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GNH: a failure?

Bhutan is often addressed as a GNH country by the outsiders but how true is it? Are the people really happy and content with their lives? Is there nothing more they seek in life? As per the GNH survey conducted by Centre for Bhutan Studies, 24,000 Bhutanese females dwelling in the rural part of southern Bhutan suffer from mental distress. For a population of over six hundred thousand population is it healthy? There is no concrete answer to why women suffer.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Yoezer Thinley proposed to the United Nations to make Gross National Happiness (GNH) as one of the Millennium Development Goals. Bhutan gained instant recognition at international level on introduction of GNH. But UN is yet to deliberate on this issue based on the report submitted.

During one of the GNH conference held in Thimphu, Bhutan there were questions raised by the Secretary of Ministry of Information and Communications, Dasho Kinley Dorji as to whether the Bhutanese are really happy or not. He said, before introducing to the world it would be wise if Bhutan implemented it first.

The Secretary also said, GNH is a reputation that we are yet to fully earn. We still have important people in Bhutan and decision makers in Bhutan who think GNH is a catch phrase to attract rich tourists. We are looking for the national narrative that we would like to call GNH. We are yet to reach out many sections of the society. We have dislocation of academics, policy makers, people, and media.

He concluded, “we are missing or do not have enough intellectuals or public discourse. I think it is important to make GNH work in Bhutan before we go out to teach the world. Nevertheless, there are also many who think GNH is a success and must promote it globally to make earth a better place to live in.”