Haryana chief minister ML Khattar has urged a weekly cease-fire for our turbulent times. At a Raahgiri event in Kurukshetra, a location permanently identified with combativeness, he suggested that Sunday should be declared a no-criticism day. Since today is not Sunday, there is a strong case for declaring open season on him, but that would be mean-spirited.
That’s precisely the sort of ugliness that we wish to untie ourselves from, in the manner of Houdini, and soar up the world happiness index. India is among the 25 most unhappy countries at the slippery end of the slope. There is lots of room to soar.
Khattar wants Sunday to be FUNday, marked by Forgiveness, Untying and No criticism. He borrowed from John F Kennedy’s inaugural address to exhort the youth to stop complaining about being short-changed, and to think about what they can do for the country instead. Prior generations did take that line, and were generally happier for it. Of course, we are violating the F and N clauses in FUN by blaming the youth for a general malaise, but you can’t have everything. To strive beyond one’s means guarantees unhappiness.
Therefore, it is wise to concentrate on generating happiness itself, rather than the categories on which the happiness index rests — income, the expectation of a healthy life, freedom, social support, trust and generosity of spirit. The last two went out of style long ago. The employment deficit is widening and healthy life appears to be a matter of luck. But we have freedom: The freedom to do as we please, even at the cost of the happiness of others. Let us therefore spurn these unreliable categories and pursue happiness itself. At least there will be no quantifiable grounds for criticism if we fail. Never on a FUNday, anyway”.