Updated: May 20
Yes, you have heard it right. India is ranked 144th in the World Happiness Index 2020 than Pakistan which is ranked 66th. Apparently, India's ranking has dropped by 4 places since last year, which was 140th in 2019. But does India really deserve to be ranked at such a lower level? Also, to let you know 156 countries are surveyed to bring out this Index, and India is among the last 10 spots. This definitely didn't make me happy at all, but I hope that the UN is not taking this feeling into account otherwise not only me, but my viewer's unhappiness will also lead to more drop in the rank which is already worse. And guess, which countries make in the top ten? Nordic countries with Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway (**Hope you remember Norway from Democracy article**) make in the top 5.
But wait, before you make any opinion. Let's discuss the facts. The World Happiness Index is done by United Nation Sustainable Development Solutions Network. UN came with this Index back in 2011 intending to take into account the happiness quotient of the people to make proper public policy by each country. This Index is calculated with deep research through taking surveys of each country from a sample size of around 2000-3000 people by taking into account their response based on the 8 parameters which have already been defined by the UN. I would discuss each parameter one by one but before going into that, do you think that you are happy right now? Just give it a thought as to what constitutes your happiness in your life.
So, why did I say that India is ranked below Pakistan and didn't talk about any other country? Trust me If I tell you what is the rank of the super-powers of the world, it will disappoint you more than but I can't be sure about that too.
So, the parameters that UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network takes into account are; Corruption, Generosity, Social Support, Freedom of making life choices, life expectancy at Birth, GDP per capita, Positive affect, and the negative effect. The parameters are kind of appropriate to know what is the impact of the above parameters on people's choices. So, going one by one.
1. Corruption: the question they raise is how much has corruption affected the working of the government? Well, we all know what would be the answers of the Indians out here, it is worse. So, obviously, we would not rate India very diligently but does Pakistan don't have corruption at all. According to the Corruption Perception Index 2019, India ranks 80th and Pakistan ranks 120th out of 179 countries that are surveyed. So, this means that Pakistan is more corrupt than India and thus, it gives us a short-term relief but still 80th rank is also not a very good rank to be proud of.
2. Generosity: The question thus, raised in this parameter is "Have you donated money to charity in the past few months and how often do you do it? Well, I will ask my friends out here, how many of you can answer "YES" to the above question. It is very less in number and I know what would be the answer to many people. It would be, we are already so engrossed in our own life problems, how will we find time to help out others, right? The poll also stated the same obvious answer, very rarely because of the same answer. But what about Pakistan? We will all be shocked to hear that they are very generous when it comes to helping out others, unlike us. The Generosity is not just measured through charity, it is measured on three counterparts:
2.a. Helping out stranger: Well, of course, we would definitely help the strangers asking us for directions or basic questions which don't involve money. But what if, they ask for help in monetary terms? The first thought will be how can we trust the stranger, valid point. This is where we lag but Pakistan leads in this respect.
2.b.Donation: This doesn't involve giving Rs.5 or more to the beggars. It is to the NGOs or any organization which is working for a good cause, do we do that? Again, it is very rare because we have limited money to live our own life.
2.c. Volunteering: We do volunteer for good work but only when we have free time, but I would ask a question, how many of us find time to volunteer for some good cause? Rarely, again. It is because we are all so busy in our own lives, whatever time is left, we think of spending with our friends and family. Corporates do have CSR policy in which we have to volunteer and work for some NGO but that is done only when it is enforced on us. By our own will, we hardly do such volunteering.
Pakistan leads us in all these aspects. According to the World Giving Index 2019, India ranks 82nd, and Pakistan ranks at 69th position (*the irony of the rank and the country**) but anyways, jokes aside. There would obviously be something that they are doing better than us, right?
3. Social support: The respondents have to answer to the question, "If you are in trouble, are there any friends or family you can count on to help you whenever you need then?" I would ask all of you to answer the question yourself. For me at least, I would resort to my trusted people only when I can't sort out the problem myself. Most of us stay away from our family for studies or work, and therefore, we don't want to trouble our family. But of course, in case of deep trouble, we would turn to our friends. But friends so trustworthy is also hard to find these days. We are all growing selfish and turn to our friends in case of help. But it is the worst-case scenario I am talking about. There is no ranking on social support but I am pretty sure that we would definitely show social support far greater than Pakistan.
4. Freedom to make life choices: The question raised is, "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose about what do you want to do with your life?" I know this is a very personal question but I am not asking for any answer about this. But we do have the freedom to do whatever we want to do in our life. In case we do something doing very differently from what we are supposed to do, our family and friends are going to oppose telling you how that won't make our life easier rather creating a lot of challenges for us in achieving that. But provided that, we won't be facing any hindrances from the government or law of doing whatever we want to do. But this isn't the case in Pakistan. I will give a very simple example. If a Pakistani asks a person how is his wife doing, he might be beaten the shit out him then and there, not only by the same guy but by other people too (**who might be called on by the guy**) But here in India, it's completely normal.
Therefore, if a normal question leads to defaming in public, think what will happen if some girl in Pakistan thinks of doing something completely different from the expectations of her family. We all know how difficult the life of Malala Yousafzai was in the beginning. So, again India leads in this category.
5. Life Expectancy at Birth: Self-explained point, so this explains how much is the average life of a person is an indifferent country and how do they make themselves happy in their life span. India has a life expectancy of 69 years and that of Pakistan is 67 years. So, we are ahead of them by 2 years, not bad. So, if given 69 years of life to Indians, we are expected to do things that can make them happier for 2 years more than a Pakistani. So, we gained 2 years here.
6. GDP per capita: In simple words, how much is a normal person earning in different countries. We are definitely better than Pakistan. India's GDP per capita is USD 2104.20 and that of Pakistan is USD 1196.60. We have a winner here as well.
7. Positive effect: The question raised in this aspect is," Did you experience the positive feeling yesterday or past month?" If I ask as of now, the answer is yes because we have been enjoying the comforts of staying at home and the answer is no as well because of the current pandemic situation. But this is a very subjective question. It depends on many factors, what if yesterday someone had a breakup? He or she won't be happy right? It depends on situations in personal life therefore, this can't be ranked as well. If I talk about the world's response to this, it is declining because, given the situation in the world as of now, the graph is going down itself.
8. Negative effect: Well, we are blessed with the negativity in the country. The question raised is the same in case of positive effect expect the positive changes to negative (**strange how positive turns to negative so quickly in questions rather in a person's life**). The problem is most of us will find negativity in very small issues. For example, if we expect that the lockdown is going to end sooner, we know how that is going to turn even after May 3rd. So, heart-shattering again.
So, why is then Pakistan higher than India in the Happiness Index? We have seen India gaining in various aspect but still, the rank is no better. I have discovered why is this a problem. First of all, the survey is taken from around 2000-3000 people over the telephone. Imagine a country with a population of around 135 crores and out of them the survey is taken only from 2000-3000 people. This won't justify the answers of the entire nation. The proportion is also less than 0.0001, so the entire concept of taking polls is not correct. The survey is taken over the telephone, now tell me, if you are talking to your friend and you are unhappy, what is the probability of them realizing that you are upset? Very less, right? You will know only when you can see their reactions while answering the question. So, the entire concept of taking polls is not correct.
Next, we all know what is the condition of Pakistan. They are greedy for recognition and people to realize they exist. This is a crisis for them so even a small recognition from anyone makes them super happy. But India doesn't face any of this situation. We are not looking for people to recognize us because of thanks to the efforts of the nation as a whole that the entire world knows who are the Indians. Let me give a small example. In the case of ODI, if Pakistan wins against India but loses against most of the other teams, their happiness will have no boundaries. Obviously for us to win against Pakistan is very important but then if we win the ODI series would give us the same level of happiness or maybe more than that. For Pakistan, even small events give tremendous happiness to them but for India, we set our goals so high that if we fail to accomplish even 50% it would make us sad rather than us thinking at least we achieved 50% of the set goal.
Search on Quora, "Are you happy?" it will give you 100k+ answers from different people telling how small things make them happy but still we all will agree to one thing if one moment we are happy, the next moment we will think of doing something else that will give us similar feeling. That happy moment will fade away and would be kept alive in our mind that at that moment we were happy, but is life defined by only that moment? No, it is defined on all the things we do which when summarized will tell us that we might not be as happy as we thought we would be. The sense of accomplishment is so much from our end that our happiness declines.
UN has witnessed that real happiness comes from the poor and the deprived section of the society. I remember one incident. I was going to collect some things my mom asked to get from a nearby shop on my vehicle. On my way, I saw an old man carrying a heavy bag and walking very slowly in the hot and sunny summers of North India. I stopped and asked him where is he headed and he told me that he had a bus to catch and have to reach to the bus station. I gave him a lift which he denied continuously telling me that he will go. I insisted and he got on and I dropped him to the bus station which was just 15 minutes from that place. As soon as he reached, he became so happy and blessed me so much which made me very happy. But his happiness was much more than mine. Similarly, if a poor person is happy, it is much more than all the luxury we think will give us happiness.
But in our country, the poor and deprived are not happy at all. They are the most unhappy amongst all who are never taken care of and are always taken granted by the government and even by the people of our nation. They constitute more than 70% of our population which makes 70% of the nation unhappy. But let alone them, even the common man is not happy. It might be due to the world situation, communism issues in India, wrong decisions taken in life, and many other things that are undefined. So, what can we do about it? It's easy as it sounds. Find happiness in everyday life or do something which makes you happy in the long-term. I know it's not easy, neither is being born in this cruel world easily.
At last, don't get disappointed by the fact that we are ranked so low in this index, obviously, everything has flaws but then we should remember, change starts from us first, then only we can change the society. So, start looking for happiness and then only we can spread happiness. I will end this by asking one question, "Are you happy?"