Religion and Happiness-by Alumna from Ceramic Engineering
Praharsh Sharma ECE2010 @ Nov 30, 2008
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(Chronicle note: This opinion article is written by our alumna from Ceramic Engineering. She wants to remain anonymous, and we respect the wish of our writer. The article states that the religion plays a major role in the happiness of the mankind.)


Below is one of the paragraphs from Amartya Sen biography on
In 1981, Amartya Sen published Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981), a book in which he demonstrated that famine occurs not only from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food. Sen's interest in famine stemmed from personal experience. As a nine-year-old boy, he witnessed the Bengal famine of 1943, in which three million people perished. This staggering loss of life was unnecessary, Sen later concluded. He presents data that there was an adequate food supply in Bengal at the time, but particular groups of people including rural landless laborers and urban service providers like haircutters did not have the monetary means to acquire food as its price rose rapidly due to factors that include British military acquisition, panic buying, hoarding, and price gouging, all connected to the war in the region. In Poverty and Famines, Sen revealed that in many cases of famine, food supplies were not significantly reduced.
In Bengal, for example, food production, while down on the previous year, was higher than in previous non-famine years. Thus, Sen points to a number of social and economic factors such as, declining wages, unemployment, rising food prices and poor food-distribution systems. These issues led to starvation among certain groups in society. His capabilities approach focuses on positive freedom, a person's actual ability to be or do something, rather than on negative freedom approaches, which are common in economics and simply focuses on non-interference. In the Bengal famine, rural laborers' negative freedom to buy food was not affected. However, they still starved because they were not positively free to do anything, they did not have the functioning of nourishment, nor the capability to escape morbidity.
This is very interesting information with lots of thoughts and lots of interesting words. In 26th July 2005 in Mumbai, Because of heavy rainfall, most of city was under water, thousands of People had suffered, but there were thousands of other people who were ready to help them.  Many people cooked food at their home and delivered them to people who were suffering. Many shopkeeper donated food to school where kids were left with teacher as they can’t go back to home.  Many young people helped old people and ladies to go the safe places. Many neighbors helped to people who were injured in the neighborhood. Many People helped/ donated whatever they had to needy people. Rather people becoming opportunistic, taking the advantage of this situation and maximizing their profit, people in the city of Ganesh decided, have truly prayed Ganesh by helping needy people.  During recent natural calamities, like Tsunami, floods, earthquakes, many religious institution like BAPS and many other religious or NGO (Non-Government organization), NPO (No-Profit Organization) have done lot of relief work during those times.
Many Universities people have done research that religious people are happier. But why????  Here is an equation for that:
A=B, B=C, C=D, then A= D, typical mathematical equation
Let Religion be A, which talks about good Karma B, Which bring good luck C, which in turn bring good life and happiness in life D. As A=D,
So religious people are more happy.
Religion talks about helping other. Whether in Satyanarayan Puja, you call people or Haldi Kumkum which I call religious ladies get-together or creating temple/Gurudwara/church for current generation and coming generation of people. Glide Church (Chris Gardener of “In Pursuit of Happiness” movie, have also stayed in this church with his son when he has no place sleep) in San Francisco City, has place to stay overnight to the people who have nowhere to go. Chris Gardener has donated lot of money to Glide Church.
Bay Area in California is full many marvelous Gurudwara like San Jose or Fremont Gurudwara.
In Mughal Era, Many marvelous religious or cultural monuments were created. These monument not only provided jobs to thousands of people and but they were the gift from those generation to us which we still cherish.
During dot com bubble or subprime loan problem, money has gone to different hand, from greedy people to Geeks, who just know what they wanted. Basically, money is still around us but we don’t know how to utilize it. If we can convince, people like Warren Buffet to create some monument or Church to his first wife Susan and/or Great Larry Ellison for his warm and loving adoptive Mother, it will create thousands of jobs for people in east coast and west coast.
When I see in SFO city increasing number of beggars and old people losing their job, we need to convince people create more church/Temple/Gurdwara/Masque with low cost accommodations for poor people. So that, these cultural or religious monument can create thousands of jobs everywhere in the world whether it is in US, China or Europe or India and coming generation which cherish them. In and around New Delhi, Lotus temple, Akshar Dham and Star Temple, etc. are examples of modern architecture and/or religious monument for coming generation.
There is another advantage of having these religious places; people avoid drinking in, around and close to it. If we have to fix the problem of drunk driving, we have to create more such religious places apart from creating more hospitals. Hospitals have their own advantages, but religion has just its own charm.
Additional Links:
1) Amartya Sen’s Book excerpts in Google Book search: “Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation (1981)”
Poverty and famines.jpg
Oxford University Press publication
2) An article in The Times, London by Joanna Sugden “Religious people more likely to be happy”
3) Religion and Happiness-article by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD
(Michael E. Nielsen is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia, USA)
4) Life Itself as a Modern Religion Complete-Book by Scientist-Philosopher Charles Blaise

Religion Life.jpg

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1 Comment(s) (The views expressed here are those of the commenters, and is not responsible for them.)
 Nandit Pathak said:

Commendable research, sir.

I, however, respectfully disagree. I think that since the fundamentals of religion revolve basically around belief in a power or an existence the proof of which one hasnt ever seen, the religion concept can very conveniently be twisted for non-constructive purposes. Terrorism is one such blatant example. The concept of jihad has been 'modified' to incite hate in the minds of credulous young men (i would like to clarify, since my surname might suggest otherwise, that i am not a hindu fundamentalist).

I think the reason why people did all the things you have mentioned is because of empathy and human goodwill. I guess people are just really good at heart, and religion has nothing to do with this.

December 14, 2008 6:37 PM

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