--BY MADAN LAMSAL
Recently, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network published the ‘World Happiness Report 2021’. In the report, the UN body proclaimed Nepal as the happiest country in the whole of South Asia. There are some people who have been jumping up and down in joy with this news. Why wouldn’t they? They now have this report in their hands that has effectively put a gag in the mouths of the government’s critics who have criticised it for doing nothing. But what can you do? There are also some people who are unhappy with the news of Nepal topping South Asia’s happiness list! But that’s not a matter of any great worry for the government as the facts and figures are in its favour.
Let’s look at some examples. Leaving aside a few exceptions, there are quite a lot of government employees receiving not only salaries but also pensions for doing nothing. ‘How to pass the time in office’ which was once one of their greatest worries has been taken care of by the share market. Now they mark their attendance in the office, open their computers and spend their days watching the red and green colours of the share market. They contact the share brokers if they have to buy or sell shares. It’s so easy. The online buying and selling of shares has only made their lives even easier. But let’s not mention here the kind of deep joy government employees feel when bribes land on the table! Why wouldn’t such a country where so many government employees are happy-go-lucky be a happy country?
Similarly, over a million political cadres are making hay while the sun shines! All they have to do in return is pander to the taste of big politicians. Just imagine the kind of happiness it has brought to their families! Why can't a country where so many people can live a happy life without any known source of income not top the list of happy countries?
The hardworking Nepali migrant workers have been remitting money back home even if they have to toil hard in foreign countries for that. That money has indeed brought smiles to the faces of their kith and kin. Those who couldn’t even get to eat millet bread in the past are today savouring pizzas and ice-creams. Such a happy population surely can't exist anywhere else in the world! That Norway must have made it to number one by some serious hoodwinking. Otherwise, Nepal would have topped the list of happy nations!
Going by Facebook though, not a single unhappy soul exists in the country. Look at all the bright beaming faces on tiktok having all the fun in the world. And all the photos of Nepalis celebrating their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and trips to Rara and the Sahara, in much the same way as the ex-royals did in the past. Seeing all this, even the statisticians who created the Happiness Index must have felt a great sense of happiness themselves.
Now you might mention that there are also many who can’t manage even one square meal a day in this country and that we have to consider them as well. But haven't you noticed Singha Durbar reaching out to every village in this country to serve the poor? The rise of self-appointed greedy monarchs in those villages of the Republic of Nepal? And their sycophants, lackeys and boot-lickers who naturally follow. It is always a party at their homes. Feasting, partying and dancing every day. As if there are any unhappy people in the country.
Agriculture is the toughest occupation. But after the government implemented the policy of buying food grains instead of growing them in the country, the people, too, have started buying and eating them, leaving their lands untouched. Therefore, the ever-rising import of agricultural produce is also an unmistakable sign of the people being happy. Why would those who envy all this praise it?
There are several more things that prove that Nepalis are really happy. The import of liquor has kept on rising despite the hike in customs duties. Those who hardly got to taste hooch are now sipping Scotch whiskys. The increase in the consumption of liquor is another evidence of happiness. Can anything else give you as much pleasure and happiness as liquor? What’s more, if those campaigning for lifting the ban on cannabis farming in the country become successful, just imagine how happy the Nepalis will be!
The biggest sources of fun for us are the political dramas that we get to see and hear free of cost day in and day out. The politicians make us laugh by unifying, splitting and reunifying their parties. There is no reason why the people of a country where the politicians are better than comedians in cracking jokes should not be happy! The people laugh when they don’t understand what some of our politicians are saying.
They also laugh out loud when they understand too much. The situation is such that the TV channels may have to close down their comic shows! Seeing everyone happy, the statisticians who prepared the happiness index must have been on cloud nine. So doesn't Nepal deserve to be number one in South Asia in terms of happiness!?
Truthfully speaking, Nepal should have been declared the happiest country in the whole world. But it was shrunk to the happiest country in South Asia as it was discounted for being a third world country. Now Nepal, too, is going to rise to the level of a middle-income country from its current status of a least developed country. Therefore, it's time to demand that this organisation which prepared the ‘world happiness report’ proclaim Nepal which has so many qualities as the happiest nation in the whole world. Otherwise, we will send our ‘hunger strike grandpa’ to its New York-based headquarters to stage a sit-in there! Then we will see how they will oppose our demands to declare Nepal as the happiest nation in the world!!