Saturday, December 26, 2009

GNH; What I Understand

I have been hearing about Gross National Happiness since I could remember. As innocent child in the school, I didn’t bother to know what is GNH? Later I coined my own definition as happiness in the nation. I didn’t know how to define other way.

Later in high school, I was taught that GNH as an aggregate measure of a country's national production, in the vein of the gross national product or gross domestic product. Gross national happiness (GNH) attempts to measure the sum total not only of economic output, but also of net environmental impacts, the spiritual and cultural growth of citizens, mental and physical health and the strength of the corporate and political systems.

However, this concept, in my perception gets murkier as more academia tries to put in his concept. He can’t be wrong as it is such subjective concept but everybody can’t be right. We can have thousand branches but we need to have only one trunk. Otherwise GNH will be lost in translation and creation by various scholars. His Majesty, the fourth delivered lecture titled ‘Changing World and Timeless Values’ at Madhavroa Scinda Memorial Lecture, New Delhi on 23th December, 2009. He said, “… today, GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people but to me, it signifies simply- Development with Values’’ For him, GNH is developmental philosophy with holistic ways of thinking. GNH is a philosophy of development to be carried out by those who have mind to think for others and heart to bleed for others.

As a matter of fact, I felt that we don’t need to invent ways to measure GNH. We don’t need academia to understand the concept and we don’t need scientist to built measuring tools. What we can do is we can measure with GDP with grassroots level in mind. We should suffer with those who suffer and try to share your laughter. In absolute, I understand GNH as in the example. If you have three apples and both you and your friend are starving, how are you going to share the apples? Is giving all apples to friend and starving yourself GNH? Is giving two to your friend and keeping one apple to yourself GNH? Is eating all three by you GNH? Is giving one apple to friend and eating two apples yourself a GNH? Is sharing in equal quantity a GNH? As for me, sharing one and half apples each will be GNH?

I sign out with quote from His Majesty, ‘we strive for the benefits of economic growth and modernization while ensuring that in our drive to acquire greater status and wealth we do not forget to nurture that which makes us happy to be Bhutanese.’’

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