Prime Minister issues executive order directing all government meetings be held in Dzongkha

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay issued an executive order last Friday, directing that all government meetings and official correspondences be conducted in Dzongkha. The order also requires translation services or translated documents for foreigners attending meetings. The directive emphasises the urgent need to promote the national language.

The executive order states that the responsibility to promote Dzongkha is not limited to a specific agency; rather, it calls upon all citizens to unite in recognising and championing the national language.

The order also notes that in 1993, His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, recognising the importance of preserving and promoting the national language, issued a Royal Decree mandating that all government offices draft their plans and policies in Dzongkha.

Additionally, past governments have issued several executive orders mandating the use of Dzongkha for all official purposes.

Meanwhile, people had their say on the government’s decision.

“These days, many kids are exposed to the English language through YouTube and games. They do not use Dzongkha that much, which hinders the promotion of Dzongkha. Therefore, I feel that to promote Dzongkha, we should use it consistently, starting from schools to various organisations,” said Budharaj Kafley, a resident of Thimphu.

“Our national language is an important aspect of our culture and religion. Prioritising our language is akin to serving our country. The responsibility of promoting Dzongkha should not fall solely on monks, Dzongkha development offices, and a few agencies. It would be greatly beneficial if all offices and civil servants in the country speak Dzongkha, following the PM’s recent directives,” said Pema Wangchuk, a monk.

“If we have to speak Dzongkha, we, the youth, are not very good. And if we are asked to speak in English, we do not do that well either. So, we must take good care of our national language,” said Deki Lhazom, another resident of Thimphu.

The Third Druk Gyalpo declared Dzongkha the national language of Bhutan when the country joined the United Nations in 1971.

Kinzang Lhadon

Edited by Sherub Dorji

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