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The constitutional equation of BNB


How do a lawyer, engineer, journalist, social thinker and former MP communicate, let alone agree or disagree with the ideas and ideals contained in such a noble document as the Constitution of Bhutan? The answer we have arrived at is through the idea of ​​a BNB Constitutional Equation. In other words, using the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in our everyday language, as His Majesty the King ordered during the speech of the 113th National Day on Education Reform.

At the Institute of Happiness (IOH), a Thimphu-based think tank and policy research institute, we have thought hard and deeply. And during many interactions with other Bhutanese, we realized that people seemed more in search of a real purpose in life than happiness. In the current context, their singular aim seemed to be to answer the nation’s call in the wake of the Royal Kachos.

The Royal Kasho on education reform commands us to lead our generation to rethink and radically transform our education system by anticipating the developments of a rapidly changing world by restructuring the way we run our bureaucracy and the public service for a transition towards a system based on knowledge and technology. economy driven. In this “We need to integrate STEM subjects into their (and our) everyday language. “

With only human resources as the main national asset, the best way to prepare ourselves to fit in and excel in the digitally driven future is to master STEM and therefore think and speak the STEM language. It’s also because the STEM language is so precise and accurate that it is perhaps more effective than any other language in the world. Being specific in our speech not only makes us extremely effective and efficient communicators, but also allows us to identify and break down complex social and cultural constructs and challenges into concrete and useful ideas applicable to our day-to-day lives.

This use of the STEM language has the potential to radically reform the way we think, act and live as a society. For example, our Constitution has 35 articles and 343 sections, which is far too complex for the average person to understand. The GNH framework and related literature address complex pillars, areas, and sub-areas that have little or no relevance to the average Bhutanese. The authors of this short article have therefore teamed up to explore the concept of the constitutional equation of BNB so that the content of the Constitution can be represented in a simple visual graphic to make it easy to remember, especially for our young people.

Article 9, Article 20 of the Constitution calls for the creation of a BNB company where “The State will strive to create the conditions which will allow the true and sustainable development of a good and compassionate society rooted in Buddhist ethics and universal human values.”

It also corresponds to the state of unlimited and immeasurable love, compassion, kindness and equanimity – the four elements of “Tshey Me Zhi”. Let us call this function f (Z) of the constitutional equation. Among the many factors that go into the establishment of such a state, the first single factor concerns the environment;

“The government will ensure that in order to conserve the country’s natural resources and prevent degradation of the ecosystem, a minimum of sixty percent of the total land area of ​​Bhutan is kept under forest cover at all times (Article 5 , section 3) ”. Let us refer to this section as a factor (X> 60) in the constitutional equation.

The second unique factor is in the social domain, the achievement of the stages of life embodied by the retirement age of Druk Gyalpo.

“At the age of sixty-five, Druk Gyalpo will step down and hand over the throne to the Crown Prince or Crown Princess, provided the royal heir is of full age.” (Article 2, paragraph 6). Let us call this the factor (Y

What is fascinating about these three sections is that the final function f (Z) is the product of the two factors (X & Y). Factor X represents the environment which is mainly derived from the four elements of nature (earth =her, water =shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!, fire =me, and wind =lung—The elements of physics and materials science (STEM) also called the “Jungwa bZhiIn Dzongkha.

The Y factor represents the age limit (same) for Druk Gyalpo, to abdicate the Golden Throne. This is derived from the four stages of life which is “Phuntshok Dey Zhi”. In Buddhist culture, this can be roughly compared to the learning phase, the working phase, the realization phase and the final realization phase (the elements of social science). These two unique inputs provide the conditions for a GNH state that is immeasurable and unlimited, also called the “Tshe Mey Zhi” represented by the mathematical symbol of infinity (Z-∞). The constitutional equation can thus be represented in the following visual manner even though there is no actual derived mathematical relationship between the factors.

K4: f (Z-∞) = f (X> 60) + f (Y

(K4 signifies the brilliant elaboration by Drukgyel Zhipa of a Constitution with the four elements of physical science and four elements of social science giving rise to the four immeasurable states of BNB). (Table 1)

The same equation can also be represented in the following visual form where the coordinates represent the article and section numbers in the Constitution. For example, the X coordinates (5.3) represent item 5) and section 3). (Table 2)

(Fig. 1)While Factor X catapulted Bhutan’s role at the forefront of environmental sustainability, a less understood but perhaps even deeper factor is where His Majesty Drugyel Zhipa went beyond the constitutional provision. by abdicating the throne in 2006, at the age of just 51. This act illustrates the ultimate act of preaching or aligning one’s behavior with stated values ​​and goals.

The idea now must be to take this inspiration to the highest level of governance and to instill it also at the individual and organizational level where such a gap is responsible for many persistent problems. For example, the gap between vision statements and implementation on the ground often results in deep dichotomies. We have known for a long time that coordination is extremely important, but we have always operated in silos. We agree that we need to make reforms and changes, but no one is ready to take the first step for fear of failure or marginalization. The more we can reduce these discrepancies, the closer we come to solving the constitutional BNB equation.

In this, we examine how sometimes our values, culture, habits and states of mind, which make up 90% of what we are familiar and comfortable with, deviate from our acquired knowledge, including our technical skills and stated goals, which are less than more than 10% of what we know. We look at this through the “tip of the iceberg” concept where what you see is only 10% on the surface (the tip) and the rest is hidden below the surface. For this, we turn to our 2015 GNH survey which shows that people’s perception of values ​​by more than 90% outweighs their attitude towards knowledge by only 10%. A similar equation could be derived from this model of the iceberg to identify which factors you can see above the surface and which factors are submerged below the surface. Hence the value of the constitutional equation even in our day to day life and the power to use the STEM language to reframe and interpret even a document as noble as the Constitution.

Contribution from

Kinga tshering is a former Member of Parliament of Bhutan and an engineer.

Sangay Thinley Dorji is a development consultant.

Sonam tshering is a lawyer.

Gopilal Acharya is a journalist.