Sunday, July 14, 2024

OPINION: Worker’s Day and Dignity of Labour


– Fr. Joseph M. Thohrii

The 1st May is known across globally as International Workers’ Day or May Day, a day that commemorates the struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement. Such movement became prominently visible with the rapid industrialization occurring in Europe and America. Though factory produced quantitative result for the market, the labour remains an abstract entity for the workers were consumed merely as means for the final end. The work, struggle, consciousness and for better returns for their labour were integral to the movement for recognition of the workers’ labour. In India, Labour Day is referred to as Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas or Kamgar Din. 1st May is a national holiday known as Labour Day and celebrated by workers parade and demonstration. Today people celebrate this day by making flower crowns and baskets, planting flowers for the spring, decorating their homes in bright colours to embrace the change, nature walks, picnics and enjoying the outdoors.

The whole civilization of humankind has evolved itself only through hard work. All the inventions and discoveries of science are the result of hard work, commitment and sacrifice. Constant work improving upon its own findings progressively, has enabled man to tread on the moon. Even in our daily life we see that hard work pays dividends. A student who works regularly and systematically shows better results than the one who does not do so. Similarly, a player who practices regularly on the field is much better than the other in the team. Hard work not only leads to better results in the long run, but also increases our self-confidence. Work may be physical and intellectual but the ethics and discipline remains the same. It is important in all its forms but it must be constructive. Great nations of the world like Japan, Germany and China have emerged strong and progressive only through hard work put in individually and collectively.

Today not only hard work but Smart work is the need of the hour in today’s competitive world. Smart work involves completing the same amount of work with the same quality in less time. Smart work focuses on bifurcating the quintessential factors like who is the best person to do a particular task, when the right time for doing it is and what kind of hurdles we can anticipate. Working smart means prioritizing, delegating and improving your time management to achieve the desired result. The ability to balance working smart and working hard is a valuable skill that can help you excel professionally.

Professionalism in the work place and in our job is the much spoken about phenomenon today. It is the competence and skill expected of a professional and the key to quality and efficiency is Professionalism. Being professional means conducting oneself responsibly with integrity, accountability and excellence. Today we lack if not loose professionalism in our work, wherein our quality is compromised and efficiency is underrated.

In today’s world what is much looked up upon is dignified work. We ought to respect all jobs and not to belittle anyone’s job because no job is too big or small and everyone has the right to enjoy dignity of labour. Everything has its own dignity and it is made dignified in accordance with its utilization and utility. White collar jobs are not the only dignified job that gives a sense of work satisfaction. Labour of any kind is dignified as it can enhance to the development of the society. It helps to contribute to the economic development of an individual and a nation.

How can each contribute in building the society? Discharging the assigned work can be one best answer in understanding the workers struggle. The maxim “no work no pay” laid the foundation for industrial peace and harmony. When we look at our society from within and without, the principle of “no work no pay” however unpolished should make sense in the institutions, offices, market-economy, agrarian works, construction works, Barber, cobbler and so on which constitute both formal and informal labour. May Day should not be confined on pages of history text and celebrate May Day as a symbolic act in comfort.  Instead of freezing that spirit of struggle for the dignity of labour when Workers took it as a business to the World stage, we need to reignite the dignity of labour when our society then was far removed from the white colour jobs, but respected each labour as necessary and important to the growth and sustenance of our society. Taking that as a business; work, collaboration, knowledge and respect would be the pillars to build a strong and vibrant society which can positively contribute in building the nation.

(The piece was first published at the Imphal Reviews.)


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