Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dignity of labour

The father of the nation , who is appreciated and followed by the people around the globe , had many qualities which made him so popular and different from others.Non- violence or as popularly termed "Ahimsa" is most talked about and discussed. But the other very important quality which people do talk but in the recent past has not been heard of much ,was extremely significant in the life of Gandhiji and that was 'dignity of labour'.
He used to do all his daily work himself and advocated the same to his followers. Gandhiji took pride in cleaning his room or doing other such work and did not allow himself to be helped by others. According to him no work for him was below his dignity.This was so because he was aware that everyone is important and should be respected irrespective of his caste,creed,religion,race ,profession or any other classification. He knew it well that it could not be possible by lectures or passing laws ,but by examples. He showed us the path that if all do their work themselves then all would be seen with dignity and nobody will labelled low or otherwise.
If we talk about schooling ,a few decades ago, there were many schools in which the children were taught the lesson of doing most of the work self or in groups.The students were given the responsibility of cleaning the classrooms on rotation basis. During any function or celebration most of the work was done by the students and the teachers. The most important thing is that the children and their parents used to take pride in doing such work.The parents of the school going children share such incidents and suggest that the same system should be revived in the schools.Later on a new  word called SUPW was coined in the curriculum which is elaborated as socially useful productive work and the same was functional in the schools for quite some time. Unfortunately, this word and the activity involved is also forgotten by most of the schools and people. CBSE does mention in the syllabus but ground reality is different.
The question is why has this change come? The people need it more today because it has been observed that most of the youth who migrate to cities for jobs have to do a lot of daily chores themselves because not many helping hands are available in big cities.Even if it is not so the children must be taught the lessons of the dignity of labour. If the situation of an affluent family is analysed ,it is found that there are more number of helpers than the family members i.e. driver, maid to cook food, other person to clean the house, one to wash the cars and other vehicles and someone to wash clothes etc. A new trend has been observed that the helper or the maid kept to look after the small child also goes along with the family to attend functions or even during the holidays when the couple go out to any hotel etc. The children are left in the custody of the maid when the parents enjoy their outing. At times it is difficult to understand who is the real mother of the child.
 When the child grows then also in many families they do not get opportunity to learn to do their work themselves because there are a number of helping hands available to them.
In the schools and specially the so called big schools the children do not get chance to learn this important lesson of dignity of labour. Earlier schools used to have at least one period in which all children were involved to clean the classrooms or the school campus. The torn papers or the candy wrappers lying here and there were picked -up by the children and thrown in the dustbins and the surroundings were made clean.  If this was done ,then all of them were so conscious of not throwing the garbage anywhere but in the designated area only. Most of the parents agree that the children are not doing their daily work themselves. Some people object to the school which try to take initiative in this regard but something has got to be done otherwise giving lectures mentioning the qualities of the father of nation does not make any sense.
The beginning should be done from home and small steps can be taken in that direction. For example, the children should make their bed themselves, polish their shoes, place the clothes at proper place, set their bags, pick-up their used plates after the meals and put them in  the dish washing area etc. This should be a regular feature even if there are servants for that work at home .In the schools also small tasks can be undertaken by the children and the parents are expected to support the school.. The class which remain most clean, the children of that class should be appreciated in the school assemblies. The schools can have hobby classes like wood craft, clay modelling,gardening  etc .There are schools in which minor repairing tasks are done by the students.In some of the residential schools the children help the people in the dining hall for the cleaning of the dining hall etc.The class monitors and the class teachers can set examples by taking initiative. This way the children will not only be able to do a lot of their work on their own but also they will learn to appreciate the importance of the people who usually do not hesistate to do any such work. 

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