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Dignity of Labour

Ann Tresa Tony Monday, October 11, 2021
Dignity of Labour

"Labour is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if Labour had not first existed. Labour is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

These are the words quoted down by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president. He was born to a father and mother who were farmers and was brought up in a log cabin. He used to work along with his father in the fields. He was not hesitant even to cut grass to earn a living. Abraham Lincoln rose from a penniless boy to become the president of the U.S. No work is undignified , it is only our attitude that matters. Only real love for dignity of labour will enable our nation to achieve prosperity.

Dignity of labour is a phrase which we hear many a time but is rarely practiced. Dignity means the quality of showing respect to something or someone and labour means work. It is a virtue which makes one realize that every individual can contribute his or her share of work for the betterment of society. A person who feels respected, will enjoy and take pride in his work, whatever it is.

Today, we find that many people have no work to do because they consider doing certain kinds of works below their dignity. Such attitude of some people not only make them idle, lazy and frustrated but also add to the problem of unemployment in our country. Contempt for manual labour only shows false and foolish pride. Manual labour has great significance. We cultivate crops, construct houses, buildings roads, bridges, schools etc. by manual labour. It keeps our body fit too. No one respects workers although the workers are the ones who construct the building. Without them, do you think that it is possible to construct a house? In the same way, no one appreciates the nail on which the photo frame is hung but appreciates the photo frame.

When we were kids, we have been taught to say THANK YOU to anyone who does any kind of help to us. Even if they did something as little as picking up something from the ground. But no one says Thank You nowadays . As we grew up, the number of times we say ‘thank you' has come down. A watch man opens the gate for us to enter the premises, but we never say thank you. The two magical words THANK YOU will make a significant change is the lives of many.

Now let me give you some examples. Helen, a Malayalam movie which was released in 2019, was about a girl who was trapped. She was found out with the help of a security guard. You might be surprised. He found out because this girl always used to greet him good morning and goodnight. On that particular day he did not hear good night from this girl. This made him look for her. A simple act of gratitude can change one’s life.

Mahatma Gandhi is a great example for this. He did everything from sweeping to scavenging at his ashram in Wardha. He never felt degraded and insulted in doing the jobs that some people consider inferior or menial. He even used to clean his own toilet. Raman Maharshi used to wash the wounds of the patients who were infected with leprosy. In his view, service to humans was service to God. According to his philosophy of life, work is worship.

Dear friends, you must be happy to do any type of work. A love for dignity of labour will enable you to march on the way to progress. John F. Kennedy, who became the president of the USA, used to sell newspapers in his youth though he belonged to a very rich family.

In many western countries dignity of labour is practiced. Teenagers are taught dignity of labour right from a very tender age. It is only in our country, that jobs are being classified on the basis of salary and dignity. We have a foolish concept that we should employ servants to do various jobs. So, we need a change in our attitude.

Remember friends, work is worship.

Ann Treesa Tony
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