Highlanders plan special events to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of theFourth King

Nomads from Merak and Sakteng are all geared up to perform their age-old traditional Brokpa songs and dances, and also display the indigenous items they use in their daily lives in an exhibition. The festivities are being held to commemorate the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth King JigmeSingyeWangchuck. The nomads will also pledge tostay back in their villages and continue to preserve their unique cultural heritage.

The Brokpas are known for their unique culture, disparate dialect, and are dependent on yak husbandry for their livelihood. They are also known to hold a sacred and indispensible duty of contributing towards sovereignty and border integrity of the country by acting as a buffer zone at the bordering areas.

The nomadic cultural is perceived of dying with time,especially due to a decline in the number of nomads taking to yak husbandry.Instead, the nomadic communities started moving to the urban centers. According to research, such decline in yak farming is proportional to the increase in incomes of the nomads, andhigher education level among the youth.

It was found that harsh climatic conditions also make it hard for the nomads to stay back in the villages. This is in the backdrop of the fact that the highlanders depend heavily on livestock and dairy products for their livelihood.

The MerakGup said that even in summer, at such a high altitude, not much of green plants are found and people face major challenges to continue with their age-old tradition of yak husbandry.

However,the Gup said that with the introduction of tsamdro and sokshing have eased and transformed their livelihood. He said the Brokpas are grateful to His Majesty who gave them the land Kidu. He said the nomads have no reason to move out of the village as the do not face to face the problem of fodder shortage for the herd or face poverty due to His Majesty’s Kidu.

The students, teachers and communities from Merak and Saktenggathered at the village lhakhangto pray for His Majesty’s long life and promised to stay back in their village and preserve their unique culture.

Further, the communities have constructed three big prayers wheels and conducted Kurim (long life rituals) for His Majesty’s longevity, starting early morning till late evening yesterday.

“We are proud as a Bhutanese and we thank our Fourth DrukGyalpo for protecting us,” theGup said. He said that Bhutan is a nation that is independent and unified under the dynamic leadership of the Kings.

The Gup said that His Majesty has been generous in granting Kidu to the underprivileged people in Merak and Sakteng, whose lives have transformed significantly.

SaktengGup, TshewangTshering, said that the historic event is an important day to remember His Majesty the Fourth King’s undying love for his people and the country. He the love and gratitudethe people feel for the Fourth DrukGyalpois immeasurable.

“Our King is included in every prayer we make” the Gup said.

The Brokpas will hold a two-day exhibition oftraditional games, like soksum, pungdo, khuru and variety of nomadic dances that are prominent in their locality and showcase their varied cultures, traditions, all in dedication to His Majesty the Fourth King, under whose leadership the nomadic identity is still alive.A Thondgdrel and Thangka will remain unfurled for blessing during the event.

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