State, People and Law of Bhutan- A Study in Historical Perspective

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Author: Madhu Rajput
Publisher: Kalpaz Publications, New Delhi
(Pp 292, ISBN 978-93-5128-076-7, Rs 860)

Mountainous Bhutan is situated on the southeast slope of the Himalayas, bordered on the north and east by Tibet and on the south and west and east by India. The landscape consists of a succession of lofty and rugged mountains and deep valleys.

Bhutan’s first national elections in 2008 marked the country’s shift from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, Bhutan’s fourth hereditary ruler, voluntarily curtailed his absolute monarchy and he abdicated in favor of his son, and Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk.

Until half a century ago, the country had no national currency, no telephones, no schools, no hospitals, no postal service and certainly no tourists. Development efforts have now produced all these – plus a national assembly, airport, roads and a national system of health care. Despite the speed of modernization, Bhutan has maintained a policy of careful, controlled growth in an effort to preserve its national identity. The government has cautiously accepted tourism, TV and the internet and has embarked on perhaps its biggest challenge – democracy.

State, People And Law of Bhutan – A Study in Historical Perspective by Madhu Rajput, is an attempt to trace the transition of Bhutan from an isolated, land locked nation to a rapidly developing country. The author’s area of specialization is South Asia, specially Bhutan and north-east India.

The book has attempted to focus the land mark initiatives undertaken by the Monarchs, stupendous efforts made by the government to expand the infrastructure. The book also discusses formulation of laws for the betterment of the people who have unwavering loyalty towards the king.

The book discusses vividly the foundation of monarchy, its consolidation, its demographic study, its culture and educational revolution. The chapter on ‘Civil society and the Law of the Land’ presents an interesting reading which emphasizes that ‘no development effort can succeed without people’s cooperation and commitment…’

An appendix given as end papers, followed by a bibliography and index has enhanced the readability and reference value of the book.

– GS Jolly

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