A haven of happiness?

In: Uncategorized

20 Apr 2008

A useful reminder in today’s Observer (London) that Bhutan is not the haven of happiness that many of its admirers assume. Bhutan’s Buddhist regime is often lauded for making Gross National Happiness rather than economic growth a national goal. However, the article tells us that:

“behind its facade of otherworldly charm, Bhutan holds a secret. Twenty years ago, its monarchy, threatened by an increase in Bhutan’s ethnic Nepalese population, hit on a simple solution: ethnic cleansing. Families who had been living in Bhutan for generations were stripped of their citizenship. One hundred thousand Hindu Bhutanese – around one sixth of the country’s entire population – were driven into exile and their land redistributed among the Drukpas, Bhutan’s Buddhist elite.”

There are also fears of another wave of expulsions while the ethnic Nepalese within the country suffer systematic discrimination. Non-citizens are denied the right to vote, freedom of movement, the ability to start a business and education.

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