Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kingdom in the Himalayas

The World (PRI, April 13, 2011)

Thimphu Memorial Chorten (flickr image: Bhutan 360)

This landlocked former monarchy, the last Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, banned smoking (increasing felony sentences for smuggling tobacco to three years in prison), has a national dress code, and still practices archery (the national sport) because young Siddhartha, who became the Buddha, practiced this art. The country is Bhutan. The World's Mary Kay Magistad visited Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, to lodge a report.

The country is tough on tobacco. There is a ban on smoking in public places, and it is illegal to import or grow tobacco. Anyone caught smuggling it in could face a three-year term. As The World’s Mary Kay Magistad reports, many Bhutanese are wondering if the government is going too far. After all, the Gross National Happiness could be affected. Glimpses of Bhutan