Well 2017, for most, won’t be remembered for much. The year just ticked by, or so it felt. Actually most passing years feel that way, except more loaded with events, often tragedies and disasters to better help remember it by. The latter two of course ring deeper in human memories.
The country and its people were spared much of the calamities monsoons usually wreak almost every year, damage to crop that out-of-season rains do, or delayed cultivation from its untimeliness. Food security in villages is always reassuring to hear and know about. The country grows very little, sometimes barely enough to sustain locally, because of the limited land there is for cultivation.
Talking of land, the issue of Doklam on the country’s northern borders of Haa was a big deal. To mark the 110th National Day in the Dzongkhag was, in a way, also a celebration of the peaceful resolution to an issue that troubled the country and its people for a while. As always, it was the wisdom of His Majesty the King and the trust and faith of the people in the Throne during such times that generated the sort of outcome the Bhutanese can only be thankful of to the King.
Thankful also for the benefits His Majesty brought to the country on his return from his visit to India. The drop in fuel price, a significant one in a long time, is believed to augur well the highly import-driven national economy. The visible benefits so far have, however, yet to trickle down to the people. But the greater benefit from the visit, on the invitation of the Indian government as a tradition, was the strengthened bond of friendship between the two neighbours, the ties of which date back to the early 20th century.
The last of 2017 also saw curtains fall on the five-year term of the second elected representatives to the Parliament.
A new beginning to an end, aspirants for both the National Council seats and those vying for the National Assembly ones have begun emerging, setting the agenda for 2018.
What Bhutanese voters pray sincerely for is the change in tone, an election that is not as divisive as the last two, while also hoping for a process that mends the rifts people across the country have suffered.
The hope is also that of the King’s, who during his National Day address in Haa cautioned its people that more than the external threats, the country could become more vulnerable because of internal instability.