Sunday, June 13, 2021

Winning Happiness: a book by TS Chawla – Reviewed by Principal Bahadur Singh

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Winning Happiness is a beautiful book on Life Skills from the pen of Mr. T S Chawla, a veteran and renowned journalist having more than five decades of experience in journalism and public life. In 1974, he was nominated to CPU (Commonwealth Press Union, London) the most prestigious of the world that time in a young age. He remained member of Central Board of Film Certification).

He started his monthly journal Barricade in Jan. 1973. He represented important national dailies for thirty years. Winning Happiness is the outcome of his experiences and observations while discharging his duties and responsibilities as a professional and a
responsible citizen of the country, meeting people from all walks of life rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty from industry, business, politics and government exchanging his views and ideas with them.

Happiness, jubilation, unhappiness, sorrow, gloom and sadness are all states of mind in different situations. Everybody encounters all these situations at different occasions in life. The author has described in detail the matters which affect & influence the human mind; like Human Values, Anti-values, Virtues, Habits & Conditions in different chapters, not in the same order. He covers human values like honesty, sincerity, integrity, truthfulness, compassion, kindness, patriotism, selflessness etc. which contribute to the character of an individual.

Any person having these attributes is better placed to win happiness in life. It is not easy to maintain all these characteristics as the life itself is not easy, but the individuals with strong willpower are able to overcome the temptations which come across while dealing with different people in public life and those are the people who lead their life with pride and high self-esteem.

He covers various virtues like contentment, love, patience, tolerance, listening to others,
accessibility etc. in other chapters. These are other attributes which constitute a high character of a person. One develops these qualities from family, school & college, colleagues at workplace and the people with whom he or she interacts in life. He also covers anti-values like anger, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, lust, greed, intolerance, corruption, guilt, selfishness etc. in

still other chapters. Anti-values degenerate human mind. these cause lot of dissipation of one’s energy and become cause of restlessness. these consume the mental peace of an individual, spoil relations with near & dears and ultimately lead to unhappiness. These are the anti-values which he describes how to deal with and overcome to become a better person and ultimately win happiness.

Then there are chapters on mental conditions like tension, stress, distress, disappointment, frustration, depression, fear, worry, loneliness, belongingness, acceptability etc. These are also the conditions through which all human beings pass under different situations. These take a lot of mental toll and a cause for unhappiness. Fear is one of the major mental condition which is the reason to eat upon one’s happiness.

Fear is our imagination & perception about uncertain and unforeseen future; it may be due loss in business, job, health, crop or the perception of loss of reputation. Human mind keeps on working on all these perceived fears more so of unoccupied mind. A busy person rarely finds time to be afraid of anything and hence free from worries and fear.

It is very important to keep one’s mind occupied in work, hobbies, listening to music or reading. Reading does not only keep our mind occupied but enhances our knowledge and hence improves our worldview too. There are chapters on spirituality and meditation. Spirituality helps in developing faith and trust in God and hence in making a better person.

The author suggests spirituality and meditation to deal with anger, jealousy, hatred, lust, intolerance, selfishness and corruption. Meditation helps in controlling restless in mind by concentration and in attaining peace of mind; the most essential thing to win happiness. Right in the beginning the author lists good health and sound finances as essential ingredients to be happy.

A person who is worried about leading a comfortable life on account of lower means of income can rarely be happy; it does not mean that every person should be rich like big industrialists or big businessmen or rich politicians but must be able to take care of family needs, to provide good education to his children, have one’s own house, all the gadgets to lead a comfortable life and a reasonable bank balance to take care of unforeseen expenditure and old age life.

A financially dependent person, even on one’s own children or pouse cannot lead a happy life. The author suggests every person to build his or her financial security during his productive life. These days the economic policies of the government are market oriented due to which interest rates have fallen to a historic low level and in future there are no chances of increasing.

So, the retired people who are not covered by government pension have to be more careful in planning their finances to remain financially secure. Good health is another major factor to lead a happy life.

Here the author suggests a healthy lifestyle which demands regular exercise, yoga and meditation on the one hand and discipline in one’s dietary habits. Simple and nutritious diet, preferably vegetarian, is very important for good health. The author also talks about the problem of loneliness and lack of attention & consideration towards old people. The problem of loneliness is becoming very serious after the breakdown of joint family and emergence of nuclear family.

As the children have started moving away from Joint family, either due to jobs away from the place of birth or otherwise, the elderly couples are left behind to fend for themselves. Here the community support and one’s social affiliations are very important to lead a dignified old life and to escape from unhappiness. Another factor which contributes immensely towards happiness is the sense of achievement in life; material, social or intellectual.

When one has passed through his productive years of life and looks back, one should be able to find something he or she has done for the growth of society and country at large; this sense of achievement gives lot of satisfaction and happiness. Everybody faces ups & downs and failures & successes in the journey of life.

One must learn to leave behind one’s failures and be thankful to the God for success, whatever it was. Thankfulness is another attribute which helps in winning happiness. Defense Mechanics is a branch of psychology which deals with mental exercise to justify one’s own actions for oneself or to let things go which disturb one’s peace of mind. The author has dealt with hope, faith, trust and self-confidence in one of the chapters.

Hope and faith sustain life. Hope, faith, trust and self-confidence are essential ingredients in attaining reasonably strong defense mechanism. All of us commit mistakes in life unintentionally and sometimes intentionally also. One must be psychologically strong enough to correct the same if possible and to overcome the sense of guilt arising out of these mistakes.

People with weak defense mechanism suffer from regret, self-pity, depression and become victims of hopelessness and helplessness and those with very weak defense mechanism end up committing suicide. So, it is very important to build a strong defense mechanism to win happiness. Winning Happiness is beautiful book and a must read for learning Life Skills to be happy in life.

TS Chawla is a senior journalist based at Ludhiana.
M: 93169-17706, 85919-06647

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