So much for the concept of Gross National Happiness, a concept developed and promoted as an index of well-being by the Royal Government of Bhutan in 2005. While efforts to quantify it were widely publicized and discussed, nobody seemed to take the Bhutan government to task for its treatment of the ethnically Nepali Lhotshampas and their being forced out of the country. There is an entire population of them resettled or waiting to be resettled in other countries.
"Over 105,000 Bhutanese have spent more than 15 years living in refugee camps established in Nepal by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Thousands more are living outside the camps in Nepal and India, and some in North America, Europe and Australia."
I came across one of those Bhutanese Nepali refugees a few weeks ago, as I mention in my personal blog post" Threaded"
For some refugees, the change of location has led to a hope for a new life, for example, a group settled in Pittsburgh, PA. (Article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
"They arrive, for the most part, at Pittsburgh International Airport with little more than the clothes they are wearing. They must quickly learn to navigate an unfamiliar city, speak English, adjust to American practices and organizations, find work and send their children to school.
Their journey here and the acculturation process after they arrive involve layers of international groups, U.S. government agencies, a resettlement organization and social services."
But for some it is too much to handle, with tragic results.
"He was found dead hanging in a laundry room Friday morning,” Bhanu Phuyel, another refugee resettled in the same city, told ekantipur.com from the US….Six members of the family were sharing a two-bed room apartment along with another family with four people. They had not received any other facility except food card.
[Jit Bahadur Pradhan] was annoyed with the circumstances, and used to complain with his two sons that the situation there was no better than in the camp in Nepal."
Will these dispossessed ever have their questionnaires added to those back home in Bhutan? What will happen to its much-vaunted high GNH quotient then?
Gross National Happiness does equal Gross National Irony, in this case.