RK Dorji passed away


Founder-chairperson of the Druk National Congress (DNC), Rongthong Kunley Dorji, died Wednesday night while undergoing treatment for multiple complications in Manipal Institute of Medical Science, Sikkim. He was 73.

File photo: Late Dorji talks to former Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal(Photo/Writer)

Confirming Dorji’s death at 11 p.m yesterday, DNC Vice-Chairman Keshang Lhendup said, his immense contribution to the establishment of constitutional democracy in Bhutan will always remain in the heart of Bhutanese people.

“We express heartfelt condolences to his family and pray for the peace of the departed soul,” added he.

Late Dorji, who was leading a strategic coalition formed by the Bhutanese Movement Steering Committee, Bhutan Peoples’ Party, Bhutanese National Democratic Party and his own DNC, was based both in Kathmandu and Delhi after the India’s High Court lifted the ban on his movement outside New Delhi. He was confined within New Delhi for almost 13 years since 1998.


  1. RKD’s sudden death has aggrieved the entire Bhutanese diaspora.This is indeed an irreparable loss to the exiled Bhutanese.He was a great, far sighted, visionary leader and an ideal guardian of the Bhutanese movement.Rip Mr. Dorji!! His deeds are always remembered..Heartfelt Condolence to the bereaved dorji family.
    Los Angeles

  2. Dear Kesang Lhendup,
    We the Bhutanese aspiring for the required democracy for the Bhutanese people lost suddenly the most committed statesman of Bhutan. Ronghtong Kuenley Dorji was such a statesman and farsighted leader that Bhutan’s history has ever produced. With his untimely leaving the earth planet, people would feel the absolute bereavement of uncontaminated, unmotivated for self but for the entire Bhutanese democrat. When I met him for the first time in Thimphu immidiatley after his release from Bhutan’s prison, he boldly told to fight for the rights and freedom and should not shy away with fear. ‘If you are afraid to fight openly against the government’s injustice, then fight from behind my back’ he said adding that he is already known to the government as a dissident and thus would not mind to struggle further for the peace and prosperity of the Bhutanese people openly. It is Bhutan’s and India’s goverment that ruined Kuenley’s life for more than a decade making him virtually paralyse in Delhi. As a result of this he suffered and ultumately consumed. People should not for get this tyranny and should not let anyone fall as victims like him.

    I met Rongthong Kuenley in Delhi in the 2009 and having talked with him for a TV interview, he highlighted the depth of his wisdom and sympathy for the suffering people. I truly appreciated his vision and convienced of his able leadership. While other Bhutanese leaders some how try to lament at their difficulties he used to lament in favour of the poor people and the problems caused due to the cotrolled democracy in Bhutan.

    Rongthong is the pious Bhutanese whose life was dedicated for the betterment of Bhutan and the Bhutanese people wherever they are. So he achieved certainly the goal of the human form of life and go back to the spiritual wolrd of eternal bliss. I pray for him for this last divine destiny.

    With fond memories,
    Nanda Gautam

  3. This is probably the greatest loss we are bound to bear. Such a charismatic and dynamic leader is no more with us. Even though I didn’t get the privileges to meet him personally and whenever I used to see his write-ups, the quality of writings, fluidity and above all the content, I always kept Dasho as extraordinary person. I used to visit different websites to extract some understanding of Bhutanese settings, many a times I found Dasho RK Dorji as the hot topic of discussion among the Bhutanese population and majority of contributors argued the most probable future prime minister candidate. This itself shows his popularity among the inside people and forget at this point about the exile population. There is no second person at his height in this regards.
    Our kindest sympathy for the bereaved family members and we shall pray for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace forever. May ‘KENCHOSUM’ bless him? Let him get justice at least at heaven.

  4. My tribute to Late R.K.Dorji and condolence to the bereaved family members,
    I personally express this heartfelt condolence to Aum Tshering, daughter Dechen, his two sons and others in the family.
    “Death is universal and it strikes all and spares none. Sorrow is the heritage of everyone. Uninvited we come into this world and unbidden we leave it”. – Buddha
    Rongthong Kuenley was really a man of dynamism who carried with him the highest quality of leadership in the political wisdom for the people suffering for a better change in the country. He had adequate working experience as he traveled his way throughout with diversity of race, culture, language and religion. He was a linguist in terms of regional dialects of Bhutan besides his excellence in Dzongkha language and historical background both in terms of political and spiritual values. Although I was not fortunate enough to carry on with him in exile, I owe him for what I am today, and where I am in this era of modern Bhutan. Had it not been for him, I would not have opened my eyes in terms of political and social aspects of wisdom in life.
    To briefly recall my relationship with him while in Bhutan, he had always maintained highly diplomatic relationship with several government heads particularly those in contact with the palace. It was during my tenure with the High Court, Royal Insurance and the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry that he also maintained his close relationship with me until he left into exile.
    I was a fan of him in terms of his articulation and the way he could influence people that brought him in the influential circle. Further, by virtue of his father’s close association with the 3rd monarch, he had the opportunity of being associated with ruling circle and the elites during his life inside Bhutan.
    I have lot other memories to share about my relationship while in Bhutan.
    It was however unfortunate of me to have been associated with him for a very limited time.
    His untimely demise is not only a great loss to every one inside and in diaspora, but also to the Bhutanese movement as a whole. It is more than a sun set for the people aspiring to bring about change in the country and repatriate those genuine and aspiring citizens belonging to Bhutan.

    May his departed soul find the destination to the Buddha field in peace.

    ༉ བློ་འཕམ་སེམས་གསོ་ཞུ་བ།
    ད་རེས་ སྤྱི་ཚེས་༡༩,༡༠,༢༠༡༡གི་ནུབ་མོ་ ཆུ་ཚོད་༡༡ལུ་ རོང་ཐོང་ཀུན་ལེགས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ ཚེ་ཚད་མ་འཛིན་པར་ མི་རྟགས་ལམ་དུ་ཐལ་བ་དེ་ལུ་ ང་བཅས་ འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དམངས་གཙོ་ཚོགས་པའི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་ བློ་འཕམ་དང་ སེམས་གསོ་སྦོམ་ཡོད།
    ཁོ་རང་ མ་འདས་སོན་པོའི་དུས་ཚོད་དེ་ནང་ལུ་ འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཁབ་ལུ་ དམངས་གཙོ་རིང་ལུགས་དང་ འགྲོ་བ་མིའི་ཐོབ་ཐངས་གཞི་གཙུགས་འབད་ནིའི་ སེམས་ཤུགས་ཅན་གྱི་མི་ངོ་ ང་བཅས་རའི་གྲལ་ལས་ གནམ་མཁའི་འཇའ་ཡལཝ་དེ་ཡལ་སོང་མི་དེ་གྱིས་ འབྲུག་གི་ཉམ་ཆུང་མི་རིགས་ཡོངས་དང་ དམངས་གཙོ་ངོ་མའི་ལཱ་དོན་ལུ་བརྩོན་ཤུགས་ཡོད་པའི་ འབྲུག་ཕྱི་ནང་གཉིས་ལུ་ཡོད་མི་ཆ་མཉམ་ལུ་གྱོངས་རྒུད་སྦོམ་ཕོག་ཅིས།
    རོང་ཐོང་གི་བརྟན་གྲོགས་ ཤུལ་ལུས་ ཨམ་ཚེ་རིང་དང་ བུ་དང་བུམོ་ ཉེཝ་འཁོར་དང་བཅས་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ལུ་ འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་ཡོངས་དམངས་གཙོ་ཚོགས་པའི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས་ མྱ་ངན་དང་སེམས་གསོ་སྦོམ་ཡོད་ཟེར་ཞུ་ནི་ཨིན་ལགས།

    གཙོ་འཛིན་ གིས་གཙོས་པའི་ཚོགས་པའི་འཐུས་མི་གེ་ར་གི་ཁ་ཐུག་ལས།

    Thinley Penjore.

  5. I am really shocked to hear this tragic, unexpected and sudden demise of Dasho Ron thong Kinley Dorji (RKD) amidst the pious fight to establish true democracy in Bhutan. We were never informed that RKD was sick or hospitalized. The pronouncement of his death gave a severe jolt in my feeling. Dorji ji was a true nationalist and patriot of Bhutan. His contribution for establishing human-rights and democracy in Bhutan was unflinching.
    I also got couple of chances to meet and talk with Dorji and undoubtedly he was committed sincere and grassroots leader. The nation should be grateful to have such a charismatic leader, who was a visionary, dynamic and above all he was a great statement. Definitely, the citizen should feel honor to have him as our leader and I myself feel obliged for having him my political guru.
    There are not enough words to adequately express his goodness and the services that he rendered for the Bhutanese community.
    I feel that the almighty should have spared his life for some more years so that he could have accomplished the divine task of establishing vibrant democracy in Bhutan. Now, I think his death should generate positive energy within and outside Bhutan, so that his soul can rest in peace for materializing his cherish goal.
    The atrocities perpetrated by the RGOB and the subsequent jail term in Thiar Jail in India by the authority steered to deteriorate his health and ultimately led him to the death trap.
    I and my family pray that his departed soul attain eternal peace and at this crucial hour the almighty should give enough courage to tolerate this irreparable loss.

    DB Adhikari

  6. My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Dorji. And to the Bhutanese community living in exile for the loss of one of their leaders. I know by all that my Bhutanese friends have told me that Mr. Dorji was of great importance to the Bhutanese.
    He will be remembered as a peaceful fighter for a better Bhutan. May his soul find the peace that he was not given on this earth.

    Alice Verheij
    writer, director of Headwind

  7. “No one ever really dies as long as they took the time to leave us with fond memories”.Chris Sorensen is right in his line. And I felt that late Rongthong Kinley Dorji had lived a historic life. Late Kinley lived most reverend life serving (advocating) for Human right and Democracy.

    Albeit, this is a great loss for the Bhutanese in exile yet, the path he walked is a source of inspiration and greatest contribution, for those who wish to die the death of dignity and respect. History doesn’t judge person How Long one lived rather how ideal s/he lived.
    Now it’s high time for us to review on our outlook and see where we stand. (Do we stand for the Humanity or merely as human being?) It is you and I to shape history. Let the departed soul rest in peace and the bereaved family gets the strength to bear the loss. Mehlam Tashi

  8. I K.B.Chauhan would like to express my utmost condolences to Aum Tshiring, Dechan and young sons and other bereaved family of Dakho Rongthong Kuenly Dorji. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this time must be for you and your family. I know Rongthong Kuenly Dorji was a great man. Not only was he a good husband and a father he was a great leader. The Bhutan Democratic movement lost a charismatic leader whose absence will be felt deeply by the freedom loving people of Bhutan.

    I have known Rongthong Kuenly personally since a long time ago in Bhutan. I have vivid memories of us in April 17, 1980 in the meeting taken place in Banquet Hall at Thimpu. I also had an opportunity to meet him in Kathmandu, Jhapa, and New Delhi. I can never forget the moments spent with him. His dedication to uplift the country and bring democracy was outstanding. Even though he was a renowned man with such a high position, he never hesitated to help his people. His continuous effort to help the Bhutanese refugee to return back to their homeland was very inspiring. This shows what kind of man he truly was. His mind, heart and body continuously fought for the democracy of Bhutan.

    May his soul rest in peace. I strongly hope and pray that if he has rebirth in Bhutan, the fruit of democracy will be sweeter than ever and that Bhutan will be a peaceful place than he had left.

    I hope God sends his almighty powers to strengthen your family in times of need.

    K.B Chauhan (Ex. NAM)
    Phoenix, AZ, USA

  9. It is a shockingly sad news to hear the untimely demise of Dasho Rongthong Kuenley Dorji, the Founding President of Druk National Congress.

    I and my family would like send our heartfelt Condolences to the aggrieved Family Members and Relatives of Dasho Rongthong, a caring and loving husband and father, and a stalwart leader of the Bhutanese masses. May his soul be one with the Most Merciful and the Most Enlightened Almighty in His Heavenly Abode.

    Heartfelt Condolences to the Druk National Congress members on this profound loss of the Founding President. This is an immense loss to the Bhutanese people within and outside Bhutan, enshrining the ideals of Human Rights and Democracy in Bhutan for which Dasho Rongthong stood amongst all peace loving Gandhian leaders all over the world. His struggle for the institution of human rights and democracy in Bhutan are written in gold at the most critical three decades of Bhutanese history when a racist regime became paranoid and persecuted thousands of peace-loving citizens to fulfill its own whims and fancies.

    May God give strength to Dasho Aum, their children and other family members to bear this immense loss of a loving husband and caring father.

    With prayers for the Departed Soul of Dasho Rongthong.

    Praja Shapkota

    & Family (Pabitra, Ajaya & Ujjwal)

  10. Dear friends,

    It is really a great loss to the people and nation. I urge all to launch powerful movements to accomplish the unfinished agenda of late Dorji. My deep condelence to the bereaved family members, kins and the co-workers of the departed soul. May the departed soul rest on eternal peace and tranquility! I mourn!

  11. Dasho is an honor, value recognition of a person be it from people or any other institution. Do you think that the title assigned by the royals only carry the worth of a person?
    I feel ashamed of the title assigned by tyrant king who chose a person as per their affinity without considering the qualities of a person. Such a bias nomination is too ridiculous for a decent person.
    So Dear Mr. Tenzin Dorji, we the Bhutanese people, very wholeheartedly gave this honor in recognition of his immense contribution. He is extraordinary person, not a mediocre like your K-4.

  12. RKD by virtue of his selfless services to mankind, specially to the Bhutanese community, we consider it worth honoring this title.I also hate the title conferred by the king on the ground of his personal judgment.This u know how bias is the king, who has the recorded history of conferring red scarfs,title and pathang only to his hunch men.I bet u have not seen any extra-ordinary person in Bhutan of ordinary status got this honor from the king. The obvious reason is he is not a king’s man.
    I know for sure, that person like Tenzin Dorji, used to the way of king,seems no vision out of the kingship and Bhutan. Therefore,is no wonder for me on his thinking as how RKD got the title of Dasho. Tenzin, think globally act locally, that’s what I like to say.

  13. Dear all,
    RKD is the true traitor of Bhutan and he have to pay back more than Nu 11 million to Bhutanese government. He had against the country, people and King.

    even if did treason work in 1990s yet he was released and forgetting about this, he went to Nepal to form party which this party will never gain independent from Bhutan.
    He sent letter to Bhutan stating: “With the tone of regret and reconciliation…..”
    I don’t pay condolences for the death of Traitor
    and but he too regretted a lot for misdeeds.
    Long Live our King of Bhutan, People and Government

  14. Dear King-Zang,

    Below is text of Rongthong Kunley Dorji’s original lett in full, just to put your “with regret and reconcillation” perspective straight.

    13rd October, 2011

    Their Majesties, the Kings and Queens;
    The Hon’ble Prime Minister;
    The Council of Ministers;
    Members of Parliament;
    And the People of Bhutan.

    Your Majesties, Excellencies, Hon’ble Members, Brothers and Sisters,

    The last 20 years has been a momentous political journey for Bhutan and its people, with the final resultant changes laying a foundation for a promising future for all Bhutanese. I will not go into the nitty-gritty’s of the sequence of events – we all know this only too well.

    As far as my own personal journey in this is concerned, despite the Royal Government’s veil to shroud the facts, everyone is aware of the truth – the truth of what wrongs were committed, against whom, and by whom.

    At the onset, this road that I was compelled to travel, began, in all ignorance, as a means to get even for the wrongs committed against me. I didn’t quite know that this would slowly evolve into a profound path, with the most profound consequences – for Bhutan and its people, and for myself.

    Today, my personal samsaric ambitions of the last two decades – that of ushering Bhutan from an absolute Monarchy, to a Constitutional Democracy under Constitutional Monarchy for the benefit of all the people of Bhutan, have been achieved. But I have had this tremendous good fortune of also contemplating on my karmic journey. And I deeply thank all the Bhutanese people, inside and outside Bhutan, who have extended to me, their support and goodwill.

    While at the logical, samsaric level, we attribute the wrongs committed against oneself to the perpetrators, we also know that, at a Dharmic level – as Buddhists, that the suffering one has to endure, is a consequence of one’s karma, with the “perpetrators” merely acting out their roles as catalysts and giving design to their own karma.

    For me, I think, and I hope, that my karmic consequences have come as a blessing for all the Bhutanese people. And this for me is glorious redemption.

    Even so, I am human, and there are these fleeting moments, again in all Dharmic ignorance, when I still am overtaken by thoughts of bitterness towards my wrong-doers.

    Age is catching up with all of us. My own health too, might not allow me too much time to redeem myself of these constant momentary negative contemplations. And I also do not want to let too much time slip by, for we know not what tomorrow might have in store for us.

    Thus, with my body, speech and mind, and as far as my mortal human capacities allow me to, I hereby forgive all those who have wronged me, all those who have conspired together with those who have wronged me, all those who were forced to collaborate with those who have wronged me, and all those who have, by way of ignorance or otherwise, desired ill-will towards me.

    And if I, knowingly or unknowingly, have caused hurt or harm to anybody by my aspirations or actions, seek forgiveness of them.

    To my country and my people, I pray: may all the Gods, Goddesses, Guardians and Protectors, and all Those of cosmic lineage who command co-incidence, always guide and protect you; may your negative karma, and your outer, inner and secret obstacles, be pacified and cleared; may your positive karma, and your positive aspirations and actions, consequence glorious merit; may the times ahead bring you good fortune, prosperity, happiness and peace, and may all be auspicious for you.

    Rongthong Kunley Dorji

  15. Long Live the hero of Democracy. Bhutan being Buddhis courtry had strayed away from true democratic spirit of Buddhism ,a universal religion of universal ethics , a pure secural philosophy…….Mr Rongthong will remain alive forever in the heart of all dieheart humanists and democratic people…..

    Shagun Kumar Roopak

  16. Dasho Rongthong Kinley Dorji was a highly respectable personnel in Eastern Bhutan S/jongkhar. His demise in Manipal Hospital in Sikkim shocked us, his love for democracy inspite of monarchy in Bhutan led him to leave the country, although he was sherchhokpa, his love for Southern Bhutanese (lhotsampa) was true his contributions for democracy would remain alive forever.

    BCNH Manchester USA

  17. Rongthong Kinley is good man gone wrong….Dasho whether like it not should be conferred by King. If you don’t like use Mr… just like a US president.

    The Tittle sir is used only after conferring of knighthood by British Queen. The 7 lakhs in people is nt grieving. what do you guys mean by ‘whole nation grieves’. May be hole nation grieves.
    Not only you screwed up opportunity of Southern Bhutanese, you screwed up yourselves. The truth is with regime..that is why, you can’t be repatriated. If Bhutan is wrong, International Community would have acted.

    Anyway, my condolence is a great man gone Bad..Hope He find peace in the heaven of fire.