You are here because you either heard about Bhutan or the so-called Bhutanese Refugees. With the recent resettlement program offered by countries led by the USA, the so-called Bhutanese Refugees have reached many foreign lands from where they have sped up their smearing campaign against Bhutan using falsified information and lies. We, the people of Bhutan, no doubt sympathize with the plight of these people, but the lies and false information spread by these people may come to be believed as the 'truth' unless we offer the other side of the story too to the world. This website was born to meet this need and as such, we provide here links to many well-researched articles written by reliable scholars and journalists. In the end, truth must be told, and it must be the truth that should prevail.
While we the peace-loving people of Bhutan sit comfortably at home in the Himalayas, oblivious to what is happening around the world, the so-called Bhutanese refugees resettled in countries around the world are actively spreading false information about Bhutan. They continue telling the world media that Bhutan is a despotic kingdom which has committed "ethnic cleansing" and is continuing to discriminate ethnic Nepalese. And they write that they were in Bhutan from the time of the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (1594 - 1651) - the founder of the modern Bhutanese State.
These claims of Nepalese being in Bhutan at the time of Zhabdrung are far from the truth. Except for a few Newari craftsmen who came to build statues in some monasteries, no big group of Nepalese came to Bhutan during the time of Zhabdrung. These Newari craftsmen often left after the projects were completed, or even if they did, they did not settle in the south where most of the recent immigrants settled. Even if we were to agree that these craftsmen did settle in the south, how would a few Newari craftsmen multiply into so many Nepalese (over 150,000) in a few decades?
According to historical records left by British Officials Charles Bell and John Claude White, the first time Nepalese were spotted in Bhutan was around 1904 and 1905. Those few groups of Nepalese who were initially brought into southern Bhutan legally as labourers were known as 'Tangyas'. The 'Tangyas' and even those who followed them were granted citizenship by an Act of the National Assembly in 1958. So these people are genuine citizens of Bhutan. But the problem arose because many illegal immigrants seeped into Bhutan through the porous international border until as late as the early 1980s.
Having just started modern economic development in 1961, Bhutan lacked the resources as well as manpower to effectively administer, control and manage immigration across the porous border in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. This was being taken full advantage of by the illegal immigrants. To take stock of this unchecked illegal iratmmigration going on in the south, the Citizenship Act of 1985 was passed. It granted Bhutanese citizenship to all Nepalese immigrants, resident in Bhutan before 31 December 1958 in keeping with the spirit of the resolution of 1958. Any immigrant who came after this date were to be considered illegal and sent back to their original place.
Following this, a census was carried out and when many illegal immigrants caught, some refugee-leaders-to-be made a big political agitation with their support base in the neighbouring Nepali dominated areas of Kalimpong and Darjeeling. And that is how the southern Bhutan problem of the 1990s started.
This coincided with the time when they had their own big plan too. According to a journalist, "Leaving Bhutan in droves was Stage I of the Plan. Coming back to Bhutan in force of numbers and on their terms was supposed to be Stage II.
Many of the refugees-to-be wholeheartedly supported this plan. The concept of a Greater Nepal featured prominently in the delusions of the Nepalese diaspora those days, encouraged no doubt by the successes of the Gorkhaland movement in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Many of them relished the idea of Bhutan going the Sikkim way. Kanak M. Dixit, a prominent editor from Nepal even wrote a cover page article on Bhutan revealingly titled “House of Cards” that seemed to foresee imminent collapse in Bhutan (Kanak Mani Dixit: House of cards: fearing for Bhutan. Himal Vol.7 No 4, July/August 1994.). Such sentiments had to be carefully hidden however, and not surprisingly were heatedly denounced as some Bhutan Government's bogey.
Despite the fact that their leaders had a big role to play in leading Nepalese out from Bhutan to Nepal for their 'big plan', the refugees keep claiming that they were forcefully evicted by the Bhutanese military. In this age of information, such lies can do great harm to Bhutan if we do not take measures to tell our side of the stories too. There is a risk that even our own people (especially the younger generation) would be misinformed.
Every country has its own immigration laws. Bhutan was only trying to implement its immigration laws. All countries deport illegal immigrants. Bhutan only wanted the illegal immigrants to go back to where they came from. In that respect, Bhutan did not do anything wrong. The need for Security Clearance also exists even in developed countries for the security of the country.
People are naturally attracted to peaceful places with economic opportunities. This is the reason why many people from poor and chaotic countries are trying to go to the US. In South Asia, without doubt, Bhutan is the best country to live in. So, it is only natural that it will attract illegal immigrants from the crowded surrounding areas. And it indeed did. And if we are not careful, more illegal immigrants will come in the future too.
To make the matter worse, Bhutan's population is too small to absorb any large number of immigrants. We have the real risk of becoming a minority in our own land. Remember that there are around 30 million Nepalese in Nepal and over 10 million ethnic Nepalese settled in Indian states bordering Bhutan. Compare this with just around 0.6 million of us in Bhutan. We are like just a drop in the ocean. For our culture's continuity and country's future survival, we have to understand this fact and never take things for granted. This does not mean that we have to discriminate against Bhutanese of Nepalese origin. Not at all. We have to respect them and treat them like you would treat any other Bhutanese (This is happening now as any visitor to Bhutan would testify), but we just have to be aware of our country's problems from a global perspective whether it is to find solutions to existing problems or to forge ahead with the vision of Gross National Happiness.
Please enjoy browsing through the articles and papers in the website from the menu on the right pane of this website.