There may arise confusion with the two headlines. Because, the headline of the first news, 'Bangladesh has advanced seven steps in the list of happy countries'. The latter is 'Bangladesh is the seventh saddest country in the world'. Two titles are contradictory. In one it seems that the country has moved forward in terms of happiness, in the other it seems that it has lagged behind. But from the detailed information, these two organisations conduct their survey using two different methods.

The United Nations has used human self-assessment as a yardstick to list happy countries. Feelings of personal well-being, personal freedom, GDP and levels of corruption were also taken into account for each country. And Gallup's survey takes into account a person's physical pain, anxiety, sadness, stress and anger.

This index of measuring happiness or sadness can be questionable as it is impossible to define absolute happiness. Sadness and unhappiness are not always synonymous. Someone may be very ambitious, he or she may aspire for more even when they have got enough. This man is not sad, dissatisfied. Therefore he is unhappy. That unhappiness constantly drives him towards the next achievement, motivates him. He may not want happiness, he wants victory. In that sense this dissatisfaction or unhappiness can be considered positive for progress.

Again in many cases happiness emanates from ignorance. When there is a fire, the child can be seen laughing happily. But since that irrational happiness brings doom, conscious unhappiness is many times more desirable than that. In fact, the artisans behind the progress are the dissatisfied and unhappy people. With that in mind the majority of such unhappy people are not of concern.

But we cannot ignore the factors that Gallup’s poll took into account to determine unhappy people. According to the survey, one thousand people from Bangladesh were interviewed from 27 February to 30 March. They are asked if they have anger, resentment, sadness, stress, physical distress and so on. It found that more than 3 out of 10 people said they had physical pain. One in four said they felt sorry for themselves while 23 per cent of the people who took part in the survey are angry about the whole way of life and social system.

The report blames the pandemic and the economic downturn. Such unhappiness is actually synonymous with sorrow and grief. They are not heading to the next achievement like unsatisfied aspirants. They are literally sick and miserable. To alleviate their grief, government initiatives like improved health care and creation of more employment are essential.

Read more from Editorial
Post Comment