THIMPHU, Aug 18: Bhutan has understood the essence of happiness and it is not a surprise that the Himalayan nation has become synonymous in the world for its concept of Gross National Happiness, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Sunday.
Addressing the students of the Royal University of Bhutan, Prime Minister Modi said the world had a lot to learn from Bhutan where development, environment and culture are not at loggerheads but in synergy.
“In any part of the world, if we ask the question what do you associate with Bhutan, the answer will be the concept of Gross National Happiness. I am not surprised. Bhutan has understood the essence of happiness,” he said.
“Bhutan has understood the spirit of harmony, togetherness and compassion. This very spirit radiates from the adorable children who lined the streets to welcome me yesterday. I will always remember their smiles,” Modi said.
Modi arrived in Bhutan on Saturday on a two-day state visit. This is his second visit to the country and the first since his re-election.
Gross National Happiness is a term coined by the fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
“Bhutan’s message to humanity is happiness. Happiness which springs from harmony. The world can do with a lot more happiness. Happiness, which shall prevail over mindless hate. If people are happy, there will be harmony, where there is harmony, there will be peace. And it is peace that will help societies achieve progress through sustainable development,” Modi said.
He said in a time where development is often seen in conflict with traditions and the environment, the world has much to learn from Bhutan.
“Here, development, environment and culture are not at loggerheads but are in synergy. With the creativity, energy and commitment of our youth, our nations can achieve all that is required for a sustainable future whether it is water conservation or sustainable agriculture or making our societies free of single-use plastic,” Modi said. (PTI)