The world started measuring in terms of happiness indicators of individuals and nations. The happiness factors of an individual like me is a subset of that of a nation.
To understand it better let’s take a quick look at the happiness index factors for a nation –
- Psychological well-being (life satisfaction, emotional balance, spirituality)
- Health (self-reported health status, healthy days, long-term disability, mental health)
- Education (literacy, educational qualification, knowledge, values)
- Culture (language, artisan skills, socio-cultural participation)
- Time use (working hours, sleeping hours)
- Good governance (political participation, political freedom, service delivery, government performance)
- Community vitality (social support, community relationships, family, a victim of crime)
- Ecological diversity and resilience
- Living standards (household income, assets, housing quality)
India has slipped from a global rank of 111 in 2013 to 117 in 2015 behind Pakistan and Bangladesh. This ranking is based on a study done in 158 countries globally.
Today there is a serious need for individuals like me to think why we are becoming increasingly more unhappy in our lives than ever before while we continue to progress in economic areas.
If we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy theory we will notice that security, social well being, etc are considered as primary needs of any individual and none of us are different in those aspects. Maslow kept self-actualization needs at the highest end. But the question is, to be happy can we reach the highest state without caring about other lower states. Maybe some accomplished saadhus can do that but not common people like us. So in this aspect, our social life and social support system become increasingly important for us as individuals to be happy. A nation of happy individuals will create a happy and prosperous nation.
Our society consists of our friends and well-wishers who act as our support system and help us overcome all odds in life. In this context, the gender of the friend ideally should not matter but in reality, it is found that the gender of our friends matters a lot in our support system. With changing social dynamics and with the influence of feminism the gender roles have evolved to a great extent and the acceptance of the other gender is reducing.
Let me illustrate this with a simple example. If you have a group of friends from both genders then in a group meeting, casually raise the point of punishing women for false cases like dowry, domestic violence or rape. Or ask your female friends to demand death penalty for the woman in the above video. Don’t be surprised if women vehemently protest the idea. Whereas in any reported rape case if you demand death penalty of the accused even before the trial is complete or may simply be on accusation you will be supported by all. In this exercise, you may find how your own friends become your foes simply on gender difference.
I used to believe that we need friends from both genders until sometime back when I had undergone divorce. I have seen the same group of friends vanishing after my cases. That included both male and female friends. However, my wife didn’t lose any of her friends and her female friends continued their friendship with her. Some of our common friends who started ignoring me continued their friendship with her and still continue the same. The case is almost same as all other men who face a similar situation. This in a way confirms that men can’t expect equal friendship from their women friends as friends are better recognized during the trying times and NOT during the happy times.
So today for me happiness is in living my dream and attaining self-actualization needs rather than seeking social support for all actions. I started believing that one needs to search for happiness from within and not from others or outside materialistic world in order to be happy.
But not all are equally enlightened to understand this complex notion to become happy. So we have a great task ahead of us to make our nation happy. One way of achieving the same is to save our family system and ensure that we boost our social support system so that all those social parameters are taken care of. Another way is to implement a free and fair justice system that provide speedy justice to everyone irrespective of gender.