Hi friends, some old-timers may remember me. I am PatnaDaily’s NPC (Non-Performing Columnist). Not that I have run short of ideas to write; it is just that I have become plain lazy. I have been busy with passive pleasures like TV and Social Networking. You don’t need to think or write, just exist and maximum press a few buttons.

टीवी और व्हाट्सप ने ग़ालिब निकम्मा बना दिया, वर्ना कॉलमिस्ट हम भी थे काम के ।

In addition to the above, age has taught me to expect less and accept more. I used to expect the world to behave and when it didn’t I voiced my opinion. Now I have developed tolerance. Now I can watch the world play its games with some detachment.

However, I got a bit worried when I read “Dukhi India drops to 122 on 2017 World Happiness Index”. The top ten happy countries are 1. Norway 2. Denmark 3. Iceland 4. Switzerland 5. Finland 6. Netherlands 7. Canada 8. New Zealand 9. Australia 10. Sweden.

Our country has dropped from 118th to 122nd among 155 countries. What about our neighbors? In fact, most of them are above India in the Happiness Index. China is at 79th position, Pakistan at 80th, Nepal at 99th, Bangladesh at 110th and Sri Lanka at 120th position. Why, even the strife torn Iraq is above us at 117th position.

Well what are the factors considered for evaluation? The top six factors are income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government. The top countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

India ranked near the bottom in these six factors that go into ranking, even though one of the metrics, GDP per capita income, has been improving all the time, proving again that money does not beget happiness.

India is a country of brilliant people. Indians provide the world the greatest thinkers, scientists and philosophers. Yet, even after seven decades of independence, we continue to be a developing nation filled with sad people. This means that Indians are unable to display their brilliance in India. What has gone wrong?

To begin with India sends out a clear message to its people that merit is not rewarded here. We have carried a non-performing caste based reservation policy on our heads since independence. Even the authors of our Constitution intended it to be a short term correctional measure but for votes we have carried it for decades after decades. In all these decades, few poor people have ever benefitted from this policy but this policy has most certainly driven out thousands of talented, meritorious youth to other countries.

Then comes the availability of jobs. An Indian male marries twice, once to a lady and then to his job. Once married, he is loyal to both whether he likes them or not. The dismal job scene often results in people spending their whole life time doing jobs which they detest. Jobs for which they have no aptitude. Square pegs hammered into round holes. They do it for the money. Often, they are under employed and under paid. Each day is a burden for them. The prospect of going to work causes depression. Add to this the exploitive employers who derive sadist joy by making their employees miserable. Working after office hours and on holidays ruins family life and results in depressed, miserable families. Further, add to this the corruption and unavailability of basic needs of life.

While we make efforts to transform our vast population into skilled workers, let us first start by ensuring respect for merit and good, fair working conditions for the talented work force we already have to stop them from running away or becoming disillusioned non-performing assets.

Mere tall talk will not make India a super power. Happy people can only transform this country. If India could provide conditions in which people’s passion becomes their profession and there is respect for merit, India will become a super power in every sense of the word overnight. Happy people will transform their beloved country in no time. After all, these are the very same people who have transformed other countries which respected their merit and gave them a good life. Brain storming is needed to make India happier.