The Challenge of Druk Yul

The ever-increasing external pressures were bound to crack Bhutan' s self-image, forcing it to change slowly, though not silently.

Twenty years ago, everybody in Nepal was chanting "Hariyo Ban, Nepallco Dhan". Today, the ban has mostly disappeared and so has the slogan. In Bhutan, the cycle is just beginning. Thimphu's citizens recite the Bhutanese version of the same refrain, and a Nepali cannot help but think, "we've been through this before."

It is true that in certain superficial ways Bhutan is today close to where Nepal was in the late 1950s. But there are significant distinctions between the Nepali and Bhutanese development scenarios. Nepal's ethnic super-diversity, its negligible resources, and its overpopulation do not apply to Bhutan. Merely avoiding mistakes made by the Kathmandu rulers of the past three decades will not guarantee progress for Bhutan's 13 million people (government figure).

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Himal Southasian