Gross National Happiness
The concept of Gross National Happiness is a Development philosophy in Bhutan. The Late Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck expressed his view on the goal of development as making “the people prosperous and happy”. The importance of “prosperity and happiness” was highlighted in the King’s address on the occasion of Bhutan’s admission to the United Nations in 1971. This vision was further elaborated by the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck who declared in the first years of his reign that “our country’s policy is to consolidate our sovereignty to achieve economic self-reliance, prosperity and happiness for our country and people”.
While the emphasis is placed on both, prosperity and happiness, the latter is considered of more significance. The Fourth DrukGyalpo emphasized that for Bhutan “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product” and this is now being fleshed out by a wide range of professionals, scholars and agencies across the world.
Concerned about the problems afflicting countries that focused only on economic growth, Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck decided to make the nation’s priority not it’s G.D.P. but its G.N.H. (Gross National Happiness). He suggested that the progress of nations be measured by “Gross National Happiness” for the rich are not always happy while the happy generally consider themselves rich. While conventional development models stress economic growth as the ultimate objective, the concept of GNH claims to be based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other with Directive Principle of State Policy to give Fundamental Right to the people.
Gross National Happiness consists of four pillars:
- Fair socio-economic development (better education and health)
- Conservation and promotion of a vibrant culture
- Conservation of environment and
- Good governance.
Guided by Gross National Happiness Bhutan has tread the trail of economic development but not to the detriment of the Happiness of her people. This development philosophy has made the lives of the Bhutanese comfortable by embracing the Middle Path. Bhutan has savored immense stride of economic progress that had complemented in the preservation and promotion of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness. Thus, Bhutan extols its forest cover and diversity of flora and fauna when elsewhere many species are disappearing and are on the verge of extinction. GNH is a unique approach to national and global development.