Summary of “Lapham’s Quarterly”

The shoot served as both the debut of-and, in its grandstanding way, a metaphor for-the Indian government’s latest addition to its sprawling bureaucracy: the Ministry of Happiness.
The media blitz, the press photos, the public speeches, the calendar, the government’s promises-none of these really answered a central question: Was the ministry a sincere effort? Or was it merely a marketing campaign, an attempt to project the image of a happy country without actually addressing the concrete problems-food insecurity, homelessness, joblessness, violence, and uncompromising gender roles-that tend to hold most Indians back from pursuing happiness in their own way?
In 1972, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck declared, “Gross national happiness is more important than gross domestic product” and created a Gross National Happiness Index, which acts like a political barometer, slumping when social or political ills overwhelm.
The idea of a Gross National Happiness Index remained mostly foreign to the West until 2008, when French president Nicolas Sarkozy commissioned economists Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, and Jean-Paul Fitoussi to study how useful it would be to consider happiness when developing global indexes.
One of the results of Resolution 65/309 has been the annual World Happiness Report, the country-by-country ranking of national happiness on which India had fallen toward the bottom.
There is the United Arab Emirates’ robust Ministry of Happiness and Well-Being, designed to “Align and drive government policy to create social good and satisfaction.” There was Nigeria’s Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment, in the state of Imo, which aimed to “Reduce the costs in skilling employees and improve the employability of young people.” And then-after India slipped seven places from its original ranking of 111 in 2013, and it was noted by Indian media that Pakistan ranked higher-the country created its ministry.
Two years before the Happiness Ministry was announced, Modi launched a “Make in India” campaign that attempted to officially market some of these practices, including yoga, as a UNESCO-protected Indian heritage.
A little over a year into the Ministry of Happiness’ existence, a strange incident occurred: Lal Singh Arya, the ministry’s director, went missing.

The orginal article.