Surprised, aren’t you? Well, this statement is not fake news but something that comes on the surface as a fact when you see UN’s annual World Happiness Report.
Release ahead of International Happiness Day on March 20, the World Happiness Report presents a list of global happiness depending on factors such as income, generosity, freedom, trust and healthy life expectancy. The report ranks “156 countries by their happiness levels”. This year, Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for the second year in succession. Other nations in the top are Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands.
This is UN’s seventh report of World Happiness and unfortunately, the overall world happiness has fallen significantly over the years.
But but but, what’s unpleasant to notice in this year’s report is that India has witnessed a drop to 140th place this year compared with 133rd place in 2018. Other South Asian countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka rank better than India.
Not just this, even Pakistan holds a far better position – 67- in the index this year. This seems a little absurd since India’s GDP is higher than Pakistan. The neighbor is also high on debts and often associated with terrorism.
So what are things that make us an unhappy nation? Check it below:
Why is India Unhappy?
As mentioned earlier, India has outperformed many nations including Pakistan in a number of metrics including GDP size, growth and inflation rate to name a few.
So what are we lacking in our pursuit of happiness? I think the answer lies in the factors on which World Happiness Report depends. Here are some reasons why India dropped to 140th place:
Having More Money Doesn’t Make Us Happy
Our GDP is great no doubt, but we can’t ignore that fact it’s the rich who are getting richer and not the poor people. According to a survey by Oxfam, Income inequality in India is getting worse. The top 1% of Indians have 73% of the country’s wealth in 2019. So it’s not the money that matters but money equality that takes the country towards a better place.
Unemployment is also a serious issue in India. Recent reports show that India’s Unemployment Rate has increased to 6.10 percent in 2018 from 3.52 percent in 2017.
Mental Health is As Important as Wealth
It’s 2019 but mental health is still considered a taboo in India. We rather shame the people who talk about mental health or just ignore. A study reported by WHO states that at least 6.5% of India’s population suffers from serious mental illness. Stress and depression take lives of thousands of people every year.
Moreover, the country is also not fully equipped to treat mental illnesses. As per National Mental Health Survey – “There are only 43 government-run mental hospitals across all of India to provide services to more than 70 million people living with mental disorders. There are 0.30 psychiatrists, 0.17 nurses, and 0.05 psychologists per 1,00,000 mentally ill patients in the country.”
If this is not enough to see the red flag of mental health, you will be shocked to know that, over the span of three years, over 26,000 students committed suicide in India. Utterly sad, isn’t it?
When Patriotism Turned Into Nationalism Or More Worse Jingoism
The year 2018 was hell of a year which saw big upheavals in the country that shook it to the roots. One of the worsts were the mob lynchings. And since “social support” is a crucial factors in happiness, such lynchings might have affected our ranking.
Cases of lynchings came from all over the country, many of them done in the name of Gau raksha and child-liftings. The cases rose to such at the atrocity that people even called the country “Lynchistan”.
It was not just the Muslims but also Dalits which were targeted in many violent events and were often threatened. The Ram Mandir controversy too played the part with people trying to turn “Bharat” into “Hindustan”.
Now if all this is not Jingoism, I don’t know what to call it.
Elite Institutions Under Threat
From Supreme Court and RBI to CBI and Election Commission, some of the elitists and most respected pillars of Indian democracy came under threat.
Supreme Court: In January 2018, four Supreme Court judges called a press conference saying that the transparency and accountability of the Court were under threat.
RBI: When Deputy Governor Viral Acharya gave the lecture on October 26, it was more than a hint that something is going wrong in the central bank.
CBI: The war between two top officers of the institution questioned the authority and internal corruption of the institution.
Top scams that thrilled us include PNB Scam, SBI fraud case and Rotomac case.
The Bottom Line
The World Happiness Report focuses on factors like GDP per capita, social support of having someone to count on in times of trouble, freedom to make life choices, healthy life expectancy, generosity and perceptions of corruption. And last year, the country faced problems that did affect such factors significantly. The step ahead is to see how we, at an individual level, retain the social harmony and ensure happy us.
After all, as Rachel Naud said, “There’s nothing more important than happiness. So chase it, seize it and never let it go.”