11 May, 2021

Drukonian Moves

Bhutan is swearing by happiness. But is it such a good thing?

Drukonian Moves
  • Gross national happiness is about balancing material growth with social, ecological, community and individual welfare
  • GNH lists 72 conditions to be happy holistically. These include psychological well-being, balanced time use, community vitality, living standard, health, education
  • Surveys indicate quality of life in cities poorer than in villages


The pensioner couple from Arkansas, US, on the Drukair flight from Delhi to Thimphu are excited about their first trip to Bhutan. “It’s the last Shangri-La on earth; we wanted to see it before it disappears.” But nothing annoys Bhutanese intellectuals in Thimphu more than hearing their country being called a Shangri-La. Unless it’s to hear their prime minister Jigmi Thinley claim that they are a happy nation. At the opening of Bhutan’s first-ever literary festival—Mountain Echoes—last fortnight in Thimphu, Thinley told a sceptical audience of Indian and Bhutanese...

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