A country in the Eastern Himalayas, geopolitically within the South Asia region, it has the second lowest population in the region, after the Maldives.
It has never been colonised in it's long history of habitation, (from around 2000 years B.C.), despite being situated on the Silk Road. Bhutan's distinct national identity is based on Buddhism and has been supported by both the country's geographical position and a determined policy of isolationism.
Bhutanisation (One country, One People Policy) was confirmed during the mid 1980's, when a dramatic change to governance policies imposed a dress code, religious practices, and language use on all Bhutanese regardless of prior practices, thus reducing the growing influence of Nepalese inhabitants within the country.
Driglam Namzha is the official behaviour and formal dress code of Bhutan, decreeing the public dress and behaviour codes of all inhabitants. It also regulates a number of cultural and environmental assets such as art and architecture. In English, driglam means "order, discipline, custom, rules, regimen"and namzha means "system".
One of the interesting aspects of the political aspects of life in Bhutan, was the development of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness, a goal of the government of Bhutan and incorporated into the Constitution, which was enacted in July, 2008.
What a refreshing governmental goal GNH is, (compared to GDP), to have the actual happiness and wellbeing of the entire population and including environment, culture and governance issues, at the forefront of government policy and planning development.
I am certainly adding to my knowledge of the many flavours of democracy there are in this world of ours! (aren't inchies wonderful?)
Bhutan seems an inviting and interesting country to be able spend some time in, but, the more I read of their culture and beliefs, I think a decision for most of us to stay well away would be far better for Bhutan. They seem to have no need for others poking about in their affairs!
I did not have to look far this week for a plant to use on my inchie. I had read about the blue poppy, Meconopsis bhutanica, some years ago and a quick search again identified the article.
I used an image of the plant, growing on the difficult and unstable scree slopes around Lake Tso Phu in West Bhutan, taken during the 199o's by Toshio Yoshida, a photographer and amateur botanist based in Chiba, Japan.
I attended his rare concerts whenever I could, one at the Sydney Opera House, one here in Hobart at the Federation Concert Hall, and the first one, where this YT video was recorded, at The Enmore Theatre in Sydney, in 2008, where I purchased my first of his CD's.
The emotive gentle voice of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu moved me enormously from the moment of first hearing him sing. He also had a wonderful musical talent and I count myself very privileged indeed to have seen him perform three times during his short life.
We both enjoyed the film very much...I do hope that deciding to release it achieves his family's desire to perpetuate his legacy, as, although being contrary to their cultural beliefs, they have decided to share these memories with the world.
Bye, hopefully not forever,