2.12         ndian      onom
     guide for their nations and the world. The World                 A time also came when many scholars and
     Happiness Report was published in support of these          world leaders raised the ultimate question—
     efforts to bring the study of happiness into public         are we happier today? And in the wake of this
     awareness and public policy. This report offers             increased ‘scrutiny’ around the world, there came
     rich evidence that the systematic measurement               the UN resolution of 2011 which invited member
     and analysis of happiness can teach us much                 countries to measure the happiness of their
     about ways to improve the world’s well-being and            people and to use this to help guide their public
     sustainable development. Now it depends on the              policies. The WHR 2012 itself provides a very
     nations as how they use the findings of the WHR.            interesting and eye-opening inquiry into the state
                                                                 of human happiness in the world. To understand
     the bAckgrounD                                              the ‘shift’ which is expected to take place among
     In July 2011 the UN General Assembly passed a               policymakers around the world in coming years,
     historic resolution.13 It invited member countries          it will be better to lift some ideas from the first
     to measure the happiness of their people and to use         WHR: 16
     this to help guide their public policies. This was                (i) This is an age of stark contradictions.
     followed in April 2012 by the first UN high-level                       While at the one hand the world
     meeting on happiness and well-being, chaired by                         enjoys technologies of unimaginable
     the Prime Minister of Bhutan. At the same time                          sophistication, at the other hand,
     the first World Happiness Report was published,14                       at least one billion people are living
     followed some months later by the OECD                                  without enough to eat. The world
     Guidelines setting an international standard for                        economy is propelled to soaring new
     the measurement of well-being.15                                        heights of productivity through ongoing
                                                                             technological         and        organisational
     re-imAgining the iDeA of hAPPiness                                      advances; yet it is relentlessly destroying
     Search for a ‘happier’ life for humanity has been                       the natural environment in the process.
     the ultimate aim of not only saints, seers and                          Countries achieve great progress in
     philosophers, but of economists too. The whole                          economic development as conventionally
     gamut of economics literature on progress,                              measured; yet along the way countries
     growth and development is ultimately aimed at                           succumb to new crises of obesity, smoking,
     bringing more ‘happiness’ into the lives of human                       diabetes, depression, and other ills of
     beings. Over the time, diverse ideological currents                     modern life. These contradictions would
     impressed upon the humanity to take variety                             not come as a shock to the greatest sages
     of ‘meanings’ out of the highly subjective term                         of humanity, including Aristotle and the
     ‘happiness’—and finally, the humanity is where                          Buddha, who taught humanity, time
     it is today.                                                            and again, that material gain alone will
                                                                             not fulfil our deepest needs. Material life
       13.   UN General Assembly, Happiness: Towards a Holistic
                                                                             must be harnessed to meet these human
             Approach to Development, United Nations 19 July
             2011.                                                           needs, most importantly to promote the
       14.   J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard & J. Sachs (eds.), World             end of suffering, social justice and the
             Happiness Report 2012, Earth Institute, New York,               attainment of happiness.
             USA, 2012.
       15.   OECD; Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-        16.    J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard and J. Sachs (eds.), World
             being, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and            Happiness Report 2012, Earth Institute, New York,
             Development, Paris, 2013.                                    USA, 2012.