Dignity of Labour

Updated on September 15, 2016

Road work

Jobs for You

A dead animal is lying on the ground. The stench is unbearable. Who will pick it up? When you visit places like a railway station, bus depot, airport, mall or a cinema hall, you want the wash-room to be clean. Who will keep the toilets and floors clean? In the hospital too, there are many unpleasant cleaning chores that have to be done. Then there are the ditches full of muck and filth. Who will clean the ditches before the heavy rains? These essential jobs have to be done, but are too dirty for many of us. These have to be done every day. Respect those who do these jobs for you.

The structural engineer can plan a bridge. It is the humble laborer who will dig the mud and carry materials up and down. Welders join pieces together at great risk to their eyes. The work of every person building that bridge is important. One may have an engineering degree, another person may not even know how to read or write. Yet they know exactly how to set up the bridge. Each one has skill in doing a particular job!

Restroom Cleaning

Dignity in Work

On your way to a party, the sole of your chappal or sandal gets unstuck. You are in a hurry to reach the party hall. Do you run to buy new footwear? No! You go to the nearest cobbler and get it restitched. Your chappal is as good as new!

In Delhi, there are vendors who sell water, sometimes with a little nimbu (lemon) juice in it. On a very hot summer day, that water saves you from sunstroke. The vegetable vendor cycles past your house. Mother can buy vegetables without having to get out in the hot sun.

There are roadside tailors who can turn frayed’ shirt collars inside out and even alter them for you!

At the end of the day, a job is just a way of earning money to make a decent living. It helps a man get his `roti’ kapda aur makkan’ or `bread, clothing and shelter’. The well paid executive and the lowly paid rag picker are both doing a job. Both are earning a living by doing work they are good at. There is dignity in work, no matter what kind of work it is. There is no need to look down upon anyone for the kind of job he is doing.

Work is Worship

Basveshwara, statesman and social reformer, who lived in Karnataka in the 8th century, gave a call - `Kayakave Kailasa’ or work is worship. He insisted that everybody should work and treat work as worship. It did not matter what kind of work one did. His many disciples included cobblers, washer-men, boatmen, pot-makers, barbers, tailors, wandering entertainers, field workers, and load bearers. He wanted everyone to be proud of the work they did and to do it sincerely, as it helped to serve the society. Similarly, Basveshwara taught people to respect all workers, irrespective of what job they did.


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