Building a happy and healthy society

Hyderabad: English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad along with other central universities have participated in the Presidential address programme on topic ‘Building a happy society’.

Addressing the students, faculty of higher educational institutions and officer trainees at civil service academies through video conference on the theme, ‘Building a Humane and Happy Society’, President Pranab Mukherjee said, “Happiness is equally the outcome of non-economic and economic parameters.

The focus has to be on eliminating poverty, ensuring environmental sustainability, working towards social inclusion, and providing good governance to achieve the goals of sustainable development.

Eradication of poverty would provide a strong boost to happiness. A sustainable environment would prevent irreparable harm to the planetary resources and to future generations. Social inclusion would ensure access to the fruits of progress to all.

Good governance implies the ability of people to shape their own lives through transparent and accountable participatory political institutions.”

The President advised the youth to take interest in sports and nurture a healthy body. He said they should be mindful of what they eat and pointed out that bringing smiles on the faces of the deprived and the under-privileged can be a truly rewarding experience.

Referring to the abundance of negative feelings around us, the President said incidents of violence against women, road rage, substance abuse, and suicides are all manifestations of unhappiness.

“They must be dealt with by inculcating positive emotions and displacing negative emotions.” He told the youth to seek help if they need it.

The President advised the youth to make books their best friends and develop a love for books. He called upon them to develop an interest for art and culture and cultivate a habit of life-long learning.

He said, “Happiness is fundamental to the human experience of life.” “Detailed research has shown that there are some basic attributes of happiness and well-being.

Factors that have been found to differentiate the level of happiness in the different regions of the world are: per capita income; healthy years of life expectancy; social support; level of trust; perceived freedom to make life decisions; and generosity.

Higher income is no doubt important. But equally important are a better frame of mind and body, and existence of trust in the society. Material wealth can provide comfort but not necessarily happiness.”

Talking about the programme Prof Sunaina Singh, Vice Chancellor, EFLU, stated that the President’s emphasis for faculty development, linkages with foreign institutions, industry-academia interface, research and innovation, international rankings, engagement with society have translated into effective outcomes.

She remarked on the role institutions can have in building a happy society and in this context quoted Swami Vivekananda’s vision on ‘Man making education’.

She added that today we need to create new educational models such that education would signify the cultural and intellectual wealth of a nation.

She concluded her speech by stating that higher institutions can play a key role is in sharpening cognitive abilities as well as character building.

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