As part of the celebrations to commemorate 50 years of Bhutan-India friendship a statue of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first president of India, was unveiled in the border town of Jaigaon on 18 January.
The program was organized by Bhojpuri Yuva Manch.
At the unveiling, Chukha Dzongda Minjur Dorji said His Majesty The Third King and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundations of the relations. The visit of Pandit Nehru to Bhutan in 1958 remains a landmark in relationship between the two countries.
The Dzongda said that during his visit, Pandit Nehru witnessed the love and affection showered upon him by the men, women and children of Bhutan. Pandit Nehru’s visit left an indelible impression on him and convinced him of the potential and richness of India-Bhutan relations.
He said, “Based on this vision, India and Bhutan have created a unique, unparalleled and time-tested partnership of peace and friendship. This vision was of two countries working together in partnership, based on mutual trust, respect and shared political interests”.
“Bhutan is proud of its exemplary relations with India,” he said, adding that the bilateral relationship is no artificial political construct. “It draws its strength from geography, from history, scholarship, religion and culture and ancient commercial and people-to-people contacts,” he said.
Dzongda Minjur Dorji said Dr Rajendra Prasad was a Bharat Ratna recipient, a prominent politician, a lawyer and a journalist, who went on to become the 1st President of the independent India and the only president to have served two terms so far.
“As an inspirational freedom fighter, who defined the face of Indian politics and a leading figure of the Quit India Movement, he was a man of courage, dedication, conviction and utmost sincerity,” Minjur Dorji said. “His name symbolised honesty and modesty. Because of the enormous public adulation he enjoyed, he was referred to as Desh Ratna or the Jewel of the country.”
He also said that the statue not only honours Dr Rajendra’s great and selfless efforts on behalf of human dignity; it also represents an enduring challenge for all. “This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of Indian politics and freedom struggle,” Minjur Dorji said. “Though this statue is of one man, it should in actual fact symbolize all those who have resisted oppression and fought for freedom and justice.”
Dzongda Minjur Dorji also said that, few meters from here, in Bhutan, Bhutanese are fortunate to be equally blessed if not more with a towering personalities, selfless and wise leaders in successive monarchs. “It is because of our visionary monarchs and Indian leaders like Dr Rajendra that we are happily celebrating 50 years of Indo-Bhutan friendship this year,” he said.
He also said that India-Bhutan relations are what they are today because of the wisdom, sensitivity and farsightedness of the leaders. “Today our relations are a model of how two neighboring countries, uneven in physical size and attributes, can coexist in perfect harmony and understanding. Both our countries have a vital stake in each other’s well-being and prosperity,” he added.
He said, “As we enter a new era in our ties and a new century, we need to seek and reinforce the same meeting of minds, the same depth of understanding and the same confluence of thoughts and aspirations that have characterized our relations thus far, to guide us in the future”.