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Hidden near the Himalayas between India and Tibet, the kingdom of Bhutan has long been shrouded in mystery. Sometimes called “the last Shangri-La,” it’s a lushly forested land where people wear traditional robes, where policy is guided by “Gross National Happiness,” and where Tantric Buddhist saints are celebrated with paintings of gigantic penises. But Bhutan is on the verge of change. This year, it will transform itself from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary democracy — a move that leaves many young Bhutanese puzzled and uneasy. “When His Majesty first informed us he was going to change the government, there were lots of people who couldn’t speak,” says one activist. “They wished it was just a dream.” Current Correspondent Christof Putzel travels to Bhutan to find out how young people are dealing with democracy, westernization, and other challenges to their unique national culture.

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