Organized Panel Session
The paper offers an examination of inclusion of literary works in English by Bhutanese authors in the national syllabus in an effort to better understand the relationship between the country’s national identity and literature. The English curriculum in Bhutanese schools was influenced by the syllabus in Indian institutions until the last decade. In an attempt to move away from the Indian influence and create a ‘nationalist’ syllabus, a major revision was undertaken in 2006. One of the principle shifts during the revision was the inclusion of literature in English written by Bhutanese authors. This paper presents a review of the available literature and close reading of texts included in the English curriculum, Kunzang Choden’s Dawa – The story of a stray dog in Bhutan and the autobiographical poem, The lyrical ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi translated by Karma Ura, due to the scarcity of critical work on Bhutanese literature. The study examines the themes and issues that are prevalent in the literary works, and posits that the inclusion of these works exposes students to new English that appropriately expresses indigenous Bhutanese experiences. This inclusion of literature written by Bhutanese authors in the English syllabus eventually also contributed to the establishment of the country's 'national' literature.