The Fortune India
Lifestyle

HAPPINESS: A FLAWED WESTERN PERSPECTIVE OR AN AGENDA

Sri K Siddhartha

Attributed to Sri K Siddhartha, A Polymath, Earth & Space Scientist, Advisor to multiple governments, Author of 50 books& Mr. Naleen Chandra has been an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

So, the World Happiness Report is out and Indians are not happy people at all.

A position of 126 brings so much happiness to the West. The happiness report created showcases Finland as being most happy, USA and Germany are not even in the top 20. The World Happiness Index has ranked India 126 out of 137 countries, assessing us as one of the least happy countries in the world. According to this report, India is far more unhappy than terribly strife-ridden in many bankrupt countries Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

The World Happiness Report is a tool that attempts to quantify and compare the happiness levels of different countries,

It examines factors such as marital status, social engagement, and physical health also influence life satisfaction among older Indians. Notably, satisfaction with living arrangements emerges as a critical factor, reflecting the strong desire among older Indians to age in place and maintain autonomy and social bonds. This study challenges the notion that age-related satisfaction is exclusive to high-income nations and underscores the importance of considering diverse factors affecting life satisfaction among older adults in India

The report tries to (although with a blinkered vision) provide valuable insights into the well-being of populations. The report tries to remind the significance of prioritising the happiness and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances.

The geniuses who have created the report see many factors determining happiness: per capita income (favouring rich countries, the assumption being that the richer the happier, ad infinitum), charity (again, rich countries give more), corruption (a separate issue, what the west calls legal lobbying business), social welfare benefits (rich countries have more, so they will win again), and how independent you feel to make decisions (individualistic western societies will score well and our collectivist societies will not)…

Has the West actually understood the meaning of happiness?

They actually seem aeons away from understanding happiness in cross-cultural forms, particularly of Indian people and their psyche.

As with everything, there is a fundamental difference between the Western and Indian perspectives on happiness.

West says that

  • Happiness can be calculated.
  • Happiness is measurable.
  • Happiness can be determined.
  • The happiness culture is to be glamourised.
  • Only money and money-enabled criteria matter in happiness.

Is it so??

As if money could buy happiness.

A higher GDP per capita is all about being happy.

To know how people feel happy and show it in India, see the closeness of grandparents to grandchildren. How happy they are and how much they sacrifice to feel happy.

Someone asked Narayan Murthy how happy he must have felt by donating his 400 crores to his grandchild.

How do you measure that?

Or see us celebrate our festivals? Come this Holi, and you and one will find overjoyous people in all normal and outlandish activities.

One can observe the genuine happiness and joy on grandparents’ faces as they spend time with their grandchildren, showing how true happiness comes from relationships and connections. Similarly, the act of selfless giving, like Narayana Murthy’s generous donation to his grandson, demonstrates that true happiness can be found in helping others and making a positive impact on the world.

Or the peace people feel due to their relationship with Bhagwan? Ask those lakhs of devotees who cried seeing the statue of Bhagwaan Ram

Ask those spectators how they felt when Yashvi Jaisawal hit Anderson for three sixes in an over.

And ask millions of young teenagers when they have their aankhenchaar for the first time as a teenager.

Can they all be measured?

And the latest: ask all those who come to PM ModI’s rally to see him and to cheer him….PM Modi is promoting hope, security, and happiness for all.

All of these are intangible and cannot be measured. One has to be in India. And to anyone whose happiness report is shown, will ask this question: Europe mein ka ba? America mein ka baa?

In India, even when the income is low, the sense of happiness is very high. This is because happiness is eternal and spiritual.

The Happiness Report does not leave any doubt about the report being biased and with a hidden agenda. Additionally supporting this is the criteria and the process to measure is laughable.

It is a Gallup World Poll of people about where they currently are in life (on a scale of 1 to 10) versus where they could best possibly be (which would be a total of 10). I feel I can go higher in life or have aspirations; I am not where I can be I will give a low rating Hence, I am unhappy!

The poll asks these questions to 500–2,000 people per country: So, the views of 2,000 people on where they are in life versus where they could be could determine the global happiness rank of a country of 1,400,000,000+ like India.

The report is beset with ill logic, but, the world treats this report almost as if it is their Bible and Quran, even though it makes no sense.

The document has all the elements that are necessary for glamourising such reports. It it is colourful and well-designed, has many charts and tables and mentions heavy terms and words like regression coefficient, so as to make it thorough and academic, and is also laced with photos (and this is important) of people of different communities’ cultures and regions. In addition, the World Happiness Report claims to measure and rank the happiness levels of every country. There are photos that amount to a beautiful virtue-signalling of someone wanting a better world

Happiness is a big emotional word, having cross-cultural differences. But the report prepared shuns cross-cultural differences in happiness and takes a linear thinking stance completely aligned to financially rich countries whose richness is linked to their colonial loot,

Happiness can be fudged and can be used as a narrative exercise which the West specializes in and treats such narratives as a form of war.

But, yes, this is a happiness index because India has every reason to be happy.

Happy because it shows how jealous are the westerners towards India, happy because it showcases their conspiracy to put India down using every toolkit; happy because so much of a concerted effort is made to denigrate India in an institutionalized manner; happy that we Indians see how important we have grown and that falsification has become the norm; happy because we see that all these efforts won’t do any harm to our reputation.

India, despite being ranked as the least happy country, emerged as an unexpected hero in this scenario. With remarkable courage and determination, India’s brave men and women risked their lives to confront ruthless sea pirates and secure the release of hostages. This act of selflessness and compassion transcended national boundaries, capturing the hearts and minds of people even in Pakistan, a country with which India has a long-standing history of animosity.

This incident serves as a stark reminder that happiness is not merely a matter of personal satisfaction or material possessions. It is inextricably linked to a sense of purpose, empathy, and the ability to make a positive impact on the world. The true measure of a nation’s happiness lies not only in its wealth or social infrastructure but also in its capacity for altruism and its willingness to stand up for what is right, even in the face of danger.

In this light, India’s actions in the Arabian Sea resonate deeply. They demonstrate that genuine happiness is found not just in personal well-being but also in acts of courage and compassion that benefit others. It is a reminder that the pursuit of happiness is a multi-faceted journey that extends beyond individual fulfilment and embraces the welfare of the larger human community.

As we reflect on this situation, we must question the purpose and value of happiness if it does not motivate us to reach out and make a difference in the world. True happiness should extend beyond personal boundaries and inspire us to act with kindness, empathy, and a genuine desire to help those in need.

Such sentiments are interconnected and interdependent. Gratification provides us with the impetus to pursue our goals, contentment allows us to appreciate the fruits of our labour, and a sense of importance gives us the motivation to make a meaningful contribution to the world. When these sentiments are present in abundance, they create a fertile ground for effective administration, leading to a more harmonious, prosperous, and fulfilling society.

Imposing a perception, building a narrative on the basis of a report that is part of a toolkit, can only be a flawed concept, never be a report, but definitely an agenda.

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