Thomas Carlyle said, “Labour is life.” Labour is of two types-manual and intellectual. Each of them should have the dignity of their own. But unfortunately, most of our educated peoples have a wrong idea about manual labour. Therefore, they look down upon the people engaged in manual work. In such a context we should keep in mind that manual labour dignity has nothing debasing about it.
Manual labour is at the core of our livelihood. The food, water, clothes and houses without which we cannot live are all the gifts of manual labour. It is manual labour that drives the plough and reaps the harvest. It grinds the corn and turns it into bread. It spins the thread and weaves our clothes. It lays brick upon brick and builds our houses. Manual-workers are thus the backbone of a nation. In Western countries, all household work is done mostly by the people themselves, however rich they may be. They have to clean their own floors and wash their own bathrooms for all homework. There the students do manual work during their spare time and in a vacation to meet partly the expenses of higher education. There is no porter to carry luggage at the railway stations. A passenger has to carry his own bag. A carpenter, a bricklayer or an electrician has his own dignity. Today’s world is the product of the toilsome life led by the workers in fields and factories. It is written in an ancient Jewish book-“Everyone is wise in his work.”
But unfortunately, many people in India still think that manual labour is not dignified. It is ridiculous to think that a clerical job is more dignified than manual work in agriculture, horticulture, carpentry, pottery, tailoring, book-binding, spinning, weaving, dairy, poultry etc. This false notion should be changed. It is especially important in the context of the economic realities of the country. Indeed, this dignity of labour may be a powerful means of combating the problem of unemployment which is looming large in our country. We cannot expect that each educated young man would be given a secure and comfortable job with a chair and a table and a fan in an office or in a bank. In fact, no government can provide employment to all unemployed youths. On the other hand, we see that the workers are deprived of the fruits of their labour which is sheerly unjust. The Communist Manifesto (1848) of Carl Marx and Engles has largely brought about this change of outlook. Yet the idle rich people carry on some social prestige and hate the poor. Gray in his Elegy cautions us against this attitude-“Let not ambition mock their useful toil”. We can also recall the words of Abraham Lincoln- “If the Almighty had ever meant a set of men that should do all of the eating and none of the work, he would have made them with mouths only and no hands.”
Hence self-reliance and dignity of labour may be the only reasonable way to solve the problem of unemployment. We should remember that God has given us not only the head but the hands too. We should fully utilise these gifts of brawn and brain to enrich our lives. Moreover, those who are engaged in intellectual jobs should do some manual work for keeping a balance between the two for a normal and healthy life. Thus we should have an ideal position of manual labour in our society. And for this, the dignity of labour should be taught from childhood. If each child is asked to do his own work as much as possible, it will be useful for future life struggles. We should all keep in mind that work is worship, and in this way, the dignity of labour should be recognised in its due importance.
Essay No 2 (234 words)
To earn his bread by the sweat of his brow is a lot of men. In the earliest times when there were no rich or poor people everybody worked. With the growth of civilization, however, society gradually became more and more complex and men came to be classed as rich and poor.
The rich now thought it beneath their dignity to do any sort of manual labour. They earned their living by making others work for them.
But this division between the two classes is destined not to last long. The advent of socialistic ideas has dealt a death blow to this classification. The socialists hold that manual labour of any kind is no less dignified than intellectual work because both contribute to the maintenance of the modern social structure. This liberal view has relaxed the rigidity of the social order to some extent and solved a part of the problem of unemployment. But in the complexities of modern society, the problem has not yet been fully solved.
Society in our days has become a bit more liberal in its views about labour, both intellectual and manual. People have come to acknowledge the importance of manual labour. Both manual and intellectual labour have come to be recognised as dignified and noble. Many are the benefits that accrue from an understanding of the dignity of labour. A sense of self-reliance and self-help follows from it.