Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country which will set up a Happiness Department. The department will identify and define parameters that make people happy. It will coordinate among various departments, recommend the essential policy changes, and also formulate an action plan to “increase the level of happiness and satisfaction” in the state.
Please note that the MP Happiness Department will have a president, a chief officer, a director (research), a director (coordination) and four research assistants among other staff. Experts working in the field can be nominated to the department. When Chouhan announced the decision of the MP Cabinet to set up the Happiness Department, he said, “Roti (food), kapda (clothes) and makaan (house) are basic necessities, but a human being needs more.”
Who Will Approach the Happiness Department?
I must concede that the MP Chief Minister has figured out life pretty well. We all need our daily bread. But man does not live by bread alone. He needs butter too. I am greatly intrigued by the Happiness Department. So intrigued, that I have drawn up a list of all those who may now approach the Happiness Department to seek the spark missing in their lives. Here goes my tentative list of those who will make immediate sampark with the MP Happiness Department. The list is open to review, and suggestions are welcome.
Students who are unhappy because of their exams. Husbands who are nagged by their wives and cannot meet their girlfriends. Wives who want to sneak into the phones of their husbands. Better still, into their minds. Pappus who can’t dance (Saala!) Roadside Romeos struck by Kolavari di. Sobbing the soup song. The flop song. Why this Kolavari Kolavari Kolavari Di! Parents who want their kids to be nothing less than King Khan.
Singles who don’t want to get married but are harangued by the ubiquitous ‘relatives and friends’. Couples who don’t want to have a child but are harangued by the same relatives and friends (Sania Mirza has provided them with a reason to cheer by ticking off Rajdeep Sardesai when he asked her when will she ‘settle down’. Way to go, tennis girl!)
Okay, back to the list. Youngsters who want to follow their passion. Sportspersons who don’t get qualified to make it to the next level. Babus who want the anti-corruption laws to be junked.
The task ahead is arduous, and the road is long. How will the Happiness Department manage this mammoth mission? The MP government says that the department will be headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. His intentions may have been sterling, but I am feeling a trifle unhappy for him already.
Consider this: Madhya Pradesh has a population of more than 7.25 crore! Government figures say people will tick ‘happiness’ in the various boxes of their lives on a mere budget of Rs 3.60 crore! How will they do it? But hey! They are trying, at least.
The Centre should take note and have its own Happiness Ministry. The Ministry can have a shot at success only if it is headed by Comedy King Kapil Sharma. Kapil, who is in love with his own voice and rightly so, must give some thought to what MP Chief Minister Chouhan has said.
I often wonder why, despite unprecedented growth in material prosperity and means of comfort in the world, happiness continues to elude us. What explains the ever growing intolerance, violence, despair and depression? On deep reflection, I felt material prosperity and facilities can provide comforts but not bliss.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in his blog
Chouhan hinted that health, income, yoga, positive attitude, sports and cultural activities can be among the parameters against which happiness is assessed in the state. I am all for this happiness mapping. It has been tried by several countries, including Bhutan and the US, as also by the United Nations.
The World Happiness Report 2016 by the UN ranks India at 118th among 156 countries, behind Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110). As usual, the Opposition isn’t thrilled.
MP Congress chief Arun Yadav reminded the CM of sadness prevailing everywhere because of rampant corruption and other administrative ills. These ills may prevail, but I am happy at least the Happiness Department will drive people in Madhya Pradesh to think about the happiness quotient in their lives. As for the Centre, I am waiting for the ministry to be created and for Kapil Sharma to take command. After all, how many problems can you solve armed only with ‘Babaji ka thullu’? The Nation needs more.
Published On Quint