“Bahujan sukhaya bahujan hitaya” and “sarve bhavantu sukhinah” – the two age-old concepts are till date practiced in India and will be practiced till immortality. India is a land where sages preached that material gain alone cannot fulfill all the needs. It is only in this nation where prayers are not complete until and unless one prays for the peace of universe, earth, trees, forests and all other elements of nature, be it living or non-living. The search for peace, happiness, and well-being knows no boundaries – as said by hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday while addressing the students and faculty of higher educational institutions and officer trainees at civil service academies through a video conference.
For the talk, President chose the topic “building a happy society”. The theme might look abstract, but as you will venture through the below enlisted highlights or the reflection thrown by the presidents, the views will automatically undergo a change. India is the second largest reservoir of scientific and technical manpower, the third military power, the sixth member of the nuclear club, the sixth in the race for space and the tenth industrial power. Thus, India has proved itself as the fastest growing economy amongst the major economies of the world.
In the world happiness report, India is at the 117th position out of the 158 countries mapped. President raised the question that why cannot we make attainment of happiness and well-being as a touchstone for our education system as well?
Happiness is equally the outcome of non-economic and economic parameters. The quest for happiness is closely tied to the quest for sustainable development, which is the combination of human well-being, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
Youth today are brimming with hope and aspirations. They pursue their life goals, which they perceive will bring them fame, success, and happiness, with single-minded devotion. They consider happiness as their existential objective, which of course is understandable. They search for “affective happiness” in the highs and lows of day-to-day emotions, and “evaluative happiness” in the fulfillment of life objectives they have set for themselves. At the individual level, happiness is a state of mind. At the societal plane, happiness is a complex phenomenon as it is intrinsically linked to the harmony amongst and fulfillment of goals of the society and its members.
He further said if an educational institution evokes in its students the feeling of being fulfilled, it will create in the student a happy frame of mind where learning will become a joyful experience. Good infrastructure, inspired teachers, and closeness to nature will all contribute to promoting a feeling of well-being. Students will look forward to education and desire to become a part of that education eco-system.
The institutions of higher learning – its academic leaders, faculty, students and alumni – have to work together to create that ecosystem where learning becomes a joyous experience; where education leads to the gaining of knowledge & wisdom and breeds a feeling of happiness. It is our educational institutes, the temples of learning, which must create these waves of happy human beings, who will build a Happy India. Only those who are happy can spread happiness. Youth comprises more than 65 percent of India’s total population. If we have happy youth, they can work towards happiness in the society.
The focus has to be on eliminating poverty, ensuring environmental sustainability, working towards social inclusion, and providing good governance to achieve the goals of sustainable development. Eradication of poverty would provide a strong boost to happiness. Unhappiness is associated with anger, sadness, worry, depression, stress and pain.
The tools to the path of happiness: We see abundance of such negative feelings around us. Incidents of violence against women, road rage, substance abuse, and suicides are all manifestations of this unhappiness. This has to be dealt with by inculcating positive emotions and by displacing negative emotions. Seek help if you need it. Practice yoga and meditation. Make books your best friends. Develop a love for books and inculcate the habit of reading. Develop an interest for art and culture. Become a keen observer of your surroundings and environment. Develop a habit of life-long learning.