There are 195 countries in the world and all of them calculate their country economy by GDP except the one i.e. Bhutan where the economy of the country is calculated by GNH/GDH (Gross National Happiness/Gross Domestic Happiness). Yes, you heard it right that the economical wealth of Bhutan is measured by happiness and we all consider Bhutan the happiest country in the world. Also, it is totally worth measuring the country’s economic health based on happiness. Many countries around the world might be economically rich or wealthier than Bhutan but what’s the point if the citizens are not happy in their hearts.
Bhutan is a neighboring country of India already boasting of its Buddhist kingdom. If you haven’t visited this country then this blog will provoke you to visit this happiest country once. There are many reasons for which the people of Bhutan are happier than any other country. The most important one is their primitive culture and abundance of natural vistas. There are panoramic landscapes covered with greenery, Buddhist monasteries, and dzongs that are the actual wealth of Bhutan. Also, I am sure that until now you are unaware of the fact that Bhutan is also known as the “Switzerland of Asia”. Yes, Bhutan prospered with a huge amount of green space and they believe in protecting their nature and culture instead of exploiting it.
Let us know the 10 major points that help us to believe that Bhutan is the happiest country in the world.
1. They keep Happiness as a top priority
Of course, the economy of the country is important but Bhutanese believe that happiness is the foremost thing that denotes the country’s prosperity. Hence for the people of Bhutan happiness of the individual is as important as the economy.
Decades ago in 1972, the king himself realized that calculating the success of the country with GDP is absolutely wrong. GDP only calculates the financial growth of the country. However, many other things play an essential role in the development of the country like culture, fresh air, the health of the citizens, and their happiness. Hence, the king decided to measure the prosperity of the country by calculating happiness instead of substantial assets.
2. Bhutan has the World’s Youngest Democracy
Bhutan is one of the five countries that have the youngest democracy in the world. Bhutan became a democratic country in 2008. It is the first time that the citizens participated in a free and fair election. Until 2008, Bhutan was a country with absolute authority where the people had to follow the rules imposed by the king.
Another amazing fact related to Bhutan states that there is no navy or air force in Bhutan. It’s India that takes the responsibility of protecting Bhutan in case any war situation arises.
3. Bhutan believes in providing Free Healthcare services to all citizens
Until now we have seen that Universal Free Healthcare services are only offered in rich and well-developed countries. That is somewhere wrong as everyone has the right to stay fit and healthy. It’s Bhutan that has taken the initiative to prove this statement wrong and has provided Universal Free Healthcare for all its citizens. The present prime minister of Bhutan is a doctor along with a role as a politician and continues his practice on Saturdays. Despite being a politician, he never felt ashamed to work as a doctor and treat patients in hospitals. In Fact, he believes that it’s his job and he needs to continue this along with his responsibility as a leader of the nation.
4. Tobacco is strictly banned in Bhutan
The beauty of Bhutan lies in its lush greenery and sophisticated people who ensure to keep their surroundings clean. Like Indians, they don’t keep spitting tobacco here and there or litter in public places. In Fact, the government of Bhutan had taken an important decision in 2010 to ban the cultivation, sale, purchase, and consumption of tobacco in the country. Hats off to the Bhutan government for this mandatory decision to ban tobacco as it is an important initiative to keep the environment clean. The surprising fact about Bhutan is that it is the only country that has imposed a complete ban on the cultivation and use of cigarettes and tobacco.
In 2020 this ban was temporarily lifted due to the Covid-19 pandemic and importing cigarettes and tobacco was allowed with a permit. However, to import tobacco, individuals have to pay 100% sales tax and 100% customs duty. These charges were imposed to increase the prices of cigarettes which make it difficult for people to afford to buy them.
Also, if you are a smoker and visiting Bhutan with your cigarettes then you need to pay a heavy fee to take that tobacco inside the Bhutan boundaries.
The ban on tobacco is a mandatory step that needs to be taken to continue considering Bhutan a happy country.
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5. Basic education till the 10th standard is free for all students
Bhutanese believe that education is the right of all, hence the state government sponsors the education of students till the 10th standard. Also, admission to higher education is given only based on merit that provides fair chances to the worthy one. Private schools are not allowed to charge any fees other than the basic fees from students and the English language is also taught there along with the regional language ensuring the complete growth of the students. They don’t want that their students left behind internationally while keeping rooted with their culture
With this, we can assume that Bhutanese know the importance of education. Hence making this regulation provides a fair opportunity to the deserving ones. We can definitely consider this a fair reason for Bhutan’s happiness.
6. You will see literally no beggars in Bhutan
You might see Bhutan as an underdeveloped or a least developed country but the prosperity of Bhutan can be predicted by the number of beggars they have. There is no beggar in Bhutan that already makes Bhutan a rich country. Maybe not by its development but by obviously by its wealth. It is not like that in Bhutan everyone is working in a multinational company but the locals believe in helping each other instead of pulling them down.
The secret to Bhutan’s happiness is in the progressive mindset that comes from a primitive system. In this system, the king allocated a lot of land to the person who loses their land due to uncertain reasons. The person can do farming on the land to earn a livelihood. Certainly, it’s not a perfect system, but there are provisions, and it’s the main reason why people in Bhutan are so happy?
7. There is no traffic signal in Bhutan
You would definitely love Bhutan if you were waiting at signals and not listening to loud honking in traffic. Bhutan is a no Signal country and there is no traffic signal installed there. As you read the table line a hasty thought arises in your mind about how they control their traffic as it will get chaotic with so many vehicles on the road. But NO, instead of traffic signals, there are traffic officers at every crossing for guiding the vehicles. Also, people happily obey the traffic officer and follow all the traffic rules. It’s hard to believe that people strictly follow rules and it’s the actual secret to the happiness of Bhutanese.
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8. Bhutanese don’t celebrate their birthdays
People in Bhutan don’t think that celebrating a particular day as a birthday is the right way to appreciate this precious life gifted by god. If you ask any Bhutanese what their birthdate is, perhaps they will not be able to answer this question. Don’t take it as rude behavior as the reason here is something different. Actually, most of the people in Bhutan don’t know their date of birth and celebrate their birthday on the 1st of January.
Bhutan thinks differently and this is the actual secret behind the happiness of the people of Bhutan.
9. Bhutanese are not influenced by the glamour of western culture
The influence of western culture looks fascinating but it comes with certain problems. Well, I am feeling good to introduce you to the fact that the people of Bhutan will not face such a problem, (not so soon) as they are not influenced by mesmerizing western culture.
Someone said it right that Western culture is a double-edged sword. It provides you with Scientific advancements and development but the side effect of the charming westernization is still unrevealed.
Until 1974, Bhutan was detached from the world. Even the use of television and the internet was banned till 1947 when it was declared an independent nation. Tourism was also not at all allowed in this country before independence. This is the main reason why Bhutan is still not disturbed by western influence and does not face problems that western influence countries are presently facing. People in Bhutan are happy following their own culture and growing at their own pace.
10. Bhutan is the first carbon-negative country
Bhutan is one of the three carbon-negative countries in the world. Apart from Bhutan, Suriname and Panama are the countries that are listed as the carbon-negative countries in present times. So, you will get an abundance of fresh air to breathe in Bhutan. Also, as per the law, it is mandatory to have 60% of land covered with trees and greenery. Presently, 71 % land of Bhutan is covered with trees and forest areas that emit enough oxygen to call off the effect of carbon dioxide in the air.
Another fact about Bhutan says, that the people there believe in preserving their land and forest area. If people are found hunting or killing endangered species then it will be considered an illegal activity and strict punishment and even life imprisonment will be imposed on them.
Apart from preserving natural heritage, they reuse plastic very wisely so that it doesn’t adulterate the environment. The best example of this is the prayer wheels that are installed in the temples. These prayer wheels are made of plastic bottles and these are further decorated to give enchanting look.
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After understanding all these things we can actually relate to Bhutan and happiness easily. It’s not like Bhutan is an underdeveloped country and people don’t want to grow and become progressive. But it’s the only country in the world that keeps the happiness of its people as a priority. The wilderness of Bhutan might amaze you and make you their fan but the happy people here are a major attraction here. they are growing at their own pace, conserving their unique culture, and setting a mark for the developed nations. I hope that this blog will inspire you to visit Bhutan personally and experience why Bhutan is known as the happiest country in the universe and the ultimate holiday destination in the world?