“Of the 23 years of my academic and writing career, I have known Bhutan for 16. I first visited Bhutan in 2006 and was amazed by its beauty and the changes it was gearing up for. At the initiative of its own King, Bhutan was preparing for its first ever democratic elections. The story of Bhutan’s democracy would become the most unique in the world and I wanted to tell it. Journalists and media agencies from around the world flocked in to cover the results. However, there were no academics like me interested in all the remarkable preparations that went into it. It was special for me to have lived in Bhutan and been a witness to the historic event. I thought it was important to create academic resources about such a transition, which would be of use to future generations. My interest in Bhutan over the years grew substantially. I wanted to learn more about the exceptional dynamics of a country that was mindful in its policies. Whether we analyse democracy, public policy or pandemic management, I have come to see how Bhutan is a good example of properly putting to use the resources that are available, even if they are scarce.

Apart from my academic relations, I believe that I have a spiritual connexion to the country. Even as a writer and poet who has many books under her name, I cannot find a precise word for it; it feels like a homecoming every time I land in Paro and pass by the Wangsisina rocks on my way to Thimphu. I have found a special solace in the mountains of Bhutan. As a child, my name Nitasha was shortened as “Tashi”. It would only be years later that I’d find out I had a Bhutanese name my whole life. My family still calls me Tashi.

More often than not, it’s my work that brings me to Bhutan. The many prolonged lockdowns that we’ve had here in the UK have been particularly difficult for me for various reasons. Some nights, I stand by my window in London and look out at the city with its towers and buildings in the distance. At such times, I imagine that I’m looking at the enchanting lights of the dzong, the illumination of the lhakhangs, and the outlines of the mountains; fancying that I am in Bhutan instead! ”

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