22 December 2015

Gross National Happiness: Nation's Notion of Happiness for All

"Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross National Product (GNP)" ~ His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck

"Today, GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people but to me it signifies simply- Development with Values. Thus for my nation today GNH is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth. GNH acts as our National Conscience guiding us towards making wise decision for a better future." ~ His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck
 My little say-so on BIG GNH...
History of Gross National Happiness
An ideal idea of Gross National Happiness(GNH) was coined by the Fourth Dragon King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the year 1972 principally  and pre-eminently to define happiness of the nation in more broader means in terms of Self-Internal Happiness. He was more interested in individual's happiness that he boldly said, "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National product."

Four Pillars of Gross National Happiness
The fact about GNH is that the every individual must consistently, persistently strive for the ultimate jewel: Happiness through innumerable ways, both psychologically and physiologically. So to keep the roof and root of GNH in equilibrium, there are four bold pillars namely;
         1. Sustainable and Equitable Socio-Economic Development,
         2. Conservation of the Natural Environment,
         3. Preservation and Promotion of Culture and
         4. Good Governance.

As the nation gets exposed to the rays of modernization, its economic development has become a will of necessity for its constant survival among other nations. The basic infrastructures and social services: road, health, education and agriculture have started to grow rapidly and the nation has been taking a challenging time adjusting with its geographical terrain. Moreover, the notion of green-economy has been built in our minds to cultivate sustainable and equitable socio-economic development.

There is a great need for the nation to build healthy economic wealth and it is very important for the nation to get involved in economic activities. The hydro-electric project has been the greatest source of nation's wealth to enhance the overall development and other sources such as agriculture productions and tourism(through culture and environment) have also added a lot.

It is a need for every being to know the importance of natural environment because it is the source of life for one and all. Our health purely depends upon the health of environment, so conserving environment is taking good care of ourselves. Healthy environment, healthy life.

The country has 72 percent of its land under forest cover which is very much pristine and delicate and neighbourly 27 percent of its land is reserved as protected areas for the preservation of natural biodiversity. The forest cover is a home for innumerable animals and in actual fact a source of various resources such as wild vegetables and fruits, herbal medicinal plants, bamboos, timber and so on.Now the rich environment has attracted tourism which has added to economic wealth.

The old-aged culture and tradition heritage has been playing a huge role for the survival as a nation for more than one hundred years ago and now it too has become a will of necessity as nation moves forward with globalization. The country has living culture that teaches basic human values such as compassion, faith, respect trust, kindness, benevolence, honesty, etc. which have been guiding its citizens in all walks of life.This unique and appreciated culture link the bhutanese society all the time.

Now as the nation sheds its isolation and opens its door to the world there is a very great requirement for the great thoughts we think and the actions we do. We need to be the very best preservatives of our own culture and it is mandatory for us to preserve and pass on to our younger upcoming generation.

His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck has mentioned, "The destiny of Bhutan lies in the hand of its people." It is truly a great statement. To run the nation we must run for the nation, wholeheartedly and the quality achieved by nation at any point solely depends on the quality of its people. We are the drivers of the nation and it's up to us whether we drive the nation here or there, high or low or to or fro.We are the makers of our own nation because we shape it through our own minds and bodies; the everyday activities we do. 
Good Governance is the basic pillar of pillars because the others pillars are dependent on this pillar. We need to work for sustainable and socio-economic development. we need to conserve our nature environment and we need to preserve and promote our culture.

Nine Domains of Gross National Happiness
The four dynamic supportive pillars of GNH are further divided into its respective branches into nine fulfilling domains.
1. Standard Living : ability of an individual to stand on its own
2. Health of population : coverage of health services across the nation
3. Education : reaching education to everyone as its fundamental right
4. Ecosystem vitality and diversity : living in harmony with the mother nature
5. Cultural vitality and diversity : preserving and promoting culture in everyday life
7. Good governance : thoughtful and true-hearted citizens; nation makers
6. Time use and balance : wise and balanced usage of in-estimable time
8. Community vitality : living in peace and harmony among ourselves 
9. Emotional well being : presence of healthy mind in healthy body

My Definition of Gross National Happiness
I define GNH in these three adjustable ways:
1. As a body; Happiness (nutrients) experienced by each and every living cell of a body to perform its various respective functions or opportunities received by every, various organ to live up to its expectation for the normal functioning of the life. 
2. As a tree; Happiness exercised by every leaf of a tree to perform its basic function to bear fruits and flowers or the equal resources (water, nutrients and sunlight) received by every leaf to yield fruition.
3. As a nation; Happiness exercised  by an individual for driving its life on the most given comfortable smooth path or the sum of total happiness enjoyed by an individual to live its life. All we need to do is to achieve living lasting happiness in both healthy mind and healthy body.

Nuts and Bolts of Gross National Happiness
If you think about GNH from the thoughtful angle we will surely discover that the root of happiness is purely, deeply rooted in certain basic high-yielding foundations which means there are some basic requirements and procedures to be followed in order to achieve the dreams. Let's watch and observe the life of a tree, which is also the source that support our life. The basic thing for it to start its life is the seed of quality and the soil of fertility. We sow that seed and by the means of nature, it takes time and space to grow into a large tree. Nature is always kind, not because it teaches us lessons but we got to learn a lot from nature; fair, justice, equality, co-operation, patience and so on and so many invaluable values.

Let us imagine imaginary lines dividing a fully matured tree that we have sown just few sentences ago, into three major parts; the top, the trunk and the roots. If we examine those parts critically we get to know that they are very much interrelated just like our body and soul; inseparable. The roots support the upper two parts, the trunk supports the top and the top supports the happiness(fruition), reaping the ultimate required result. Through this we come to know that these three parts are dependent on each other without which one's absence is enough to put the whole stuff down or with which one's presence is plenty to raise the whole high to magnificence. 

Just like the brief strong story told by a tree, GNH too, always speaks and tells its story to every one and all, and the greatest fact is, many a times we leave its story either unheard or unnoticed because we make ourselves too busy to listen by carving its trunk to achieve its top without thinking of its roots. GNH is no different from the tree where the top is GNH itself, its trunk is the four pillars and its roots are the basic human values. Bhutan, the country is the soil where GNH, the seed of quality must be sown with the condition that the fertility of soil purely depends upon the quantity of human values present in it. Now, the responsibilities solely lie on the citizen's heads and hearts because we are the roots of a tree and minerals of the nation. Every Bhutanese needs to contribute its own unique contributions to enhance the fertility of the nation in the name of GNH.

The four basic values we must possess to execute GNH are Cooperation, Benevolence, Trust/Faith and Responsibility, I personally call them: Four Senses of GNH because they are just like our senses those make us perfect.

Four Senses of Gross National Happiness
1. Sense of Cooperation: Understanding each other
2. Sense of Benevolence: Empathetic feeling towards each other 
3. Sense of Faith:Trusting each other
4. Sense of Responsibility: Building each other

1. SENSE OF COOPERATION: Understanding each other
Cooperation is a combination of both physical and mental powers to achieve targeted goal at any given time and the fact is its power is almighty. Jonathan Haith noted, "The most powerful power ever known on this planet is human cooperation - a force for construction and destruction." Men can either build or break the wall through cooperation or achieve anything and it's of utmost importance to cooperate for the betterment.

Even nature teaches us an amplitude of lessons on cooperation. As mentioned above, about the growth of a plant, in this there is cooperation within the plant (roots, trunk and top) and external cooperation too, that is for its growth it needs sunlight, air, water and nutrients, have a glance to know how the nature is systematized in terms of cooperation to engineer its perfectionist. Even think of ourselves, how our every cell cooperates, how our every organ cooperates and cooperation of five senses those give us the greatest power and fulfilment. Over and above, the ascendancy of body-soul cooperation that is unthinkable.

Cooperation blended with think thoughts always yield high-yielding first fruit and that is what every one of us must be striving for, for the accomplishment of GNH. We need to collaborate on preservation and promotion of our culture, we need to combine our forces for the conservation of natural environment, join our hearts for the socio-economic development and cooperate cooperatively in our every doing. Think reflectively, that cooperation is the master key for the fruition because, "When was ever honey made with one bee in a hive?" as said by Thomas Hood.

As nation feels the feelings of modernization, cooperation among ourselves has become essential as it must be. Speaking our own identity, national language: Dzongkha by one or two or three has no power to display to the world who we are, it must be spoken by every Bhutanese, by all. Dressing our own identity, national dress: Gho and Kira by one or two or three has no domination at all, it must be well dressed by every Bhutanese, by one and all. The way we lived must be lived by everyone. So whatever we plan to do must be done cooperatively, no matter what the obstacles and challenges may be it will be automatically removed.

2. SENSE OF BENEVOLENCE: Empathetic feeling towards each other
I am pretty sure that for the instant achievement of GNH, benevolence:helping hands through helping hearts, must be possessed in everyone because, "Helping other people can be a cure not just for those who are in need but your soul as well," as said by Marinela Rika. By helping others we are helping ourselves indirectly which also means, the more you give to others the more you receive.

Helping others starts from grass root level of encouraging others through enthusiastic words to contribution of million dollars for the well-being of other needy ones. We all experience the difference in the way we live. There isn't much to talk on the standard of living for the rich people who have plenty to experience but there are much more to think about inferior and other poor people who are in really need of help for the constant survival. The time passes on and the life keeps moving and we are the main hero to change the way our community lives through every possible ways.

Empathy is to benevolence what seed is to seedling, because without empathetic feeling benevolence will never be yielded. Empathy gives birth to benevolence, I believe the more empathetic people are the more willingly they become to help others through any means. In a GNH country like Bhutan empathy must be deeply rooted in every citizen's heart for the realistic dream. Think what if everyone was encouraging each other in every doing, imagine what if everybody was empathy and helpful, picture what if all of us have hearts those big-hearted hearts, then I am confident that everyone will merrily, voluntarily help everyone reaching happiness everywhere. 

3. SENSE OF FAITH:Trusting each other
Though to trust others is the hardest thing, learning to trust ourselves is what we must always be yearning for. To gain trust from others we must first trust our inner-self. Trusting ourselves is the first step that we take to open our windows of life to the world for the magnificent rewards because, "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do," as mentioned by Benjamin Spock.

While driving the journey of life, one alone cannot complete it fruitfully, one needs others' hands for the grand success and for that it's obvious that we need to work together where the seeds of trust and faith play a very earth-shattering role. 

As a nation trust must be built everywhere as bridges those connect us together and help us in getting along with the time. The trust between the king and government, trust between the king and the people, trust between the government and the people and the dauntless trust among the king, the government and the people.

4. SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY: Building each other
Every individual must be responsible for the duty they are given with and one must always fulfill the given duty at any cost, no matter what. Like the organs of our body, every organ has its own responsibility and the fact is no one can replace one another. For instance heart can neither replace lungs nor do its function or lungs can neither replace heart or do its duty. So if one organ fails to do its duty the normal functioning of whole system gets disturbed. Thinking that we are just like those organs in our own body, we must feel it as our bounden duty to have the sense of responsibility.

Even in the family, every member must be given some responsibility for the smooth functioning of its journey otherwise it will surely collapse. So it applies to all: government and people for the final achievement of our destination.

I consider the above four senses as the building blocks of Gross National Happiness for they are the basic foundation of GNH. They are the ingredients of four pillars and compositions of nine domains. To make the pillars stronger we must measure the toughness of these senses. To make domains tougher we must measure quality of these senses.

As true in photosynthesis that water plus carbon dioxide in presence of sunlight and chlorophyll yields glucose so is mine that sustainable and socio-economic development plus conservation of natural environment plus preservation promotion of culture plus good governance in presence of senses of co-operation, benevolence, faith and responsibility yields Gross National Happiness(GNH).

1 comment:

  1. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck is very kind, caring and smart to run the country well.
    I love the idea of GNH as happiness is important to unite all the human races today.
    The world is fading away from this.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.