“We are yesterday’s children, today we are tomorrow’s parents’ responsible for our nation and for laying the foundation for the next generation. Remember, the future will reflect what we do today.”
Those are the words of His Majesty the king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk; heartfelt messages conveyed to a gathering of more than 2000 young minds that are on the threshold of work and life, to do service in their lives and to the nation.
Addressing the assembly at the National Graduates Orientation Program (NGOP), His Majesty told the graduates as a landlocked nation, Bhutan’s true foundation lied in the strength and character of the Bhutanese people.
His Majesty narrated a story of the conversation between his father, His Majesty the Fourth King and himself.
When he was little, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo asked His Majesty of what he would do when he grew up, His Majesty replied that he wanted to serve, when asked whom, he said his country.
With this His Majesty said in that way he and the graduates were the same, the fundamental underlying ambition to serve the country.
He said “we all love our country, but, remember to love your country is one thing but quite another to love your country in the most intelligent manner”.
“We cannot foresee it but as long as we approach it with right intentions and values, I assure you of a bright future,” said His Majesty.
He told the graduates not to be scared and be fearless and that he had full confidence in them.
His Majesty expressed to the graduates how proud he was to be a Bhutanese; he told the graduates, “I am proud of the peace, harmony, stability, and security we have in this world of uncertainty”.
He summed up the pride he took in being a Bhutanese to the silent crowd who listened with devotion to his words.
“I am proud of our unique culture and heritage we have preserved and strengthened. I am proud that we have respected the sanctity of our environment and the well being of all sentient beings. I am proud of the unprecedented and historic transition to democracy. I am proud of the fact that inspite of being a small nation, we have one of the most admired leaders in the world – His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, my father. I am proud of the fact that we are proud to be Bhutanese. Above all I am proud of you.”
His Majesty was accompanied by their Highnesses Ashi Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, and Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck.
The graduates were happy to be granted an audience by His Majesty.
A Chennai graduate, Manish Sharma said, he was touched upon learning that at such a tender age, His Majesty’s ambition was to serve his country.
“His words were short and sweet but it carried a great deal of wisdom, unlike other guest speakers who went about briefing and lecturing, which got me bored in the sweltering heat,” said Manish Sharma.
A computer science graduate from Raipur, India, Tandin Penjor wished the session with His Majesty was longer. Tandin Penjor said he liked what His Majesty said on being fearless and he was moved by His Majesty’s love for the country and people.
“I wish there was an interactive session with His Majesty because I had one question to put up, which is on the issue brewing between the government and the private media. I would have loved to hear his views on it,” said Tandin Penjor.
A law student from Mangalore, Tshewang Dorji said, he had had been looking forward to a photo session with His Majesty, however, he was glad that he managed to get a glimpse of His Majesty.
A graduate and president of Sherubtse College, Kezang Dorji said, hearing His Majesty speak gave him goose bumps, and that he was privileged to have His Majesty come and grace the occasion, unlike leaders in other countries, where they were unreachable.
“He has such fatherly affection for us, although I believe he had been out of station, but, His Majesty made it a point to visit us. He has such concerns for us. His love moves me and his words never fail to inspire,” said Kezang Dorji.
A Shillong graduate, Tshewang Zangmo said she had always looked up to His Majesty the Fourth King and His Majesty the King. “Their dedication towards the people and country are beyond measures, words cannot comprehend the sacrifices they have made”.
Tshewang Zangmo added that she felt proud to be a Bhutanese and wanted to serve the country in whatever way she could, “I want to make my King and country proud.”
A Kalimpong graduate, Kamara Gurung, who had seen His Majesty for the first time said, “Words of His Majesty will be in my heart for keeps, it may sound too over the top but I don’t care, I believe what my head and heart says”.
The labor ministry recorded 3075 graduates online, however, only 2623 graduates attended the NGOP.
The country has seen a huge leap in number from 272 graduates (who attended NGOP) in 2001 to a steady increase to 2623 this year.