Religious Community outside of Bhutan by Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa
This paper is a brief attempt to fill in this period of Lama Sonam Zangpo’s life, and to provide an exploration of some of the factors that influence the development of religious communities.
3. From Mount Tsari to the tsechu: Bhutan’s Sacred Song and Lute Dance by Elaine Dobson
This article examines the dramnyen cham (Tib. sgra snyan ‘cham), a sacred dance which is led by a dramnyen player, and the choeshay, a religious song also accompanied with dance, and it explores their connection with the founding and spread of the Drukpa (dragon) Kagyu branch of Vajrayana Buddhism in Bhutan.
4. Invoking a Warrior Deity: A Preliminary Study of Lo-ju by Dendup Chophel
The article is based on manuscript of the rituals, hagiography of eminent Drukpa (‘brug pa) hierarchs and other socio- political publications though none of them directly relate to the actual rationale and period of the festival’s institution. So, this work is primarily a heuristic recreation of the festival based on stray references found in these sources that are appropriately corroborated with existing myths, legends and other grapevines.