Culture at the core of Mizo happiness : The Tribune India

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Culture at the core of Mizo happiness

Culture at the core of Mizo happiness

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

Raghavendra P Tiwari

THE main concerns of any society should be to contribute to human well-being, promote fellow feeling and cooperation, create a deep sense of accountability towards future generations and help preserve universal human values. The determinants of a civilised society are the treatment its members accord to each other and the quality of their interaction. Also, the strength of a society is gauged from the positive emotions and vibes it demonstrates even in testing times. Civilised societies derive happiness from such yardsticks of a civilisational discourse.

Earlier this year, a study ranked Mizoram as the happiest state in India, based on six parameters: family relationships, work-related issues, social issues and philanthropy, religion,

Covid-19’s effect on happiness, and physical and mental health. Mizoram has attained 100 per cent literacy, shedding the tag of a backward state, and witnessed rapid development. Its youth are highly motivated and skilled; they attain financial independence from an early age. Moreover, parental pressure to achieve success in examinations and in life on the whole is low.

The basic traits of the Mizo society are benevolence and compassion towards others, especially those in distress; a community mode of living, where people take care of each other’s needs; mutual trust and respect; a healthy life expectancy; enjoyment in whatever they possess and do; living for the present; cooperation with peers at the workplace; adaptability to emerging circumstances and being happy even for small reasons. Strangers are welcome — they can simply enter any house at mealtimes to have food.

Martin Seligman’s theory of human happiness reconciles two conflicting approaches — the individualistic approach emphasising that we should take care of ourselves, mend our ways and nurture our strengths; and the altruistic approach, which tends to downplay individuality and emphasises sacrifice for the sake of others to derive happiness. The uniqueness of the Mizo society is that it has blended personal grooming of individuals with societal development of the community.

Samaritanship is in full bloom. Voluntary services are rendered during festivals, marriages, birth and death-related rituals, besides for the reconstruction of houses damaged due to forest fires, flashfloods and landslides. The Mizo society is casteless and dowryless.

While economic growth is essential for the prosperity of a society, it is not the sole determinant of happiness. Mizoram’s success highlights the importance of its social fabric, cultural practices, lifestyle and an ecosystem for growth. I have been privy to it all during over three decades of my association with Mizoram. I wish that the Mizo society continues to practise these unique traits, defying the fast-emerging attributes of a so-called developed society, for the benefit of humanity.

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