Bhutan: Towards a Grass-root Participatory Polity (Hard Cover)

By Bhabani Sen Gupta

Between the covers of this volume lies the story of Bhutan modernizing itself in its own chosen way cushioned securely on a nationwide political regime of people's direct participation in comprehensive sustained development. It is the story of progressive decentralization and devolution of decision-making in building a participatory political economy best suited to Bhutan's traditional Buddhist civilization and culture and the genius of the Bhutanese people. The chief Architect of the new polity, unique in the whole of Asia, is King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who delegated in 1998 full executive power to an elected Council of Ministers and persuaded the National Assembly to have a mechanism to register a vote of confidence in the King himself. The book argues that a party less participatory democracy is best suited for Bhutan's development to a mature, modern political society in the first decades of the 21st century.

The volume is the result of two extended field studies of the Bhutanese style of democracy and modernization by the author and interviews with numerous Bhutanese from the village level right up to the topmost layer of political, economic and cultural institutions and persons manning them. What emerges in the volume is not a Shangri-La, but a vibrant developing country nestling on the bosom of the mighty Himalayas, crafting a participatory democracy suited to its present phase of evolution, looking confidently to a future of sustained growth and development, a multicultural tolerant people enriched by recreation of its ancient heritage of social harmony and moral values, absorbing the fruits of modernization without getting polluted by the dark byproducts of elitism, consumerism, segmentation of society in blind pursuit of wealth and power in the hands of a few at the cost of the many.

Bhabani Sen Gupta is a ranking scholar in Political Science, Political Sociology and International Politics in Contemporary South Asia. Author of 16 books and more than 25 chapters in multi-author publications, he is also a leading Columnist in Indian and South Asian Newspapers and journals. In his three decades of academic scholarship, he has worked at Columbia University of New York City, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. He now heads New Delhi-based Centre for Studies in Global Change. Under the pseudonym of Chanakya Sen, he is the Author of 35 Novels in Bengali, six of which have been translated into Hindi and other Indian languages. Under the Auspices of : The Centre for Studies in Global Change, New Delhi.

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