Democratic Transition in Bhutan: Political Contests as Moral Battles

(2 reviews)

Published In: 2019
ISBN: 9780367348342
No. of Pages: 350

Book Overview

This book studies how a modern monarchy transformed Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy. A political ethnography, it focuses on the historic elections of 2007-2008, and studies democracy and its transformational processes from the ground-up. It draws on historical as well as contemporary theories about kingship and regime change to analyse Bhutan’s nascent democratic process and reflect on the direction of political change, both at the state and local levels in the aftermath of the elections. It also presents insights into the electoral and political process by giving a firsthand account of the author’s own participation in the elections and ponders on the larger political implications of this election for the region. A strong theoretical discussion situated in robust fieldwork and personal experience, this book will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of politics, especially comparative politics and political institutions, South Asian and Himalayan Studies, political sociology and social anthropology.

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Customer Reviews (2)

by Adap Som (February 06, 2022)

6 Reviews

It was quite interesting to read the experiences the author had shared of his journey throughout the electoral process happened in Bhutan. My understanding of politics broadened and my knowledge of politics in Bhutan expanded. While I read through the book I realized that it is not just to blame those politicians who are power hungry and greedy but also the people who are voting for making them turn into a leader like that. The politicians who from my perspective should be treated as a noble profession as their roles and responsibilities require them to serve the people and moreover their decisions have a larger impact on the nation building process. However I could sense that politicians are looked down upon and people babble about politics being dirty. It has now become the profession which most talented people ignore and also someone with a low financial background has minimal chances of winning. This I feel is purely not to be blamed to those who had run the parliament but also to be shared equally with the public. The public who expect meals at every meeting or souvenirs and favors are equally to be blamed for the downfall of the purity of the politicians. I feel it’s high time that the politicians work genuinely and vigorously to uplift the respect they deserve in the community. And the public should engrave in their heart that the vote which they refer to as a gift has to be really perceived as a responsibility of every Bhutanese to exercise for nation building.Our majesties have passed down the Power to the people and especially to the parliamentarians. Hence the leaders with power should be considering this opportunity to not to do less but a responsibility to do more. Even if it is tiring, requires more time and energy, the one with power has to understand leadership is always commitment to human beings. The video referred to in the book was very disheartening to watch. Witnessing some good leaders losing their way, becoming selfish and power-hungry, and at the same time some people who are more selfish and greedy, clouded by their own narrow thinking, spilling ill thoughts which are very toxic for a small peaceful nation like ours. It was very sad to find out that there are people who forgot that Bhutan today is because of the continued hard-work and effort of our forefathers led by the visionary monarchs and to whom Bhutan tomorrow can be trusted upon. Personally for me, I deeply comprehend that a politician at his/her best will be able to think beyond and may extend his/her genuine service from his family to his companions, further to the village, then to his/her constituency and the best ones may be able to extend his/her services to the whole nation but his/her services and decisions will be biased for their term in the office. However the monarch’s service will always include the whole nation and their visions will always include for the best of the present and the future generations for their term is forever to serve the nation. I feel that whatever the decisions our monarch has for our country is always for the nation as a whole to prosper.I am thankful that our country has always had a visionary and compassionate head of state to protect, guide and care us from any internal and external affairs. Our monarchs have always led the country towards peace and harmony considering not just the present generation but also the future generations to come. 

by Singay Namgay (October 21, 2020)

31 Reviews

No one could have written on this subject better than Dasho Dr. Sonam Kinga.
Author, throughout the book, explicitly illustrates and explains the legality and relevance, and importance of Monarchical Institution in the arena of rapidly changing global politics. The author takes us through the historic election of first parliamentary democracy which is the major theme of political transformation. The later part of book draws our attention to battle of morality that political parties engaged in to gain upper hand in political battle with firsthand account of election reality and politics. The books ends with strong and undebatable assertion and proof that Druk Gyelpo (the Throne) and Institution of Monarchy is above mundane political drama for the stability and harmony of country and people.
It is a must read book.