” HAPPINESS AND WELLBEING INDICES
There is an ever-growing number of research reports from global economists that go far beyond the limited metric of GDP to gauge nations’ overall happiness and wellbeing. These studies use somewhat different measurements (whether the strength of social connections or obesity rates), so rankings can vary—but this research is giving us a clearer, more meaningful picture of the true health and wellness of people in countries around the world.”
When I wrote Wake Up, India Essays for Our Times by Dr A.V. Koshy & Dr Bina Biswas in 2014 just before the election to warn people against the BJP I spoke of this. No Indian reverted but more than thousand five hundred people have now read the book, of whom I am sure many are Indians.
However, an American Professor who was the first or one of the first to be involved in this idea did do something. He put my book on his reading list in a course in America. There was no altruistic motive, it was just that I had mentioned the concept and his name and was trying to help my people, the people in India, since I have taken courses from World Bank and European Union and found things being spoken of there that are not in India but are really helpful, this index being one of them. No one being seemingly interested in my ideas did not deter me as I know good ideas take time to percolate and they have over time. It does not matter if people credit me or not, but they percolate in one way or the other in both the democratic camps as well as the fascist ones.
To expand on it – there are several studies on this in connection with India:
They are Bloomberg’s study
Gallup’s one on Global Emotions
Gallup Sharecare Wellbeing Index
Global Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Report
Happy Planet Index
Indigo Wellness Index
OECD Better Life Index
UN Human Development Reports
World Happiness Report (About Covid 19 and its handling and mental health etc)
India is not high or very low in all these rankings, usually. These studies deal with 2019, to now. For example in the UN Human Development Ranks India is 131 out of 191 countries or places listed. We are in the medium human development rank and not in the high or highest and the only reason we are there at least is as there is a new way of measuring human development that take in more factors that were not there earlier which benefits us by being a large country with, for instance, more green cover etc. (http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2020.pdf)
I should go on to the other studies but let me come to the point. From 1947 till Nehru was there and due to the ill effects of colonialism, which made us want to prove we can do better, and as long as the five year plans were in place till about the sixties India was actually doing well and growing. The Debacle of the time from the Emergency till now is well documented. By debacle I mean in wellbeing and happiness indices in world studies and all the people in the world know it whether through Bloomberg or Gallup or UN or World Bank or whatever.
Now to come to the difference between the Congress and the BJP. The Congress knows that India is steadily going down a black hole but at least pays lip service to the idea of a recovery but the BJP’s method is not this, but consists merely of diversionary tactics.
These diversionary tactics do not have anything to do with growth as a nation but with a macabre plan to try to reduce the nation’s population by using tools Hitler tried to including “ethnic cleansing”, in this case starting with the Muslims. The non-BJP people with power being also Hindu upper caste keep silent mostly if anyone points out that this is no solution but the solution is to deal with going up in the Wellbeing and Happiness index. Instead they also play the destructive game of action and reaction, talking of Ayodhya, Muslims being jihadis, Marxists being Maoists, tribals having to be kept as museum pieces (powerless), Dalits as slaves and servants etc,. and other bogeys that are meant to take our minds away from our real issues like poverty, food paucity, water paucity, uneven growth of wealth, air pollution, urbanization etc., while the country remains stagnant and on the path of destruction as no party in India has any real vision how to fix its longstanding problems and have a bright future and all refuse to listen to people with sense. In short, Indians are lost and steered by a lost set of leaders who only know how to look the other way as fascism rises or are fascists themselves, mainly from the Hindu upper-caste ruling juntas in all parties.
The Inequality Adjusted Human Indices/Index are as follows: “Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI)
The IHDI combines a country’s average achievements in health, education and income with how those achievements are distributed among country’s population by “discounting” each dimension’s average value according to its level of inequality. Thus, the IHDI is distribution-sensitive average level of human development. Two countries with different distributions of achievements can have the same average HDI value. Under perfect equality the IHDI is equal to the HDI, but falls below the HDI when inequality rises.” (http://hdr.undp.org/…/inequality-adjusted-human…)
The difference between the IHDI and HDI is the human development cost of inequality, also termed – the overall loss to human development due to inequality. The IHDI allows a direct link to inequalities in dimensions, it can inform policies towards inequality reduction, and leads to better understanding of inequalities across population and their contribution to the overall human development cost. A recent measure of inequality in the HDI, the Coefficient of human inequality, is calculated as an unweighted average of inequality across three dimensions.
Between India’s genuine problems that badly need fixing and its diversionary self-destructive tactics is the loss of freedom. “Man is born free but is everywhere in chains” and nowhere more so than in India, as in all the high development index countries by the new methods of measuring a countries welfare a man or woman or person of any gender is free to change his or her or their class, station in life, job, religion, nationality, gender, colour of eyes, colour of skin, colour of hair and travel freely etc but in the countries at the bottom this is not so. They only have a claim to be democratic but are not.
I stand for freedom and no diversionary tactics and global as well as national wellbeing and happiness and not for stultification of cultures to their detriment. Freedom and advancement comes from hybridity and not false notions of purity and though I speak alone I prefer to do so and am ready to continue speaking alone as a sane voice than to join any group or faction none of which supported me in the name of these diversionary tactics which they are also embroiled in in a futile for and against fashion instead of looking long and hard at the real problems India faces.
To misquote Marx freedom lovers all over the world unite, we have nothing to lose but our chains to these ideas that stop us from being more and more free. While absolute freedom is a myth and has its own follies we shall always move towards more and more freedom, freedom to change for the better, to change ourselves into what we want and like, and not be ruled by the majority anywhere, or injustice, but to go up in life to equality and equity, as that is the democratic path.
Dr Koshy AV is an author