Saturday, October 13, 2007

Two distinctly different views of manual labour:

Oscar Wilde:
"And as I have mentioned the word labour, I cannot help saying that a great deal of nonsense is being written and talked nowadays about the dignity of manual labour. There is nothing necessarily dignified about manual labour at all, and most of it is absolutely degrading. It is mentally and morally injurious to man to do anything in which he does not find pleasure, and many forms of labour are quite pleasureless activities, and should be regarded as such. To sweep a slushy crossing for eight hours, on a day when the east wind is blowing is a disgusting occupation. To sweep it with mental, moral, or physical dignity seems to me to be impossible."
On the other hand, Mahatma Basaveshwara
...was a spiritual leader and a practical visionary, who believed work is worship. In one of his hymns, he stresses the significance of labour for attaining perfection in the sphere of spirituality. Rejecting the status ascribed by birth, he believed in the individual worth of every human being and in the dignity of labour.

Much before Mahatma Gandhi made us acknowledge the dignity of manual labour, Basaveshwara underlined its importance and gave respectability to it. He proclaimed that all members of the state are labourers, some may be intellectual labourers and others may be manual labourers. He established numerous committees on different vocations and gave due representation to people pursuing those vocations. It was a novel way of espousing the cause of people engaged in manual labour. His encouragement of manual labour in the 12th Century contributed to the enrichment of crafts and the well being of artisans.
For more about Mahatma Basaveshwara, visit his entry in

No comments:

Post a Comment