THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR
Labour has a large number of people in its range. A man repairing a road, one working as a peon or a manager in a bank, a man working as a salesman, a man working on software or hardware in computer, an executive in a joint stock company, a railway driver or a ticket checker and many more even professionals are labourers. The field is very vast. They are all dignified people enjoy myself respect. In USA or advanced countries like G 7 and the European community, in China and Japan all are given somewhat equal weight age as far as their status is concerned. A house hold help in Dubai will oblige you to come only once on a Sunday that too if you have a washing machine and you serve her tea and meals twice a day.
The problem arises only in developing countries where people have a wrong notion of labour. Here as in India the social status is measured with the income one enjoys. Thus dignity of labour has suffered its coverage and the society on this issue is divided in different groups. In India labour is divided into different groups. Corporate executives top these groups. Then there are Bank officers. Next comes the bank clerks. Railway the biggest employer of labourers too has different groups. The people working in these groups and many others have their own social status. They generally, for all purposes, communicate among themselves; many of them won’t even like to be called labour. They are dignified people and are regarded so by others. Thus dignity of labour among them is a respectable term.
Then there are petty salesmen, people working as salesman in big and small shops, people working in small factories and workshops, clerks working in the postal department and municipalities. They are a little lower than the upper ones. But as their income too is quite manageable and in some cases bribe enhances their status it is a happy group and enjoys dignity of labour in their own circle.
There is a group of poor people including rickshaw drivers, people sweeping roads men repairing roads, labourers loading and unloading bricks, people supplying clay and Chambal sand on the back of asses. All these are called labourers. They would even drive small carts having a load of wheat, sugar, pulses and other eatables. In Ahmadabad and Surat you can find them drawing carts with heaps of cloth. In Bangalore there are men selling fruits and coconuts. The behaviour of people with these is not praise worthy it is rather bad-nasty. They are sometimes even abused by their employers. Most of them live in slums in big cities and are a part of slum culture-quite obnoxious many in the rural areas are land less labourers and work on the land of the landlords sometimes even as bonded labourers. Many work in this capacity in brick kilns, slate factories and coal mines. A large number of children and teenagers work in shoe factories, match factories and beedi factories. In the eyes of people they rather do undignified work. They are meak people sometimes with big families and can’t revolt have any trade unions. Do they know what dignity of labour is? They have been working as serfs and their offshoots would follow them. These 40% of the people have no dignity of labour. Let us hope that in the democratic set up of our country a day may come that they have an equal status in the society. It is only then that all the groups may come closer and give a real pragmatic shape to the dignity of labour.