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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Women don’t feel in control of their lives

Arnab Mitra, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 15, 2013
First Published: 22:42 IST(15/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(16/1/2013)

Delhiites are most likely to share jokes and break into laughter. And men are more likely to do so than women. But as a country, we don’t quite share as many jokes and laugh as loudly and frequently as we may want to.

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The first Hindustan Times-MaRS Happiness Survey, the most definitive such study ever undertaken, throws up findings such as these that have never before come to light.

Empirical evidence suggests that we are not a very giving nation. But did you know that we’re not blase about it? Indians across the country are very unhappy with the meagre amounts they give to the less unfortunate.

The survey suggests that the prolonged economic slowdown, the rising crime graph and crumbling civic amenities are taking a toll on our collective psyche. Residents of nine out of 16 cities surveyed say their feeling of positivity regarding the country was “under strain”. Two cities said they were unhappy on this count.

Then, only about half of all Indians feel they are in control of their future. Tellingly, women across all age groups say their happiness on this count is “under strain”. Men, on the other hand, say they are “somewhat happy” on this parameter.

The only groups that felt slightly more positive than this were working men and Indians in the 26-35 age group. But they, too, said they were only “somewhat happy”.

Morally and ethically, India seems to be living in a twilight zone. But the good news is that we’re aware that we are, as a nation, falling short of the standards we should set for ourselves. Half the country admits that their happiness at “acting by values” is “under strain”. And there’s little difference of opinion here between men and women.

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