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Queen Grandmother of Bhutan writes open letter to author of memoirs

The Queen Grandmother of Bhutan has spoken up against a “false and malicious” account of Bhutan’s history written by former Indian foreign secretary M.K. Rasgotra in his memoirs. The events described in the memoirs pertain to the assassination of the Prime Minister Jigme Dorji in April 1964. The Queen Grandmother was not only the wife of the current King at the time, but she was also the sister of the assassinated Prime Minister and the sister of his successor, Lhendup Dorji. According to the memoirs Lhendup Dorju sent an emissary to India to gauge whether they would support a bid to oust the King as revenge for the assassination. The request was dismissed by Rasgotra and Lhendup Dorji left Bhutan for Nepal in “voluntary exile”.

The Queen Grandmother felt she needed to refute the allegations as her brother was no longer alive to defend himself.

“Mr. Rasgotra has reduced the troubled and heartbreaking period in our lives from the time of the assassination of my brother Prime Minister Jigme Dorji in April 1964 and its aftermath into a simplistic narrative where Mr. Rasgotra plays the central role,” she wrote in her four-page letter.

“She feels very very hurt that after the loyalty our family, my father (the assassinated Prime Minster Jigme Dorji) and uncle (his successor as Prime Minister, Lhendup Dorji) have shown the royal family, that a book like this should be published in India that calls us treacherous,” said her nephew Benji Dorji.

Rasgotra said he “regrets any hurt caused” but insisted that his book was “factual”.

“In my book I have described events and situations I dealt with during limited periods of my assignments as Director (North) in MEA, Ambassador of India in Nepal and as India’s Foreign Secretary. The facts of which I have direct personal knowledge are as I have stated them in the book,” he said.

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