‘There are no signs of democracy in Bhutan’

Professor Bhattarai

One of the senior professors of Kathmandu-based Tribhuvan University (TU) has ruled out existence of any signs of democracy in Bhutan.

Professor Bhattarai

Professor Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai, who had also taught Nepali language for a few years in Bhutan in early 1970s, expressed that “the country may have peace, but it lacks democracy”.

“There are no any signs of democracy in Bhutan. The citizens lack right to practice their own religion. The media have not become independent,” Prof. Bhattarai told Bhutan News Service during an exclusive interview with him by journalist Binod Dhungel.

According to him, Bhutan has always curtailed people from enjoying their right to speech and expression.

“The citizens are compelled to accept the fake democratic practices which have been totally imposed by the state authority,” he added, expressing some hopes for true changes in long-run.

He further said, “I am optimistic that true democratic practices would prevail in the kingdom. But, they won’t appear immediately. I fear that citizens’ sufferings may continue for a longtime.”

In another context, Prof. Bhattarai blamed exiled leaders of lacking sincerity and dedication towards the ongoing democratic struggle in Bhutan, saying it was their mistake to opt resettlement in the west.

However, he expressed his hope that the Bhutanese diaspora would keep on pressing the regime through various means and mechanisms.

Prof. Bhattarai is the author of famous Nepali novel ‘Muglan’ that he had written at the age of 21 in 1974. Its English translation has recently appeared in the Nepalese book market.

The Muglan features pathetic lives of lead characters duo (Sutar Kancha and Thule), who are tricked into working for a local contractor believing that he would get them enrolled in the British Army. However, they find themselves as road workers constructing a road from Paro to Haa, where they work for some years in appalling conditions before they decide to run away.

The novel has clearly depicted sufferings of Nepali-speaking Bhutanese and their contributions in bringing Bhutan to the present stage.


  1. Professor Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai i want to c u in person ….i really want to know u …in which era are u living …first go talk about country…ur government is corrupted ur ppl are crazy they killed they own king the don’t follow any rule..so i think its your freedom to speech and action that u say Bhutan lack….As a Bhutanese citizen i have right to speech and action but we don’t need to go on strike and shut the whole country down to change a rule our king is there for us and we respect his wisdom and his rule ……so plz look at ur own country cause ur south of country is filled with Indian and north by china hopeful they will teach u guys some lesson to think about ur country first…..u need c ur old map and now present more that more 100km of ur land has taken by Indian go take some action there…we are peace loving ppl but if u point a finger at us we wont be afraid to show u our fist…..

  2. Good to read this. And equally nice to see my dear friend Binod Dunghel interviewing the honorable professor Bhattarai who I had the pleasure to interview in 2011 for the upcoming film ‘Headwind’.

    Happy to learn that ‘Muglan’ is finally published in English after so many years.

  3. We do not want a democracy that exist in Nepal. There is strife, there is strike….thats why democracy need not be true like yours. What the prof say is bullshit and why there is so much chaos in Nepal. Why can’t the prof be your leader and make your country peaceful.

    It is shit to blame others when you do not have one.

  4. Bhutanese citizens whether it is Nepali speaking, Dzongkha speaking or Sarchop speaking are living in Nepal some as citizens and some as refugees. In 60s and 70s Ngalongs landed in Nepal to save their lives from the Wangchuck kings. Similarly, many drukpas landed here to save life from the Royal wrath. Lhotshampas landed here as refugees when they raised issues of human rights and democracy. So, who is there in Bhutan to say they have democracy? Who can say there is human rights?

    Prof says the truth. But, it is not necessary to win heart of Bhutanese people who are core-group of ruling family.

    Nepal is fighting to establish her new born Democratic Republic. It takes times. But, Nepal has not sold lands to keep royal throne to continue anti-people rule like Bhutan king did by giving lands in Dhansiri and Gaylegphug to India. These are many examples.

    Secondly, lessons should be learn and correct Bhutan’s image by her people, but, why timidity and thoughtless comments where truth is told by prof.?

    I have found most of the comments from Bhutanese drukpas are negative. They think Bhutan has only one community.

    They think Bhutan can survive without other communities. They think Bhutan has everything. They think they are powerful and prosperous and happy and peace.
    But, I hear cries, chaos, confusion and calamities in Bhutan. I see lots of difficult time ahead of Bhutan until Bhutan removes cruel Royal Regime and make Bhutan congenial for all. God Bless you.

  5. गोविन्दराज भट्टराईको मुग्लान तीन पटकसम्म पढे | मीठो लाग्गो| आनन्द लागो | सतार कान्छा…..सजिलो भाषामा हाम्रा हजुरबाबुहरु , बाबुहरू.. मामाहरु काकाहरु को कथा |मुग्लान पसेका नेपालीको कथा ,एउटा जिउदो इतिहास .| सतार कान्छाहरुले पसिना बगाए , रागत बगाए, झम्पल गईती र कोदालासंग हातका ठेला साटे कतीले वीरमा हड्डी घोटे….मरे ……| तर सतार गरिबीका प्रतिनिधी पात्र . .. गरिबीका दैनिक अखबार ……. पैरोमा अल्झेरको अम्लिसो मात्र ..हुनसके ………..कती कारुणिक | सतार कान्छाहरुलाई आभावले छोडेन .आनिकलले छोडेन … रागत र पसिनाले उमारेको परिचय खोस्यो …. अन्याले बगायो ………अझ कती कती ….|

    म त सतार कान्छाको ससुराली गाऊको मान्छे …..सिमानाको कथा| आफ्नै गाऊको कथा | आफ्नै बारीको कथा| आफ्नै आगनको कथा| …एउटा गोठ को कथा .|….एउटा नाम्लो को गीत ….कती मिठो …..कती मिठो .| यो अंग्रजी संस्करण पनि पदन पाए सुनमा सुगन्ध ………….

    हाल …. दोरोखा साम्ची भुटान

  6. Dear fdsa ppoiuq,

    Tapai samchi bata bolnu bhayeko. Aaajha samma samchi bata aaune byakti… ko esto mitho nepali sunna payeko thiyena.

    Dherai aatma bal badcha jaba thaa paincha ki tapai jastai byakti haru ajhai Bhutan ma hununcha.


  7. There is no democracy in Bhutan.yeah you are right prof. This government is nasty basterd who is saying international community that there is democracy in Bhutan.i never feel like that since live in this nation.i cannot speak freely,i don’t ve any religious right and many more.i don’t know why the poeple my country are still sleeping.Bhutanese people are in suffering with great pain since from 112 years.This nasty Dynasty should go and everybody wants that but no one can speak.no one is happy in this nation.

  8. Thank you professor! Truth to be told. We Bhutanese are still accepting a nation ruled by generation of single family.

    I always respect and honor the unification brought by 1st King of Bhutan-Ugyen Wangchuck (1862–1926), but that does not imply that we still need to bow down his generations. The problem is we still believe in generational power, and the king ship government in our country, now this crooks are taking these as big advantage.

  9. Bhutanese this side of the world like to have better caring father than a mindless father who goes for intoxication of chaotic power.What do you mean democracy,a chaotic anarchy or an oligarchy?
    Bhutan and Bhutanese history is unique politically,socially,religiously and educationally!Thanks to our Royals who poineered this tiny nation in very apecial way and showed us the directions of mordernization!We appreciate it,we embrace it,we preserved it and we defend it.
    We dont want to create it another nepali dominated nation.
    So do understand it! We here like to wear gho n kira nad speak dzongkha by which upholds our unique identity!

  10. I am very very very very very very…..proud to be a Bhutanese…Bhutan has a unique democracy where the leaders around the world appreciates. Bhutan need not be worried by baseless and useless comments of Bhattarai who is a common man. World leaders are not fools….they appreciate the Bhutanese democracy because they really see democracy in Bhutan. I don’t know from which angle this useless professor is looking from.