Bhutan Peoples' Party
His political Career
Late Raj Kumar (R.K.) Budathoki was a unique personality. As a social-minded, farsighted, charismatic, ambitious, noble hearted, influential, a strong supporter of Democratic Socialism and an outspoken movement strategy maker as he had always been. He was always active in transforming the Bhutanese society and the government from primitive to advance order. He was in favor of the Constitutional Monarchy and his main objectives remained the establishment of Multiparty, Parliamentary system of government, a true, functional, vibrant and inclusive democracy and to strengthen the long-term political relations with the countries across the globe giving due respect to the interests of the neighbors. He wanted to serve the nation and introduce gradual changes.
From early 1980s, Bhutan government adopted discriminatory ethnic policies and amended the 1958 citizenship Act. Dismayed at the discriminatory and repressive policies of the Government, he started to play a leading role in the people’s movement for human rights and democracy for which he was forced to leave the country by the dictatorial government in 1989.
At the beginning Bhutanese people aspiring for political changes, the leadership vacuum was filled by the democratic leader Late Budathoki who came to the forefront with the aim of furthering movement for democracy and human rights. He organized a meeting and established Bhutan Peoples’ Party (BPP). BPP became the pioneer political party in the political history of Bhutan. He was elected as the Founding president of the party.
Soon after the formation of the party, he launched a peaceful demonstration throughout the kingdom in 1990, demanding the establishment of Human Rights and Democracy. Late Budathoki always tried to launch a unified movement in Bhutan. After the initial exodus, various other political parties were also formed. However, the deteriorating political situation in the movement demanded for consolidation into a united platform. Sensing this distractive developments, Late Budathoki staged 126 hours long hunger strike in 1994 urging everyone at stake for a unified movement to solve the refugee and political crisis of Bhutan. This step left his positive impression on exile Bhutanese and they showed their solidarity too which resulted in different coalitions.
Late R.K Budathoki with Ratan Gajmair on Hunger Strike.
Late Budathoki worked towards carrying on the movement to the newer heights with the help of his organization and the Bhutanese Coalition for Democratic Movement (BCDM). Likewise, to unify the movement United Front for Democracy (UFD) in 1996 and “Bhutanese Refugee Representative Repatriation Committee” (BRRRC) was constituted in February 1999. The BRRRC and refugee community gave major responsibilities to him to plan and launch a unified political movement for repatriation and democracy on January 31, 2000. However, this could not be materialized due to various distracting forces and financial constraints. Budathoki had envisioned that the Bhutanese movement for democracy and repatriation should be launched in a new and unified way.
All the time, he was dedicated towards the repatriation of all the exile Bhutanese to their original homesteads with safety and security with dignity. He had opposed the verification and classification of the Bhutanese refugees strongly. The classification, he insisted, should be between the Bhutanese and Non-Bhutanese classes, not on other criteria. He believed that the democratic movement depends on the joint efforts of all the parties and organizations. Unfortunately, on the September 9, 2001 at 3: 15 pm he was brutally hacked to death by the anti-social elements crept into the camps as influenced by the unwanted circumstances. On this unfortunate day, he was speaking about the verification process and the eleventh round of bilateral talks between Bhutan and Nepal on refugee issue. This was a shocking news and blow to all the Bhutanese and his well-wishers.
Late Budathoki lived a life of hardship and struggled away from all pleasures. For 13 years he had dedicated his life for the cause of the Bhutanese and their movement for democracy. This ultimate hope of the Bhutanese people now survives with his dream, his good wife and three sons. The Bhutanese freedom fighters, having revived their strength, have begun to follow the Path Propounded by him, the Path of Reconciliation, Integrated Movement, the Goal of Constitutional Monarchy and the establishment of Multi-Party Democracy in Bhutan. Late Budathoki traveled to a number of countries in Asia and Europe to internationalize the Bhutanese movement. He traveled several times to India and met with many Indian leaders for garnering support for the movement. He also organized voluntary repatriation marches to Bhutan from the Indian soil because of which he was arrested number of times.
Prominent leader of the whole movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Bhutan, late R.K Budathoki was born on June 26, 1957 at Bara village of Bara Block in Sibsoo Dungkhag under Samchi Dzongkhag. He was the eldest son of Mr. Tek Bahadur Budathoki and mother late Harimaya Budathoki.
Late R.K. Budathoki with his wife Jasoda and three sons Aakash, Aanand & Aasish.
Born in a middle class agrarian family, he started his education at Bara Primary School. His family then moved to Gaylegphug and he completed his study up to class V (five) from Gaylegphug Primary School. He passed class ten (10) from Don-Bosco Technical School, Kharbandi, at Phuntsholing. After completing secondary education, he joined the government service in the Tele-Communication Office of Bhutan in 1975. He rose to hold the responsibility of senior S.O. in the court of Vigilance in 1977. He got married with Jasoda Katel (Budathoki), daughter of late Lal Bahadur Katel in 1978. He has three sons Aakash, Aanand and Aashis.
Late Budathoki, a man of sharp brain and intellectual personality, was interested in various activities and would always try to develop unique views about how truth and honesty can be established in the society. Why do people quarrel among themselves? Why do people suppress peoples? Why do governments curb fundamental rights of the people? Why do governments put ban on political parties, newspapers, radio or television? Because of his good performance aptitude to learn new things he was chosen for a higher degree course on government funds.
In learning period he was influenced by the Indian movement for independence against British rule. He started to study the vast expanse of dichotomy between the autocratic system of governance in Bhutan and the world’s largest vibrant democracy in the immediate neighborhood India. After completion of his graduation from Poone University of Puna, India, he returned to Bhutan and again joined government service as Deputy Director of Budget Bureau. While he was in the government service, Bhutan government amended the citizenship act of 1958 in 1985 so as to have a legal tool to implement its discriminatory and ethnic cleansing policy designs. Royal Government of Bhutan then had a handy tool to conduct census enumeration only in the Southern belt of the country so that it could declare as many ethnic Nepali Bhutanese as it would wish as non-nationals and evicted them. The government deprived its Nepali speaking people (Lhotshampas) and Tsangla speaking people (Sharchhops) of their citizenship rights.
Bhutan of his dream
Everyone has a dream of doing something great and being someone great in life. So did our late leader R.K Budathoki had of his motherland “Bhutan”. But unfortunately he met with a fatal and untimely death in the hands of the heartless and headless sentient beings. Bhutan of today as he had seen is faced with many economic, social, cultural national and international problems. There is a gross human rights violation and misuse of power. Wherein the kingdom, there is but sunbursts sense of frustration and disappointment. But these adverse developments comprising of refugee crises, leadership crises and alike should not make us lose heart. We must make concerted efforts to solve the problems we are facing now. If we do so, there is no reason, for why Bhutan would not reach the zenith of its glory in every field.
Bhutan, as he had dreamt would be an example in the world to fight for peace peacefully. With the establishment of peace and progress, Bhutan would one day become a heaven on earth. But this, as he had thought, would be possible only if we solve our economic, social, and political problems amicably at the earliest time possible. And for this, the leaders leading the nation now must be farsighted, broadminded and kindhearted. Then there would be no place for social discrimination in the society. There would be no untouchables. Everyone could enjoy equality in the social sphere, casteism, communalism and regionalism would vanish. Bhutan as a nation would be the breath of our life. Bhutan as he had envisioned would become self-sufficient and self-reliant in every field. Bhutan would become a treasury of both material and spiritual treasure of the world. It would be the land of both honey and milk. Every person would then be seen with good arrangement of food, shelter and clothing.
We, as he had perceived, would have a well-developed party system. Both the ruling and opposition parties would come to understand their rights and duties. If the party in power has the right to keep it on its toes, the opposition would learn to make healthy criticism. It would not criticize the ruling party merely for the sake of making criticism. Bhutan of his dreams would be industrially more advanced. It would make considerable progress in the field of science and technology. Agriculture would too be intensively mechanized. Bhutan of his dreams would make unexceptional progress in the enrichment of cultural values, arts and literature to preserve our unique national identity. The world would listen to the voice of our country. She would have regained whatever she has lost during this period of struggle. The position would have been restored and achieved through the language of truth and reason, and the message of brotherhood. Thus, Bhutan of his dream would be an ideal place to live in.
Unfortunately, our great dynamic leader, R.K. Budathoki is not with us today although his visions and Contributions are always with us. He has left behind a good lesson, good vision of sacrifice and determination for us to cultivate and apply in our crusades towards the establishment of peace in the nation.
Bhutan Before 1991
Bhutan After 1991