Thursday, August 10, 2017

Unofficially official National Flag Day Celebrated

Early afternoon of 8th August, after the programme got over, I had mailed enough photographs for a National news agency to telecast the programme but it was hold back owing to the ‘date’. 

The news agency said the date is not authentic as it is not reflected in our Government Calendar. Thus they wanted to have a research done on it first and then run the story. Fair enough I said. But I wish they should have looked into the objectives and intentions rather than fixing their eyes on the date.

Come on ....Every day is auspicious to celebrate our Nationhood for that matter. We don’t look for dates to thank our monarchs, pay tribute to our leaders and celebrate our achievements. Though 8th of August, according to my research, has its own valid reason to stand out as the auspicious day to mark it as our National Flag Day. 

According to Dasho Dr. Sonam Kinga and Dorji Penjore, His Majesty Jigme Wangchuck had initiated the design of our flag (The Origin and Description of The National Flag and National Anthem of The Kingdom of Bhutan, The Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2002) and was first made use of it during the signing of Indo Bhutan Treaty of 1949 on 8th ofAugust! 

The celebration at my school turn out to be an instrumental one in reinforcing and redirecting the essence of our age old culture and tradition, love and loyalty for our kings and our mother land. 





Indeed a momentous day celebrating our own Nationhood. With our National flag elegantly dancing in the air there was a sense of patriotic joy radiating profusely from the faces of our students and teacher colleagues. The ambience created by the songs, poems and hundreds of Flag fluttering together while National Anthem was sung gave million reasons to be proud of ourselves. All in all it reminded and help keep us all rooted to the core of who we are as Bhutanese: humble, caring, respectful and loving.    

Children were asked to bring Bhutanese cuisines of their choice for lunch and in the process they came to know the names, experienced the tastes and they learnt the origin of the cuisines. 













They were also instructed to bring and donate flower pots along with flowers to the school teaching them value of volunteerism, donation and to become environmentally conscious.

Songs of praise were sung and poems were recited to mark the day. The gathering was also informed about the reason and purpose to observe the day and they were also briefed on the detail of our National flag.

Commemorating Flag Day, the mid-term academic toppers were also presented with School souvenir as a token of acknowledgment for their hard work.


 As per the main stream media, there is a lot of cultural reinforcement Initiatives undertaken lately by different Schools across the country, various departments and our own esteemed Thrim Throm Education office. 

 From a teacher colleague of mine, I hear zulukha School and lately Changzamtok school have unanimously agreed that all lady staff of the schools would wear full kira at least once in a week. A fair arrangement to revive wearing full kira which with change of time had been side lined.

The other day I saw on BBS another story. All applauds to the Trashiyantse Dzongkhag Education office's humble attempt to re-orient teaching fraternity of the District with regard to our traditional Bhutanese dining custom using 'toray' and phob. The inclusion of summer vacation training camps for students to teach them about various traditional games and sports and not to forget; the esteemed Thromde Education Office requiring all schools to adhere to their infamous Tracksuit policy that they framed exhibits one prime goal-Preservation of culture and Tradition which is one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness.   

I know culture and tradition is of utmost importance. More importantly for Bhutan for reasons best known to ourselves. But how you stream line that matters. Rather than bulldozing ideas and propagating a list of "must dos" for schools which often result into unhealthy debates and blame game- I have a suggestion here.   

The Flag Day Celebration is culturally a thing of the western world so there is a tendency in our children to accept whole heartily, love it and enjoy the programme. The response for and the event held at my school was an unambiguously a successful one.  Thus, I see an opportunity to blend in all cultural aspects of our kingdom, be it cuisine, folktales, customs, textiles, sports, history, music and dance when we celebrate our National Flag Day- Because they say a National Flag Stands firmly to represent a  country! 

For event of this magnitude to happen across the country, I have this strong wish to see 8th of August on our Government Calendar marked as National Flag Day from next year. Concern authorities need to step forward to endorse and especially I would place an earnest appeal to Ministry of Education to take an active role to make this Day happen, for the benefit of all because we know schools play dynamic role to make or marr a society .

Why we should celebrate Flag Day:

  1: To remember our fallen heroes.

 2. To show gratitude to our monarchs.

  3: To relearn the flag's minute detail and its significance. 

4: To impart a sense of belongingness towards ones country.

 5: To celebrate our collective achievements as a nation.

 6: To revive some cultural essence and traditional etiquette by making children bring Bhutanese cuisines for lunch.

 7: To reinstall environmental consciousness among students through donation of flower pots to school. 

 8: Helping them understand the importance of nature.

 9: To inculcate the good virtue of charity and brotherhood.

 10: To inculcate the priceless values of Thanks giving, respect, love, care, gratitude, collaboration.

 What we could collectively enjoy and achieve on 8th of August as a school, a seat of learning, there is no reason why we shouldn't be celebrating the Flag Day next year (and every year to come) with greater zeal even if it doesn't make it on government calendar.

By the way, there was more than what my eyes could see….it’s my limited language skill and limited vocabulary that really couldn’t capture the real feelings and emotions we felt in the heat of celebrating the first ever Flag Day in my School( and perhaps  in the  Country).

Picture courtesy  (Some pictures) www.drukschool.com and teacher colleagues. 

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