Coinciding with the celebration of the 56th birth anniversary of the fourth Druk Gyalpo and Children’s Day today, November 11, Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck launched her book The Raven Tells a Story at the Folk Heritage Museum in Kawajangsa, Thimphu.
This is Her Royal Highness’s first published work dedicated to the Father of Bhutan’s Constitution, the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
The Raven Tells a Story is set in a small, bucolic village in Bhutan resonating the life found throughout the country. The story follows the protagonist, Singye, on a quest for answers about a ‘curious book’. His journey towards ‘constitutional’ enlightenment is populated with often transient and ethereal interactions with his close-knit family, his friend Wangyal, schoolteachers and classmates, and the mythic Raven, which is much alike (and in deference to) the historical significance of a Raven that guided the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to Bhutan in the early 17th century.
The book articulates that the constitution of Bhutan is a collection of the finest values and ideas to create a system of government that would ensure the best chance for Bhutan’s progress and stability. It is a statement of [our] faith in a great leader’s vision and hopes for Bhutan’s future as a nation.
The 65-page medium richly illustrates the milieu in which is set the fundamental principles and basic tenets of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The ideas of sovereignty, justice, harmony, unity, equality, and good governance are but a few examples of the pillars of a democratic society that are highlighted by this book in a simple yet colourful manner.
The Raven Tells a Story is primarily written for a school-going audience. Nevertheless, both young and old alike will enjoy it for its rich and authentic symbolism and thought-provoking themes of education, participation, empowerment, and public service.
The book serves as a powerful medium, particularly for the Bhutanese youth, for illustrating the broader development realities and challenges that Bhutan faces as a small landlocked nation in an era of rapid globalization. The book also provides, through common incidences of everyday lives in Bhutan, valuable insights into the unique and fundamental values, customs, traditions and the importance of a harmonious balance between the individual, family and community.
The Raven Tells a Story is an extension of Her Royal Highness’s efforts and association with the Bhutan National Legal Institute as its first president. The institute was established in July 2011 to serve as a provider of legal training and education to strengthen the capacity of Bhutan’s judicial personnel and legal professionals; as a forum and resource bank for discourse and research; and, as a key establishment of the Judiciary in conducting legal dissemination and awareness programmes.
Copies of The Raven Tells a Story will be distributed to all schools in Bhutan. The book is published with the financial assistance from the UNICEF.
The Raven Tells a Story is illustrated by Bhutan Observer’s artist, Chimi R Namgyel, and designed by Sonam Phuntsho.