In July 2016, Madhya Pradesh became the first state to have a happiness department. What if the entire country had one?
“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”, says a quote at the Thimpu School of Traditional Arts. Bhutan added the concept of Gross National Happiness in 2008.
The king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuk ascended the throne at a very young age of nineteen in 1974, Bhutan was undergoing a massive transformation. Primarily an agrarian country, Bhutan was opening up to modernisation. This is when the king travelled on horseback and mingled with the common people to understand his folks better. It is sometime during these years that the idea for ‘Gross National Happiness’ came up.
The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Y. Thinley, who is credited for being the ambassador of the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) to the outside world, explains: “His Majesty, as a young king, would engage in conversation with civil servants, policy makers, and the citizens very frequently.”
An American economist, Med Jones, in 2005 proposed a concept of Gross-National Well Being and the first survey for the same. This formed the basis of various other welfare scheme in America.
Madhya Pradesh had become the first state last year to introduce the department of happiness, however it’s implementation is yet to show any results.
What if India had a Ministry of Happiness that only looked after the people’s state of mind? Science has proved that the productivity of people is more when they are happy. A happy, inspired person works more, works better. When the happiness of the people becomes the primary concern of the government, it will directly impact how the country performs.
India needs a Wangchuk, who is the head of the state and travels through the country to know what the people go through and how they live like.
No matter how great the country’s policies are and how well-developed the country is, if people aren’t happy, what’s the use? What is different between the robots and the people is happiness. And if India wants to let people remain ‘people’, it needs to have a ‘Gross National Happiness Index’.
While every nation has proper plans in place for infrastructure, education or for that matter even sewage, what most nations don’t have is plans for its citizens’ happiness. A study conducted in 2015 by University Of Warwick, stated that happiness led to 12% spike in productivity in people!
Not just that, just like today we are dealing with epidemics of swine flu and dengue, tomorrow we might be dealing with an epidemic of mental health!
With increasing numbers of people living with depression, isn’t a ministry of happiness the need of our time?
Think about it!