So what is GNH after all ?
Since I am in Bhutan and since Tho is working in the GNH Centre, I have become quite a GNH « Expert »…just joking…but I do understand its vision, implementation, challenges
and structures better and better,
As it is also a dynamic paragdime ...actually a baby compared to other development strategies, it is also still in a "learning"phase, evolving, adapting,
I have joined quite a few great presentations and workshops
organized by GNH Centre, joined very inspiring conversations, discussions around this theme, met people who implement it, read various articles and reports by various organizations and I feel more and more at ease when people ask me : so what is GNH ?
Here in Bhutan when you ask just a « normal » person « on the street : So What is GNH, many will say : Oh actually I do not know much…
Even people with quite a lot of knowledge
and understanding will start saying they do not know a lot…firstly this is the Asian way…(in the west people who have made a week end course on a subject call themselves experts some times…not here in the east, boasting is really very
unpolite…true ?), But also I think that many know generally what GNH is as it is their « way of life » and how the country is organized….but they would not know how to explain it.
Then some tourist
or visitor might say : Oh actually the people here in Bhutan do not know what GNh really is…
Sometimes this really annoys me !
Imagine you go anywhere in Europe, Asia, Usa in the street and you ask
a « normal « person, a taxi driver in NY, a farmer in China, a tourist guide in Vietnam, a salesperson in a supermarket in Switzerland etc... to explain GDP to you, what is GDP, how does it function ? why GDP ?who « invented"
it ? how is it ,measured? since when ?, what are the advantages ? the challenges ? etc etc…
Believe me not many people would be able to explain this…-right ?
But here in Bhutan
people expect every farmer, shop keeper, taxi driver to explain the 4 pillars, 9 domains, the advantages, disadvantages of GNH.
I guess in a way they do know more here in Bhutan about GNh than in other countries about GDP, as GNH is more than just a
method...it is the way the 4th King envisioned the aim of development for the country, it is in a way their identity even if they cannot explain it!
Of course some people have studied the details and the complexity of GNh here in Bhutan,
but not everyone is a GNH expert and not everybody needs to be !
Yesterday Tho presented GNH to a group in Paro,
One of the participants from Singapore said : GNH is such an innovative way to implement development ! We
really hope Bhutan will not have to repeat all our mistakes, but that they will learn from our challenges and show a new way ahead…
One other participant said: We (GDP driven societies) need to change, there is no doubt: environment, inequalities,
social unrest, but the question is how much suffering will take before we will change..
So...why not give it a try :)