Editorial: India’s Happiness Quotient

Editorial: India’s Happiness Quotient

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 09:31 PM IST
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In a world where GDP growth rates are touted like badges of honour, India finds itself in a peculiar predicament. Despite its economic prowess propelling it to the cusp of the top three global economies, happiness seems to have taken a detour, leaving the nation languishing at a meagre 126th spot in the World Happiness Index. To put things in perspective, India’s happiness ranking is sandwiched between conflict-ridden Ukraine and war-torn Afghanistan. It’s a bitter pill to swallow when even countries grappling with staggering casualties and mass displacement manage to eke out a happier existence, leaving India in their wake.

Adding salt to the wound, neighbouring nations like Nepal, China, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh bask in the glow of contentment, leaving India trailing behind like the proverbial tortoise in a race of hares. Even Burkina Faso, reeling from unspeakable tragedies, manages to trump India in the happiness stakes, highlighting the stark disparity. The perennial comparison with China, its Asian counterpart in population and independence, only adds insult to injury. While China revels in a respectable 60th position, India continues to wallow in its stagnant 126th spot, reminiscent of its dismal performance in the past.

The organisers of the World Happiness Report 2024 attempted to shed light on India’s gloomy standing, attributing it to the stark divergence in happiness reporting across caste and class lines. While the affluent and privileged revel in their contentment, the underprivileged and marginalised languish in despair, underscoring the pervasive sense of inequity plaguing the nation. India’s paradoxical tale of economic prowess juxtaposed with social malaise serves as a stark reminder that development, when concentrated in the hands of the few, becomes a hollow victory. Until the fruits of progress trickle down to the masses, India’s pursuit of happiness will remain a journey fraught with obstacles — a long way indeed to traverse.

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