GNH the buzz word and my say!

The mind treasure of the 4th dragon king, the ultimate quest of the mankind, happiness is the bottomline of human existence. This profound topic has originated from the wisdom and contemplation our beloved majesty Jigme Singye wangchuck in his endeavor to serve the people of Bhutan. Happiness was a baseline of human desire since time immemorial, however to use this as a yard stick of measurement for progress has first originated within the cranium of this rare leader. Happiness is one amongst myriad feelings and emotions that mankind is characterised with.This is a productive and beneficial emotion which will add value to achievements and reduce the burden of failure.

Since it was first advocated by 4th king as"Gyalyong gakith Pelzom" which roughly transalates into " Happiness and wealth for all in a nation", it has recieved immense response from the international fraternity. David Cameroon and Nickolas Sarkozy expressed their desires to use GNH as their developmental goal. Brazil has made a pledge to patronize GNH for the people of one of the South American growing economy. One of the pioneers of GNH advocacy the current prime minister of Bhutan commits every developmental initiative in line with GNH principles. 

As Dzongsar Yamyang Khentse commented in a newspaper that now it has become a fashionable word on the lips of every tom,dick and harry  on the streets of Thimphu who acclaims that GNH as their guiding principle  not substantially understanding the meaning themselves. Royal government of Bhutan took initiatives like converting planning commission to GNH commision, turning schools into green schools and establishing Center for Bhutan Studies(CBS) the institution which carries out R&D on GNH. Since its establishment it has conducted as many as three international seminars and brought about as many publications on this profound topic. 

GNH is gaining momentum at a very fast pace to the west where goevernments and leaders are looking forward to alternative developmental frameworks so as to sustain the human existence more meaningfully. Currently our world is driven by the mad wave of industrial revolution and consumerism which in many measures is not good for our future.This desire for a holistic approach to developments has created a vacuum which now is a welcome threshold for GNH.

Gross national happiness  for me is a developemntal philosophy holistic in all sense. This is a philosophy whose ultimate aim is happiness. This is a philosophy which dispels the myth that material well being can promote happiness. You can have a fat bank balance, a luxury car, a manorial estate, gorgeous wife and beautiful children but you may not necessarily have happy life. To create conditions conducive to  happiness is what GNH is all about. GNH is both profound and realistic and measurable too.
 The old management catch phrase "what is not measurable is not manageable " is also not applicable to this approach because happiness as such is not measurable but its indicators are. Harmonious communities, satisfied families, smiling youth are indicators of happiness and they are measurable. Here in Bhutan environmental protection is enshrined in the constitution, given a grave importance 60% for all times to come. In the same manner culture, tradition and spiritual heritages with similar concern. A man may not be happy in absolute terms on his own independant initiatives. The people and environment around him contribute a lot more to the state of his mind.

Bhutan has been a right breeding ground for such a philosophy to be implemented. Right in the sense of living cultural, spiritual and environmental heritages. Bhutanese buddhist rooted culture is based on the principles of cause and effect, karma and non-violence. The believe that whatever goes around comes around. Meaning if good is done good will be done back but not necessarily in the same manner as you did but even in the after lifes. GNH for me is a framework which strives to create necessary conditions that are essential for a person to be happy, however it is the individual who takes it to his advantage and gets happier.
For me the mantra for happiness is understanding yourself not as an independant entity but a small part of the world system, a component of a living planet, a member of a society, citizen of a country, link in the social system and above all as an impermanent entity. This way everything that you can afford is not necessarily yours. A person who can understand himself/herself well can experience a real sense of happiness. But to understand yourself you must make reflective study for that matter an introspection.

Lets talk food, why you need  to eat ; to live and to sustain life but what about the rich food that you waste. When you can manage with a rice and a sag curry, why do you go for three items at a time. After all what you eat is not visible to any one and after 12 hours it is just a shit. Even if any one sees it, what is there to be ashamed of.Clothes, what for are we wearing them if not just to protect from cold, heat and to cover our natural human genitals for decency. Now we have dozens of ghos, woolen not knowing it is somebodys cloth, burey a cloth piece from the force full sacrifice of thousand mites. Shoes made from hides of animals especially slautered for that. One is okey but what about the scores of pairs. Are they essentially necessary? We need more in the name of wealth, in the name of fashion and in the name of dignity. What is that dignity when it is at the cost of some ones sweat, blood and life?. That is indignity!. For me essentially a pair of shoes, a pair of ghos and decent sag curry is enough to lead life meaningfully. No more sweat shops, slauter houses, killings and this is what we mean by harmonious co-existence.
All it boils down to is minimization of our greed which is not good for anything; even for progress. If all the individuals understand the fact that life is not permanent, we are all members of the same family and deserve the same share and all wealth is owned inter-generationally, then GNH is not so abstract a concept, in my opinion it is pretty realizable. 


  1. Namgay,

    you have neatly elaborated on the topic and i think you deserve to be in PMs group next time (if at all there is any up coming GNH seminars anywhere...)

    Good luck...ha ha


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