Ugyen Wangchuck: The first Hereditary King (1907-1926 A.D)
King Ugyen Wangchuck was born in 1862 to Jigme Namgyal the Tongsa Penlop and Ashi Pema Chhoekey. His father, Jigme Namgyal brought him in strict discipline of religious reaching and political life thus as the young prince of 13, Ugyen Wangchuck was ready to face political and disciplined life.
In 1883, Ugyen Wangchuck became a Tongsa Penlop, his father had already laid the foundations of the rise of Tongsa dynasty as a political power of Bhutan. He emerged as a man of destiny of Bhutan becoming more powerful after having extirpated all the enemies of the country and threat of civil war.
On 17 December 1907, the whole body of the Lamas, the State Councillors, the Chillahs of different district and the representatives of people met at Punakha and unanimously elected King Ugyen Wangchuck as the hereditary King of Bhutan. The transformation of Bhutan into a hereditary monarchy may well be describe as a landmark in its political history, which had unified the country in the person of its sovereign and gave the kingdom a distinct national character under a powerful, firm and a shrewd monarch, And also brought the country into closer association of friendship with the British Government. He was also an able administrator, wise diplomat and a statesman and his many important internal reforms in the country aimed at the welfare of the people of Bhutan.
King Ugyen Wangchuck died on 21 August 1926 after a successful reign of 19 years. He may be regarded as Bhutan’s man of destiny.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck : The Second Hereditary King (1926-1952 A.D)
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck was born in 1905 to King Ugyen Wangchuck and Queen Ashi Tsendue Lhamo. He received a good education in Buddhist literature, Hindi, and English and was brought up in strict discipline by his father as heir to the throne of Bhutan.
He became a Trongsa Penlop in 1923 and was married to Ashi Phuntsho Chhoedon at the age of 18.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Wangchuck became the second king in the year 1926 where he was barely 21 years old. He developed a religious constitution particularly of the Kargyue sect, he reduces a land taxes, started a school dispensaries and improved communications by the construction of roads. It was during the reign of King Jigme Wangchuck that Bhutan began to forsake the policy if isolation, in 1947 Bhutan participated in the Asian Relations Conference at New Delhi, and in 1948 a Bhutanese delegation visited India to discuss Bhutan’s relations with India as the result of which, an Indo-Bhutanese treaty was signed by the two countries on 8 August 1949.
King Jigme Wangchuck passed away in 1952 after successful reign of 26 years.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck: Third Hereditary king, Father of modern Bhutan (1952-1972)
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck was born in Thuepang Palace, at Tongsa in 1928. At an early age he learnt Buddhist literature, English, Hindi and other subjects. He received training in administration from his father, and in 1952 he married Ashi Kelzang Chhoedon.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck ascended the Golden Throne in the year 1952as the third hereditary king of Bhutan in the year 1928. He was a monarch with clear vision and foresight, Bhutan emerged out as a modern national in the world. By judicious statesmanship, he steered the country away from the policy of isolation, endowed with it political unity, brought about religious and social consolidation, and set the country on the path of economic development. Both in his internal reforms and external relations, he showed himself a man of unusual determination and firmness of character, and may called as the father of modern Bhutan. In 1970 Bhutan attended the U.N.O General Assembly as an observer; also larger social and economic schemes of development were undertaken under the 5- year plans with extraordinary speed and executed with visible success. Under his able guidance Bhutan made steady progress towards democracy, social equality and economic development.
On 21 July, 1972 King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck passed away at an early age of 43 years. Bhutan suffered an irreparable loss at the premature demise of their great monarch, who was greatly loved by his people and may rightly be designated as the architect of Modern Bhutan.
Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck
King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth hereditary king of Bhutan was born in Dechhenchholing Palace, Thimphu on 11 November 1955, he studied both in Buddhist and modern education at the age of seven, he had his early education at St. Joseph College, Darjeeling and also was educated in one of the biggest school in London. At the same time, he began to be trained by his father and worked as the leader of Bhutan’s Planning Commission.
On 15 May, 1972 he became a Trongsa Penlop , and on 2 June, 1974 he was enthroned on the Golden Throne of Bhutan on the recommendation of the Monk-body, the officials and the people of Bhutan. His Majesty sacrificed his early childhood for the sake of his subjects and nation. He was trust upon the leadership responsibilities and bestowed the most delicate and highly complex duties of a ruler from an early age of 16 years.
Nonetheless, His Majesty’s reign of 34 years was the most successful and highly productive for the nation. His Majesty’s accomplishment in the field of politics, social welfare, economic development and international relations, His Majesty the Fourth King thought of development need for the subjects in two direction, and in two layers- external human development needs and internal human development needs, thus his concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) clearly takes into account of both these vital human development needs.
GNH had become the guiding principle for national policy formulation and implementation in Bhutan by the 9th Five Year Plan. The theory and practice of the philosophy of GNH is interpreted by Bhutanese policy formulators as having four main components or features- economic development, environment, religion and culture, and good governance.
The nation has been very fortunate to have a king endowed with the extraordinary qualities; no greater homage could be paid to His Majesty the Fourth King than what His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck spoke in an apparently prophetic speech delivered in the wake of the lunching of democracy in Bhutan. His Majesty said:
“There has never been a king born in Bhutan like His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck! There will never be a king who will be born in Bhutan in the future like His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck!”