The happiness mantra

Posted: September 26, 2010 in No- nonsense

In global geopolitics, Bhutan’s status is perhaps insignificant. Apart from being strategically located ‘landlocked’ in between two emerging superpowers, India and China, Bhutan’s importance in the international arena does not go any further than this. In a world that is reigned supreme by economic interests and power play, Bhutan’s fledgling economy garners but little attention. Honestly, these are not our USPs.

However, Bhutan has positioned itself in a much better light than many developing countries. Its political stability, the historic transition from Monarchy to democracy, the unique development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and its history of cultural isolationism and survival among others, are certain hallmarks that have intrigued the world.

It is Bhutan’s approach and selectively cautious means to development ends that have tossed the country into international limelight.  Even as a small nation, today Bhutan boasts of becoming the moral conscience of a world completely immersed in avaricious, self destructive materialism, destroying in the process the very elements of nature that support life.

At the UN Summit, when world leaders promised more money to be pumped in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that are falling behind the 2015 deadline, Bhutan’s Prime Minister made a request. It did not come as a surprise when he asked the world leaders to adopt a new indicator to be included in the MDGs, an indicator that will ultimately define human wellbeing – happiness.

GNH is Bhutan’s global export and contribution to philosophical, developmental and academic discourse. Besides that, it provides a unique insight into the process of development, with huge considerations to the wellbeing of the individuals and the environment.

In addition, the Prime Minister also lobbied for the first time for a seat in the 2013 UN Security Council. These are opportunities Bhutan must grab. Not for international recognition but because it offers Bhutan a greater platform to voice its concerns and engage in dialogue and discussions pertaining to world issues. It’s a podium where we can put forward Bhutanese wisdom and philosophy, and contribute to humanity, in better ways than now.

Bhutan has so far lived by example. We have maintained vast forest coverage often at the expense of development. The balanced sustainable development policies have shown positive results. If Bhutan could inspire a few countries to tread a development path like or similar to ours, perhaps, that would be Bhutan’s greatest influence at the international and global fora. We y need not flaunt economic or military might or engage in gunboat diplomacy to be a global leader. Sometimes it is a mere idea that rules!

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