A. Read the following text and answer the questions.

Bhutan is called the Jewel of the Eastern Himalayas. This small, landlocked country is located along the southern slopes of the Himalayan range, bounded by Tibet in the North and India from the other sides. The official name of Bhutan is Druk-yul which means ‘land of the thunder dragon’. It earned this name because of the fierce storms that often roll in from the Himalayas.

The country has an area of 38,394 sq km and a population of 716,896. Since it is cut off from the rest of the world by the Great Himalayas, a unique culture and tradition based on gentle Buddhist beliefs have evolved there over time.

Bhutanese men wear Gho – a knee length robe – and women wear Kira-a sheet like cloth piece.

Bhutanese houses are built from mud and stone, with wooden shingle roof. The Bhutanese never use iron nails in their buildings. Usually, the Bhutanese build each other’s houses by exchanging labour within the community. Different Festivals are celebrated all year round in Bhutan. Colourful masks are used in the festivals which reflect the rich Bhutanese culture. Dances are performed by the Buddhist monks to protect the valleys and ward off evil spirits. The main religious festival is called Tshechus. The teachings of Lord Buddha are enacted through mask dances for three to five days in the courtyard of the monasteries. People attend these events in their best clothes, carrying picnic baskets. Another major festival is called Losar. It is celebrated on Lunar New Year. People cook special dishes and wear new clothes. It is a time for family get-together. Men play archery or darts while women sing and dance.

SSC English First Paper | Unit Six | Lesson: 05 | Our Neighbours | Bhutan: The land of happiness

Pure mountain air, crystal blue skies and pristine vegetation cover have made this small country an ideal destination for the environment lovers. The ecosystem of this small nation supports the existence of rich flora and fauna which are protected by strict laws. Anyone found guilty of killing even a black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.
The government of Bhutan has taken a number of steps to protect its bio-diversity.

Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. According to the constitution, at least 60 percent of the country must remain under forest cover at all times. Efforts are also taken to protect the nation against the intrusion of foreign cultures and values. The first foreign tourists were allowed into Bhutan in 1974. Now, tourism is encouraged but is controlled and limited to about 6,000 visitors a year. Bhutan is one of the last countries in the world to introduce television and the Internet to its people. The government lifted a ban on TV and the Internet only in 1999. The Bhutanese government has made it mandatory for all Bhutanese to wear only their national dress in public.

Finally, the most interesting fact about Bhutan is that they are the only country that measures success in Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product! In 2006, Business Week rated Bhutan as the happiest country in Asia and the eighth happiest country in the world.

B. Choose the most suitable answer for each of the questions below.

1. A unique culture and tradition has evolved in Bhutan because
a. fierce Himalayan storms often hit the country.
b. it is cut off from the other parts of the world.
c. it has a very small area.
d. it is called the Jewel of the Eastern Himalayas.

2. Bhutanese houses are built from
a. mud, stone, woods with iron nails,
b. a sheet of cloth and wooden roof,
c. mud and stone with wooden roof,
d. bamboo and wood.

3. Which of the following activities is mentioned as a way of celebrating Losar.
a. cooking special dishes and wearing new clothes
b. playing chess and badminton
c. having a trip to the neighbouring households
d. harvesting crops

4. According to Bhutan’s constitutional obligations
a. 60% of the country must remain under forest cover.
b. foreign nationals are not allowed to visit Bhutan even now.
c. citizens can not use the Internet in their houses.
d. people must always wear traditional Bhutanese clothes.

5. The progress of Bhutan as a nation is measured by
a. Gross National Income.
b. Gross National Happiness.
c. Gross National Product,
d. Per Capita Income.

If you want read the next unit please click the link below:
Unit Seven: People who stand out

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